Playful Asian…

This delicate Asian native, Pinwheel Jasmine (tabernaemontana divaricata) quietly commanded attention at the Morikami Japanese Garden in Del Ray, Florida. The leaves are evergreen with the most prolific bloom time being spring. Enjoy.

For history of it’s medicinal use: https://ww anw.naturalremedies.org/jasmin/

Nature’s defense…

Snow packed Arborvitae copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg

Snow packed Arborvitae copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg

These evergreen trees were planted as a privacy wall by a nearby neighbor that faces an open field owned by Commonwealth Edison, our electric company. This winter, their matured growth serves as a sturdy barrier, collecting some of this record-breaking season’s wind-blown snow. What wildlife is huddled down inside keeping relatively dry and warm is left to my imagination; it would be unkind of me to disrupt the dense fortification to seek answers to my wonderings.

These trees are most likely American Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘American’), used often for the purpose previously described: to act as a hedge wall. The brown elements showing through the snow are most likely opened cones absent of seeds.

For more information: http://www.na.fs.fed.us/pubs/silvics_manual/Volume_1/thuja/occidentalis.htm

Winter nurslings…

Female Pine cone bud copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg

Female Pine cone bud copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg

The metaphor for the last stage of life is often winter. Winter is a time of less energy when chilled temperatures, shorter days, plant dormancy or death, and animal migration and hibernation. Animals settle in for periods of longer rest or become “snow birds” literally migrating to warmer climates. Annual plants literally die. Perennial plants and deciduous trees have less energy, so quit their work and retire. There are some, like some people, that seem have eternal energy, determined to thrive throughout the harsh winter months.

“Green” is the most obvious sign of an active winter species. Buds, the plant’s newborns, do not always wait for spring’s warmer days and more colorful settings. The evergreen White Pine hosts young buds during winter months. These youthful outgrowths are surviving sub-zero temperatures while blanketed by dense snow, which does indeed give shelter species from the arctic air.

A common northerner, or so I think…

White Pine...or so assumed, copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg

White Pine…or so assumed, copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg

Best guess, is sometimes the best I can do when it comes to identifying a plant species. Snowfall challenges my abilities further. Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus L.) is my best guess for this common evergreen in our neighborhood. Most trees were planted in effort to provide green accents in newly built residential sites.

Though the 48 inches of January followed by yesterday’s 4 inches are trying the patience of the heartiest around here, the temperature was well above zero yesterday. We were a balmy 30 degrees (Fahrenheit), so I ventured out for an hour-long vigorous walk. Only half of our day’s snow total had landed, so I grabbed our waterproof Nikon Coolpix camera. I don’t mind walking in active snowfall; but I respect my lenses’ care needs. It seems that White Pine seeds prefer a moist environment, so I’m assuming their needs have been met this winter.

Pinec one wrapped in fresh snow, copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg

Pinec one wrapped in fresh snow, copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg