April 21, 2011 - Bleeding Hearts

I planted this herbaceous perennial a few years ago. They are a welcoming sign that spring is here to stay. The plant has a love story.

This story tells of a prince who tries to win the heart of a beautiful maiden by giving her gifts. With each gift, two of the petals are removed. Despite his attempts, the maiden continues to refuse the prince, and so he pierces himself through the heart - the heart having been formed with the discarded petals, the knife with the green stamen. via flowerinfo.org

March 18, 2011 - Into the woods ...

I'm home today with a bad case of vertigo. The diazepam failed me during the night, and I woke up with the ceiling spinning and a queasy stomach. I felt a little better after breakfast — and a dose of diazepam — so I decided to go out for a walk in the woods near my home. Inspired by the purple crocus that is now blooming in my garden patch, I took my D40 with attached Nikkor f/1.8 prime and went in search of exotic flora.

I was not disappointed. I found these alien-looking plants poking out from beneath the dried leaves. I had never seen anything like this before, but they reminded me of some of the tubers that grow in the tropical rainforest of the British West Indies where I grew up. I also had flashbacks of alien movies where the aliens hatch from pods that they planted on earth in preparation for their invasion. These are nothing that sinister but they do have a sinister-sounding name, Skunk cabbage. After returning home I did a quick Wikipedia search.

Skunk Cabbage | Friday 18 March, 2011 | Nikon D40 | AF-S Nikkor 35 mm f/1.8

Eastern Skunk Cabbage, Clumpfoot Cabbage, Foetid Pothos, Meadow Cabbage, Polecat Weed, Skunk Cabbage, or Swamp Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus), commonly known as simply Skunk Cabbage, is a low growing, foul-smelling plant that prefers wetlands. It can be found naturally in eastern North America, from Nova Scotia and southern Quebec west to Minnesota, and south to North Carolina and Tennessee, and also in northeastern Asia, in eastern Siberia, northeastern China, Korea and Japan. Skunk cabbage is protected as a state endangered plant in Tennessee.

I am so happy I did not touch them. The weird-looking pods I photographed are the flowers of the plant. Later in the year, broad green leaves will appear.