mown        a moment        remembering thyme-leaved speedwell (Veronica serpyllifolia).





Cherry Springs State Park, I’m told, is named for groves of black cherry trees–

its evening sky,  the clearest and darkest in Pennsylvania.

These days by Little Crum Creek, hours from the skygazers I’ll one night join,

a single black cherry briefly flowers the white light of our nearest star.




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One of Little Crum Creek’s native spring ephemerals, a colony of Mayapple
survives the smother of English Ivy to flower and start
some berries full of seeds for summer ripening.




Going on three springs now, our exploration of Little Crum Creek has been adding up to a fair catalogue of life along the water.

All along, I’ve been looking forward to creating a page where visitors can easily browse lists of flowers, trees, birds, insects, and everything else we’ve found.

Now, on the brand new Browse page, you’ll find several lists arranged for easy reference and identification.

Just click on any topic to see all posts that have featured what you want to see.

Browse potential will grow with every new post to the Home page.

Hope you find it as useful as I do!

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Native columbine in a creekside garden. Will it eventually naturalize and make our lists?






Steadily a cold season moon waxes toward full,

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nightly climbing a bare-limbed horizon,

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when suddenly a red maple, lashed with fresh flowers,

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signals spring’s arrival upon winter’s final round.




Though its autumn leaves are yellow and not the commonly cited red, and though it never fruits the hallmark crimson keys we’d call “helicopters,” I can finally pin a name to the indifferent subject of my long but casual scrutiny:

a red maple tree.

Other identifying characteristics have been evident throughout the year…

I’ve gathered three-lobed leaves fallen from their opposite arrangement on summer branches, accidentally peeled plated bark from the trunk when tugging climbing ivy, collected many brittle branches dropped to the woodland floor, and patiently watched wine-red twigs and buds endure a long winter.



But it’s a small flower that finally proves the name.

In early spring, a single red maple can flower a marriage of male and female blooms, a union that will likely produce a bunch of winged seeds.

Other individuals might present exclusively male or female flowers.

The female kind may be pollinated by male neighbors and thereby fruit seeded helicopters.

But this particular red maple has revealed its own dispositon along Little Crum Creek:  a naturally confirmed bachelorhood of total male florescence that won’t be going to seed.100_9467edcropC100_9522edcropC                                                                                                      .

100_9543edcropANow, why its leaves turn yellow in fall, and not red, I can’t yet say.




100_4672cropVExploding seed pods.  

Native remedy for poison ivy.

Neither well-known trait is readily apparent in early spring.

Rather, one comes to know the jewelweed along Little Crum Creek as a numerous but delicate and easily uprooted plant, bejeweling raindrops on repellant leaves of succulent chutes, and otherwise wilting worrisomely in the sunlight heat.

Its fragility, resilience, and recovery inspire a gentle watchfulness, even a tested vigilance. 

Nonetheless, many a vulnerable weed succumbs to a sneaking, creeping vine’s smother and tug.

April, May, June, July. 100_6259cropV

By August, we’ve cultivated quite a patient acquaintance. 

But only a flower, finally, will fully reveal to me the plant’s identity.  

Then, suddenly, some unassuming afternoon in the maple shade,  a low breeze displaces a leaf and shows to me a flowering face:

Impatiens pallida,

pale touch-me-not,

yellow jewelweed.

Very pleased to finally meet.