Tag Archives: plants

The best science in Media

For science fans near Philadelphia, here are photographs from a recent visit to the Delaware County Institute of Science, based in Media, Pennsylvania.  First my favorite (a grumpy dried frog), then small thumbnails of the rest. Mouse-over a photo to see a brief description of what it is (but try to guess, first), or click it to launch larger version with titles. If you want to see any of the photographs even larger, or want to read the gruesome details, visit my original gallery.

 colin purrington photography: Delaware County Institute of Science &emdash; preserved-frog

If you are in Media to eat (and you should … see http://www.mediarestaurants.com for listing) or in court because you’re a bad person and got caught (it’s the County seat), you can visit DCIS on a Monday, Thursday, or Saturday morning (9am – 12pm). They also feature monthly talks: the next one is November 9th and focuses on the Mason-Dixon line (oh, yes, there’s a story there).

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Sidewalk creeps

[PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT]  Last week, I witnessed a visually impaired man with a cane walk right into some overgrown hedges while he was heading into town.  Clearly surprised, he decided to cross the street before continuing on his way.  So I thought I’d post a plea for all of us who have sidewalks to please hack back any creeping shrubs, hostas, and dandelions so that our public walkways are fully walkable by all — not just for the visually impaired, but also for those with twin babies in double strollers, and for couples who just want to hold hands while walking next to each other. Currently, double-wide strollers and hand-holders need to walk in the street, which is crazy given that our town has fairly wide sidewalks.  A further benefit of keeping your plants out of the sidewalk airspace is that the foliage doesn’t provide the perfect lurking spot for deer ticks, questing for a host with their hungry little arthropod arms. Yea, that last reason is far-fetched, perhaps, but we have lots of deer and mice and dogs, so it’s just something to think about as you brush by the leaves.

Hedges partially obstructing a sidewalk.  Residents with double strollers, with vision impairment, and with wheelchairs cannot easily use sidewalks like this.  Also, couples who might want to take a walk while holding hands are forced to abandon their true love to navigate the stretch, which is sad. Finally, in areas with deer and mice, overhanging foliage provide the perfect questing site for ticks.

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Serpentine!

Photographs from some local serpentine barrens — areas that are naturally toxic due to the magnesium, cobalt, nickel, chromium, asbestos, other nasties leaching out from the green serpentine rocks (California’s state rock). Serpentine soil is also famously low in phosphorous and potassium, so not many plants can grow on it.  Here’s a typical patch of rock (from Nottingham pine barrens in Pennsylvania):

At the Nottingham serpentine barrens in Chester County.

Below is a close-up of the rocks themselves.  I liked the central rock because of its serpentine (wavy, snakelike) marbling. From Pink Hill barrens at the Tyler Arboretum in Media, Pennsylvania.

Here’s a view of a serpentine barrens at Nottingham barrens.  If you were to take a close look at these pines, a lot of them have scorched bark from a recent prescribed burn that was conducted to restore native plants to the area.

At the Nottingham serpentine barrens in Chester County.

The flower below is moss phlox (Phlox subulata) at Pink Hill.  The plant is absolutely adorable.  I’m a sucker for any plant that assumes a moss-like habit.

Below is a close-up of some sort of sedge, possibly Pennsylvania sedge (Carex pensylvanica), but I didn’t have any fruit so I can’t be sure (tentative ID courtesy Dr Roger Latham of Continental Conservation).  But I’m positive it’s adorable, though not mossy in habit.  Photograph also from Pink Hill barrens.

Richardson's sedge (Carex richardsonii), I think. Happy to be corrected.

More serpentine photographs here.

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Spring at Longwood Gardens

Went to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square yesterday to get my weekly dose of plants.  Photographs of grapefruit, begonia, forsythia, and daffodils are below, but if you want to see the whole set, visit here. The trip, however, was a huge disappointment because the Darwin star orchid (Angraecum sesquipedale) had been freshly eaten by a cockroach. If I worked at Longwood Gardens, I’d release chameleons. That would fix the problem and would delight the visitors. Plus I could say, “Release the chameleons,” over the PA system with a Mr Burns voice.

Grapefruit (Citrus × paradisi) flowers, with grapefruit in background.  At Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

Begonia 'Cotton Candy'

Forsythia at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

Daffodil (Narcissus spp cv Larkwhistle) shoots emerging through protective net at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

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