Big leaf snowbell

Another in a series of “Let’s learn binomials” this time with one of my favorite native trees, the big leaf snowbell. Elegant branching, striking blooms and hearty leaves thriving in partial shade — mine’s under a water oak (Quercus nigro, we’re getting there) and having a great spring so far.

Styrax grandifolius. Styrax is from the Attic Greek “στύραξ” (sturax) which means resin. These are considered to be “gum” trees but apparently not quite the same as Benzoin which I think is resinous. And “grandifolius” for “large leaf” and I must ask, with this being my only individual plant, compared to what??

This is a case where the common name is more descriptive to me. Here are some beautiful bells before a rain knocked them off the tree

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[originally from April 2017]

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Beautyberry making berries

Looks like the birds will be getting a bumper crop this year

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Joe Pye

I just can’t call it a weed. Butterflies as well as every other critter just loves these things. Mine are finally getting ready to flower

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Cicadas again

Not sure why this tickled me so much, but the first cicada body I’ve seen on a tree I planted


It was gone the next morning. And, of course, a more apropos place for a poem by Sappho

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A Study in Azalea No.1

From an overcast day with the macro lens



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A few quotes

This is from Plutarch’s Life of Marcus Porcius Cato the Elder (died 149 BCE)

One should buy land for tilling and grazing, not to make into gardens, where the oblect is merely to sprinkle the lawns and sweep the paths.

Well, pooey on you, Cato! Livy quotes him talking about the Lex Oppia, saying 

Diseases must be known before their cures are found; by the same token, appetites come into being before the laws to limit their exercise.

Too hot for much gardening today. Filled the birdbath (ha, with 30+ inches of rain this year, the birds still use it every day) and did a little pruning this morning. Just a day for a cold drink and looking at things from the back deck while reading.

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A Study in Sassafras No.1

Weird overcast day and a break in the rain produced these shots

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