September plant walks

My dears! It is another plant walk weekend!

Saturday 9/17 at Beaver Hollow, 88850 Compton Rd
The wildflower garden is overflowing, and the boardwalk is lined with asters and goldenrods. We’ll meet up at 11 am & spend about 90 minutes checking everything out, especially the beggarticks along the new boardwalk extension to the beaver pond – so cute! Register here.

Sunday 9/18 at Frog Bay Tribal National Park, 92070 Frog Bay Rd
With the iffy weather forecast, we are going to modify our plans of taking the ravine trail and just take the little side jaunt into the woods from the beach trail. That way, we’re never more than 10-15 minutes from the parking lot if we need to get out of the rain. I don’t want anyone getting soaked and feeling stranded an hour away from their car. We’ll see incredible trees and beautiful mushrooms, as well as those late-summer forest opening flowers. Register here.

p.s. I have extra copies of the summer issue of my zine, so if you didn’t get one in the mail, you can pick one up from me in person! It’s all about pipsissewa. I might even have a copy or two of my spring issue on wintergreen.

Today & Tomorrow!

It’s the August bloom explosion time, and we’ll be checking out an overwhelming amount of beautiful flowers today at Beaver Hollow & tomorrow at Brownstone Trail.

Asters and goldenrod are beginning to bloom along the boardwalk, hinting at (what I feel is) Beaver Hollow’s absolute peak gorgeousness in September. The wildflower garden is packed full of cardinal flower, great blue lobelia, golden glow, coneflower – it’s stunning. And there’s a new garden area, with a mix of natives and “nativars” to check out! There is still room to register for this walk, today at 11.

Brownstone trail will be a different kind of plant walk tomorrow (Sunday 8/21 at 1 pm), focusing in on a dense area filled with native wildflowers and grasses, nearby-natives (from Wisconsin’s prairies), and some of the most problematic invasive species we deal with around here. We won’t cover a lot of ground, but we will check out tons of plants! Plant walks are free but registration is required.

July plant walks!

Wow, another plant walk weekend is less than 10 days away! Let’s see what’s blooming & fruiting, learn some ojibwemowin plant names, and share about our experiences with these plants and trees.

At Beaver Hollow, the boardwalk extension to the pond is almost complete, and the water level is much higher than last year – water plantain looks especially amazing right now. The wildflower garden is going bonkers. Our June walk was a bit rushed due to the intensity of the mosquitos. Dragonflies are currently working hard to make our July walk more comfortable, which is good, because there is a lot to see.

Our Sunday afternoon spot for July is Brickyard Creek (meet at Roy’s Point Marina parking lot). My favorite thing about this trail is the shift that happens, when you get into this low conifer forest and feel the temperature drop. It’s like stepping into another world. This is a gorgeous private trail system with low traffic and high biodiversity. Special thanks to the BYC community for granting us access to the quiet beauty of your back yards – we promise to be respectful visitors.

The details! Saturday 7/16, 11 am, Beaver Hollow, register here. Sunday 7/17, 1 pm, Brickyard Creek, register here. The registration links include addresses. Plant walks are free but registration is required. See you soon!

Summer Issue: Coming Right Up!

It’s the first official day of summer, and the sign up sheet for the summer issue of Bezhig Eta (just one) is open! Are they printed yet? No, they are not. But they’re going to be! Expect them to hit your mailbox approximately in July sometime. It will be summer. There will be zine. I got a stash of envelopes from my mom & a couple sheets of stamps from a plantstagram friend, so I’m all set.

The summer issue is on pipsissewa or gaagigebag (everlasting leaf), Chimaphila umbellata. Since it’s in the same family as the spring issue, I’m tempted to stick with that for the fall and winter issues – but I wasn’t planning to, originally. I guess once fall is approaching, I will just write about whatever plant I feel like at the time. It seems far away right now, so I can’t really guess what that will be.

I have thought about taking requests, but I can only write about plants I know, so I’m not sure that would work. On the other hand, I’m really curious what plants people want to read about! Leave me a comment or email me if you have ideas.

June plant walks

There’s another plant walk weekend coming up! Saturday 6/18 I will be at Beaver Hollow again, 88850 Compton Rd, for an 11:00 plant walk & talk focusing mainly on what’s blooming along the boardwalk through the marsh. Come early and/or stay late to scope out the awesome wildflower garden near the parking area! Free but registration is required. We will try to wrap up around noon but 12:30 is more realistic.

Sunday 6/19 we’ll trek up the Iron Bridge / Gil Larsen trail at 1 pm, meeting at the public parking lot at Washington & Broad. Since we’ll make frequent stops to look at plants, we will not cover a lot of ground, skipping out toward the school and coming back down along Third Street. However, this one involved some stretches that are a bit steep or narrow or wet, compared with Beaver Hollow being super accessible. Again, this plant walk is free but registration is required.

If you can’t make it this time, there’s always next month! I’m doing monthly walks at Beaver Hollow on the third Saturday. July’s Sunday walk will be at Brickyard Creek!

Earth Care Plant Walk & Talk

In addition to my series of ‘third Saturday’ walks at Beaver Hollow this summer, I’m leading another series on Sunday afternoons! These will move to different trails around the Bayfield area. The first one is *tomorrow* Sunday, May 22, at the Les Voigt State Fish Hatchery on highway 13 just south of Bayfield at 1:00 pm. Registration is required, but we still have room for more!

This series is hosted by Bayfield Presbyterian Church, which holds a special status as an Earth Care Congregation. That means the church has made commitments to take action on several facets of environmental stewardship, including education on the natural world around us. Of course, the walks are open to all!

Upcoming walks in this series:

June 19 Iron Bridge Trail ferns & streamside flowers 

July 17 Brickyard Creek conifers & wood-edge flowers 

August 21 Brownstone Trail shrubs & native grasses 

September 18 Frog Bay Tribal National Park lichens & fern allies 

October 16 Salmo Trail fall color & fall fruits 

Registration link for our May walk at the Hatchery:

Beaver Hollow Plant Walk & Talk Series

I am thrilled to announce I’ll be leading monthly plant walks at one of my favorite spots, Beaver Hollow (the place with the blue heron nests!) this year, May through October.

Although the event technically starts at 11, I’ll be hanging out in the wildflower garden beforehand, so come early to check that out. We’ll gather in the outdoor classroom to talk about what’s in bloom, and then go see what we can see along the boardwalk! As we head back up to the parking area afterward, I’ll point out a couple good places to duck into the woods – no trail, but that’s 100% allowed, choose your own adventure.

The only thing is, to keep the group size manageable, registration is required. You can sign up for free here and learn more about this awesome nature preserve here. If you scroll to the bottom of their homepage, you can get on Beaver Hollow’s email list to be reminded about the rest of this series! 

While there is no fee to attend, I strongly recommend supporting Beaver Hollow and/or joining Friends of the North Pikes Creek Wetlands. Becoming a member of this group has wildly changed my life – I’ve gotten involved with awesome projects and met awesome people I never would have otherwise.

p.s. If the days & times for these walks don’t work for you, keep an eye out for info on *another* series of plant walks I’ll be leading this year, on Sunday afternoons!

Another year bursting with flowers

Although we’re only a month into 2022, my calendar is filling up with wonderful events throughout the blooming season. I’m looking forward to hosting two separate series of wildflower walks (one in Bayfield and the other nearby). I’ll post more details on those once they are publicly announced by my partner organizations. I’m also hoping to work with Arrowhead Native Plant Explorers again, because I had a great time on Wisconsin Point with them last year – but even if I don’t end up leading a walk with them this season, I will definitely make the drive over there to learn about some new plants and places. A couple other plant-related collaborations are brewing, too, so it looks like a busy season ahead.

And although we’re already a whole entire month into 2022, I’m still working at getting all my wildflower seeds outside to cold-stratify under the snow. Ha, I imagined getting all of them outdoors in the first week of January! I only managed about 40 containers before I took a break from it, but now I’ve gotta finish that while we still have half of winter left.

The other thing I’m doing this month is culling some of my veggie, fruit, herb and flower seeds so I can share with my local seed library. Now that I’m more confident in my ability to save seeds from mature plants, I don’t need to keep any more than what I’ll plant this year. I’m excited to help build up our local collection and develop landraces (or, locally-adapted varieties) by selecting seeds to save over time.

Finally, I’m figuring out where all these miraculous seedlings will be planted a few months from now. Very little of my land is cleared. I’ve been squinting at satellite images and sketching on graph paper, looking up soil and sunlight needs and making absurd lists of what-goes-with-what. I know that, to some extent, this planning will be futile, because life unfolds in unexpected ways. But this is the time of year for garden dreaming, so in my mind, I see all the gorgeous colors, hear the bees buzzing, and feel the August sun on my shoulders. It’s really just around the corner.

Update: Unlocking Meeker

I finished typing up my notes SORT OF. I’ve popped them into a mega spreadsheet. The next step is to type them into a nicely formatted manuscript & create a printable pdf.

If you’re interested in checking out my notes, and especially if you’re willing to leave feedback to help me create a nice commentary on The Big Green Plant Book as I call it, here is a link to my document: