Walk Among the Goldenrods: August 25, 2018

The goldenrods are coming. Not visible among the wildflowers at the July 14 nature walk, they can be expected to be at their blooming peak in the park in late August. And they can be expected to be attracting a variety of colorful insects.

The next Eliza Howell nature walk will feature goldenrods and the insects they attract. It will also provide an opportunity to observe other aspects of late summer nature in the park.

Anyone interested is welcome to join us in Eliza Howell Park for a guided walk among the flowers, especially the goldenrods, on Saturday, August  25, at 11:00 a.m. We will meet about halfway around the road loop from the Fenkell entrance. Clothing suitable for walking among tall plants is recommended. Stay as long or as briefly as desired. There will likely be a number of photo opportunities.

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Over the years, goldenrod has sometimes been mistakenly identified as the source of pollen that causes hay fever symptoms. The real culprit, however, is ragweed. Goldenrod beauty can be enjoyed up-close without breathing any pollen.

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These pictures were all taken in the second half of August, 2017.

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“Perhaps it is due to the fact that goldenrods peak when many insects are mature, or that the plants grow in clusters and groups, that they are the hub of insect activity. The plants literally buzz with bustling insects from dawn to dusk.” (Larry Weber, In a Patch of Goldenrods, 2016.)

Below are two examples of the insects seen among the Eliza Howell goldenrods in August 2017.

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Many pollinating insects, like wasps and bees, have the capacity to sting. As a result, some of us are understandably reluctant to walk too closely among the flowers that attract them. Some of us have had the experience of many times approaching closely to insects while they nectar on flowers, without ever having been stung, and have no hesitation getting close. Either approach is respected.

Among the other late summer developments that there will be an opportunity to observe on August 25 is the maturing Porcelain-berry.

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The turnout and enthusiasm at the July 14 nature walk led to the decision to have this second summer one on August 25. Feel free to spread the word.

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