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Posts from ‘July, 2010’

Post Oak

This one was easy for me to initially identify – I knew it was an oak. But which one? There are 7 different oak species in southwestern Virginia. Using my plant identification guide, I was able to identify this one as the post oak (quercus stellata). This tree typically grows on rocky or sandy ridges […]


The hawthorn (crataegus spp. L.) family, I discovered, is a large group of shrubs and small trees that are nearly impossible to identify as separate species. Wikipedia says that “a reasonable number is 200 species” but “some botanists in the past recognised a thousand or more species”. When I read that, I gave up trying […]

White Dogwood

Flowering dogwood (cornus florida), as all Virginians should know, is the state tree. Early on, I noticed numerous dogwoods on my property – they are gorgeous in the spring when they bloom! On this trip, a friend told me that his grandfather had told him that if you find a lot of dogwoods on a […]

Cucumber Tree

Shortly after buying my property, I went out to Rocky Knob on the Blue Ridge Parkway and bought a copy of Trees & Shrubs of Virginia, by Gupton and Swope. While browsing through it, I noticed an entry for a “cucumber tree”. “Wow, that’s a funny name for a tree,” I thought. This trip, I […]


Little by little, I am identifying the plants that are on my property. I took lots and lots of pictures, but when I got home and downloaded them, I found that I didn’t have a very good system for taking pictures. I often just took pictures of the leaves, instead of also taking pictures of […]


Ah, wingstem! A vigorous plant, indeed. Early on, in the winter, a friend pointed the plant out and told me that it was locally called “stickweed”. He said that it hadn’t been all that common when he was a kid but that now it was everywhere. It is apparently called stickweed because kids play with […]

Virginia Knotweed

When Fred First identified this plant as Virginia knotweed, I feared that it was related to the invasive exotic, Japanese knotweed. While both are in the same family (polygonaceae), Virginia knotweed is in the genus persicaria while Japanese knotweed is in the genus fallopia. Whew!! The plant is also known as Jumpseed, because the seeds […]

American Basswood

Most of the trees on my property are really tall and I didn’t have binoculars with me to be able to see the leaves in detail. Some of the trees are very recognizable, like black cherry (prunus serotina), because of the distinctive bark and leaf. But others that I am not familiar with need to […]


Last year, I worked for two days on a piece that I grew unhappy with and set aside, prophetically writing in a post last year “that I was entertaining thoughts of cutting it in half and using the pieces in a different way.” I reworked the base of that piece for the base of the […]


This year was the fourth time I’ve attended the sculpture class at Touchstone Center for Craft in Farmington, PA. Touchstone suffered some severe damage during this past winter – heavy snow brought down the roof of the dining hall and the hall had to be demolished. At one time, 7.5 feet of snow had accumulated […]