Posted by: silverstar98121 | May 17, 2009

Nature Notes: Bellingham

nature-notes2If you’ve been following along you know that The Boyo and I went to Bellingham last weekend. And we went looking for nature. We didn’t do well in the wildlife department, but more than made up for it with the flora.

One of the first things I noticed was that the Scotch

Scotch broom

Scotch broom

Broom (cytisus scoparius) was blooming along the roadways. One of my fondest memories is flying into Seattle in May, and seeing all the highways bordered by their brilliant yellow flowers. It was quite a sight. That was before I knew that Scotch Broom is a noxious weed, being an import that spreads wildly and crowds out native plants. King County, where I live, has an active eradication program. The problem with Scotch Broom is that you have to eradicate it before the seed pods are burstable, as that is how the plant spreads. They burst with an audible pop, as I can tell you from experience. I was walking a trail one June, and thought it was gunfire.

Horse chestnut blooms

Horse chestnut blooms (Aesculus hippocastanum)

Another of my favorite plants is horse chestnut trees . These are not native either, but there are a lot of them around. I had horse chestnut trees in front of the house where I lived in Bellingham for six years. I always like to see the blooms. While researching them today, I found that the seeds are used in folk medicine to improve venous insufficiency, and it does seem to work in clinical trials.

While we were driving around in the rain looking for wildlife, we happened into a cemetary, where we saw the closest thing to wildlife,

 In the children's section

In the children's section

some robins. We were in an older part of the cemetary, and I was amazed at some of the stones. Many were nearly 150 years old, pretty old for this part of the world. Europeans haven’t live here that long. Native Americans had more eco-friendly was of disposing of their dead than taking up

An angel watches over.

An angel watches over.

6x6x3 feet in the ground. One especially poignant part of the cemetary was a section where it was obvious babies and young children had been buried. But then again, death is part of life for all living creatures, and was much more common for young children until relatively recently.

Around here, the lilacs are blooming to beat the band. This weekend is very warm, around 76° F, almost summery here. I will have to get out tomorrow and see if I can’t find some wildlife other than song sparrows and chipping sparrows.


  1. I have never heard of a plant bursting and popping like you described. Wow.
    I’m going to have to see if YouTube has a video of it, lol.

    It’s warmer there than it is in Texas. Today it was 63 degrees. Can’t believe it.
    course we had a storm last night which knocked down my climbing honeysuckle. Need to get out there and tie it back.

    Enjoyed the photos, Eileen.

  2. lilacs are my absolute favorite… i try every now and then to grow a bush, but i’ve got no gift with things green… always have mixed feelings about cemeteries. i find them peaceful. a reminder that i’m on borrowed time and all that… but such a waste of perfectly good dirt.

  3. I enjoyed this post. I like the way scotch broom looks. I have a number of invasive plants that I know I should do better about pulling up but often I like the way they look and the birds like their seeds so I tend to let it slide too long.

  4. Another great Nature Notes post Eileen…I didn’t know about scotch broom but it sounds like what we are dealing with with purple loosestrive. Hubby and I are now trying to remove it from around the pond after we found out that it is pretty but invasive. Interesting point about Native Americans and burial. I have never been one to visit graves, but it seems to be a great comfort for some folks to be able to do that…I want to be cremated. My sister wants to go to a body farm where your body hangs around and decomposed for forensic people to study….lol…. Michelle

  5. This was an interesting post, I enjoyed it very much. Funny I just did a post with Scotch Broom in it, it is one of my favorites and if you see it wild in the huge bushes in rows 2 and 3 miles long its amazing.

  6. Any photos of the lilac?

  7. Caragana’s – an Albertan native – have those seed pods that pop and burst as well. They have yellow flowers too, but not as numerous as those Scotch Broom’s. When they flower, though, they can be virtually alive with bees, a buzzing away.

    The Scotch Broom reminds me of our noxious weed – purple loosestrife – which populates the ditches, particularly along the back roads in the foothills and mountains.

  8. I’ve seen seed pods pop, but never with a sound like that. It sounds quite entertaining, even if it is a noxious weed.

    The cemetery is wonderfully sad and mysterious. A great find for a photography outing.

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