All posts by Jim Abbot

Robbed!

This, I believe, is a carpenter bee (Xylocopa spp.), and I caught it collecting nectar from some salvia I have growing in my front yard (Salvia guaranitica ‘Black & Blue’). It appears to be doing exactly what I find described by Steve Buchman of The Bee Works:

From time to time carpenter bees are quite ingenious in their foraging for nectar. On flowers such as salvias, penstemons, and other long, tubular flowers the carpenter bee, due to its large size, is unable to enter the flower opening. Instead they become nectar robbers. Using their mouthparts they cut a slit at the base of corolla and steal away with the nectar without having pollinated the flower.

Linden

I was walking through Freedom Park during this rainy September, and these leaves caught my eye. Aren’t they lovely?

The shape is “cordate,” related to such words as cardiac, concord, discord, accord, and cordial. In other words, these leaves are heart-shaped.

These are the leaves of a linden tree, and more exactly, of an American linden. The scientific name is Tilia americana. (There are some 45 species of lindens around the world. Inman Park has a second, European species, Tilia cordata or littleleaf linden, in front of 100 Waverly Way.)

It’s also called basswood, where the prefix bass- refers not to music or fish but to “bast.” Bast is the inner, fibrous bark of linden trees, which Native Americans made into twine. (At some point lind- became “lime” in British English, so if you read about “lime” trees lining some road in Europe, don’t be thinking about citrus trees.)

I love American linden. Here’s a large one in Freedom Park:

It’s native to our region. It grows fast. It can reach 100 feet or more. It can live for well over a century. It is easy to transplant. And it flowers!

Photo credit: Donald Cameron

No surprise that American linden is also called bee tree.

Photo credit: Wayne Hinshaw

I also love this bit of knowledge from Diana Beresford-Kroeger, Arboretum America: A Philosophy of the Forest:

“The design of each flower is such that the nectar produced on the inside of the sepal cannot be lost by rain or dew. This is because these flowers hang upside down and act like little umbrellas. The nectar, too, hangs in solution upside down. But the sepal produces a few fine hairs that, together with the physics of surface tension, are just enough force to hold the liquid in place without splashing down onto the grass underneath the tree.”

We’ve been planting more of these American lindens in Inman Park. Good for the pollinators, good for the neighborhood! Here’s one in the yard of Bill and Ann Moore:

What a Difference Two Decades Makes

Waverly Way circa 2000, looking west from the edge of Freedom Park
Waverly Way in 2021, from the same vantage point

I regret that I have to add this: the large water oak in the center of the second photograph is slated for removal.

The answer to this lamentable state of affairs? Plant shade trees in our front yards and/or our back yards.

TELL US WHERE TO WORK

From now until at least May 2022, Inman Park volunteers will gather on the third Saturday of each month to

  • prune branches that are growing into the sidewalk or street,
  • remove vines strangling trees in our parks and greenspaces,
  • cut out or pull up invasive plants that crowd out our native species.

You can help by telling us where you have noticed that a sidewalk is obstructed or a park space is being overtaken by vines.

Leave a comment on this post with your suggestions, and thanks for the help!

We are small but mighty!

Jaime Kirsche and Jim Abbot were the inaugural volunteers at the first-ever Whack, Yak, and Snack, which will take place every third Saturday of the month, meeting on the porch of 946 Waverly Way at 9:00 a.m.

Jaime and I got a ton done on Saturday, September 18. We worked along the sidewalk that lies between Springvale Park and Edgewood Avenue. The goal was to improve sight lines into the park, remove invasive trees, and clear the sidewalk of low-hanging limbs.

Mission accomplished.

Jim in the jungle
Jim (left) and Jaime (right) with their pile

Delta Park

I had a pleasant walk with the German shepherd this Saturday morning of Labor Day weekend: cool and quiet in Inman Park.

We walked past Delta Park, near the intersection of Edgewood and Euclid.

It made me think of something I read about years ago: a theory or model in environmental psychology. (Yes, there is such a thing.)

Continue reading Delta Park

Whack, Yak, and Snack

Beginning Saturday, September 18, and continuing every 3rd Saturday of the month through the spring, Tree Watch will be hosting Whack, Yak, and Snack.

WHACK: Prune trees, trim bushes, free trees of choking vines, yank up invasive plants, and in general, take care of our leafy green friends along our streets here in Inman Park and in our marvelous parks and greenspaces.

YAK: One of the things Inman Park does best. Yak while you whack. Spend a morning in the beautiful outdoors catching up with your friends.

SNACK: An Inman Park event without food doesn’t deserve the name. We’ll have a bagel, a pastry, or piece of fruit for you to start your day, and weather permitting, and also depending on interest, we will also have sandwiches or pizza and a cold drink of your choice afterward, courtesy of Inman Park Tree Watch.

Meet on the porch of 946 Waverly Way NE before 9:00 AM on the third Saturday of each month: (in 2021) September 18, October 16, November 20, December 18; (in 2022) January 15, February 19, March 19, April 16, May 21.

Bring water to drink, gloves if you have them, and your favorite tool(s) (saw, pruners, loppers, rakes, etc.), though we can also supply you with everything you need.

No experience necessary. Just a willingness to get your hands dirty and an aptitude for having a good time.

Rain or shine, as long as it’s not super yucky outside.

  • What: Whack, Yak, and Snack (Maintenance Projects)
  • When: Third Saturdays starting in September, 9:00 a.m. to noon
  • Where: Gather at 946 Waverly Way NE
  • Who: Inman Park volunteers and their friends
  • Why: Because it’ll be fun and rewarding, we promise

Contact Jim Abbot with questions through this website. Or if you’re an IPNA member, you can find my personal email and cellphone number in back issues of the Advocator and in my IPNA website profile.

White Wood Aster

I’m here to say that I planted this last fall, and now I’m in love. Eurybia divaricata, white wood aster.

More info from the Missouri Botanical Garden:

Eurybia divaricata is native to Eastern U.S. and typically grows in the wild in dry open woods. It grows in loose clumps with dark, sprawling, sometimes zigzag stems up to 2.5′ tall. Distinctive leaves are heart-shaped, stalked and coarsely toothed. Small but abundant flowers (to 1 inch across) have white rays and yellow to red center disks and appear in flat-topped, terminal clusters in late summer to early fall. Attractive to butterflies.

That’s it. That’s the post.

Credit: Anita Gould