There's a bluebird on our window sill, there's a rainbow in our hearts here at the nature centre with promises of things to come this summer.
Bob noticed a pair of bluebirds two weeks ago looking for a place to nest. Michael quickly constructed three bluebird nesting boxes made to the accepted standards for this species and installed them along the fence that lines the entrance road to the Robert L. Bowles Nature Centre.
Almost immediately, they moved in and the female is now incubating eggs so expect to observe a family of bluebirds this summer.
This time of year, with Spring continuing to unfold there are many things to write about. From bluebirds nesting, building a butterfly garden, planting a 3 sister's garden to watching the pond life come alive. And not to mention checking the new Bat House to see if there are any residents yet. But the meadow was calling once again and we were impressed by all the pretty yellow flowers. The meadows and riparian areas around the ponds are starting to bloom with summer flora. Part of the meadow consists of sandy loam, moist, rocky soil and full sun, accommodating the growth of Balsam Ragwort, (Senecio pauperculus), or (Packera paupercula).
You'll find this plant on Alvars, meadows and marshy ground. This member of the aster family is also known as balsam groundsel or northern ragwort.
There are several species of ragworts but Balsam Ragwort is unique in that it has varying leaves on the stem. At the base of the plant, you will find an oblong-shaped leaf and finely toothed. You have to look for this leaf, pulling the plant gently back to see where the stem comes out at ground level. As you ascend the stem you will find leaves that are deeply toothed shaped.
Lower basal leaves oblong-shaped, upper leaves
The flowers are clustered with 5-20 daisy-like flower heads with golden yellow centers. It's no wonder this plant caught our attention, gently waving in the wind, during our recent walk.
Now with bluebirds nesting at the centre and meadows dotted with the golden flowers of Balsam Ragwort, things look promising at the nature centre. We hope to soon be fully open and welcome you near the middle of the month and show you the many treasures we have discovered here at the Robert L. Bowles Nature Centre.