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Unprotective coloration

An attractive accent plant available in various species and cultivars is amaranth:

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When ripe, the seeds of this pseudocereal may be harvested for a delicious and nutritious dish, or saved to plant for next year’s enjoyment by garden guests. Meanwhile, the leaves—also edible by people and other creatures—serve to add additional visual texture for us and a landing pad for small fliers

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while the tiny flowers attract pollinators and perhaps predators

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some of which (as insect vision typically differs in spectral range from ours, or that of other animals) may stand out more than is good for them:

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Bringing home the bacon

Seven pole-mount houses arrayed around a 200-foot square is just enough distance and spare capacity that three bluebirds have taken up residence, and are now on second broods. The other boxes were staked out (if not always occupied) by chickadees and wrens, like this one feeding young that have attained the cheeping stage.

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Asclepias tuberosa

AKA butterfly weed:S0424095fp

 

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Interdependence Day

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Eyes on the prize

On this date, the zenith of American barbecue and picnic activity, we can share the bounty (and have less to clean up afterward) by offering our leavings to our natural neighbors, here a selection of sciurids:

 

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Is this where they hide the good stuff?

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Ahh—over under the feeder

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Three cheers for the red, white, blue, green and gray?

And after sunset,

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when bipeds have trooped off to fireworks and indoor dinners, the final (pre-insect) cleanup crew arrives:

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Opuntia humifusa

Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.
         –T.S. Eliot

 

A good spring for our one native cactus—

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though here at the boreal edge of its range, it would take an exceptionally long and complaisant summer to produce juicy, seed-bearing fruit.

 

Take it somewhere else, please

An annoyingly fruitful union:

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Zzz! Ouch! Slap!