Noisy Natives

The Pacific Chorus Frogs already laid eggs in the kiddy pools; an occasional tardy frog sings now. The Juncos have paired up; one is busy building a nest in the nursery. The Varied Thrushes and Robins sing through the raindrops. Hummingbirds buzz the Salmonberries (Rubus spectabilis), and a Sapsucker uses a telephone pole for a tapping post. The pole is right next to the wood-chip pile. The Sapsucker clings to the pole and taps on a piece of metal that is about a foot below the top. Then he hops up to the top of the pole and looks around before jumping down to tap some more.

Wouldn’t it be fun if we humans could hear PLANTS? Just imagine the satisfaction of hearing them grow…

I’m walking through the nursery, minding my own business, when I hear a series of exploding pops! I turn around to notice that a Snowberry’s (Symphoricarpos albus) tiny leaves are suddenly bigger. Overhead, I hear a series of sticky -sounding smacks that turn into soft bubbling noises as the big Cottonwood’s (Populus trichocarpa) buds open and begin to release their leaves. I walk over toward the big Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) trees which, for all their size, are only emitting tiny low-frequency grunts from their branch tips. Under the trees, the Lady Fern’s (Athyrium filix-femina) fronds are creeeak-creeaking as they unfurl. Isn’t that cute? I think, when a shrill squeal accosts my ears – the Wild Lily-of-the-Valley’s (Maianthemum dilatatum) newly emerged shoots are unscrewing themselves, beginning to open their shiny leaves. I have to stop for a minute, take off my work gloves, and clean out my ears, open my jaw and shift it back and forth a couple of times to get my eardrums back to normal.

I think things have calmed down, when from my left a deafening roar sends me to my knees! Beside me, the False Solomon’s Seal (Maianthemum racemosa) is rocketing up from the soil!

Well, I’ve heard (from better smell-ers than I) that False Solomon’s Seal’s long white flower clusters emit a beautiful fragrance; I know that their juicy red berries appeal to birds and look pretty; I knew that they are a showy perennial for shady spots, even somewhat dry shady places; and that they often hang out with Cascade Oregon Grape (Mahonia nervosa). But I had no idea they could raise such a ruckus!

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