10 Things in my Yard

May 6, 2008 at 2:00 pm 13 comments

I was sick all last weekend and didn’t get to venture far from home. But, thanks to six years of limited yardwork, I have plenty of vegetation to see in my backyard.

Inspired by the No Child Left Inside Coalition video that said “young people could identify 1000 corporate logos but fewer than 10 plants or animals native to their backyards”, I went outside and took pictures of things in my yard. So here are 10 Things in my Yard:

Flowering Dogwood

State tree AND flower of Virginia, State tree of Missouri, State flower of North Carolina

Dogwood I learned at a pretty early age. One day, my siblings and I decided we would build a tree house. There were very few obtainable trees to our short statures. We selected the only one we could reach and nailed no more than three boards into the branches when we were reprimanded by our mother. Apparently, it is against the law to damage the state tree. And that was that. It was going to be a pretty sucky treehouse anyway.

Gray Birch

I don’t have a good story about birch trees. But I will say every time the Direct TV goes out in the summer, this tree is one of my first scapegoats. It has grown so high, I keep waiting for it to block the satellite dish. I’m still waiting.


I was officially introduced to Mayapples last year by Jere Bidwell on our Cornelius Creek hike. Mayapples sport a single bloom which hides under their umbrella-like canopy, so you can’t see the flower from above, you have to look for it!

Silver Maple

This tree never stuck out to me as extraordinary until Sean’s Dad came to visit the house. He is a fan of this tree and actually mentions it pretty regularly.

Sugar Maple

State Tree of New York, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

This is another tree Sean’s Dad taught me. When I first moved into my house I was told that this particular tree wouldn’t last because it was growing into itself. After all the trees I have seen survive under sketchy conditions, growing on rocks, merging back into themselves, eating fences and blazes and even combining with other trees, I decided this one is a big pansy if it can’t figure the matter out on its own. So far it is still going strong.

Tulip Poplar

State tree of Tennesse, Indiana and Kentucky.

This is the favorite tree of my Great Uncle Chuck and my sister. Great Uncle Chuck likes it for practical reasons, “It grows fast and the wood is strong.” Carolyn likes it for a different purpose, “Because it’s easy to identify.”

Since two of my favorite people like this tree, the species will always have a place in my heart.


Sycamores I learned at a very early age as well. My grandmother used to point them out when we went to visit Mount Vernon. I also remember Sycamores from the Bible story of Zacchaeus. He was the short tax collector, who couldn’t see Jesus through the crowd. So he climbed a Sycamore tree to get a better view.

The more I see Sycamore trees, the more I wonder about that story. The branches are so far off the ground. How did short Zacchaeus ever get up there? 🙂


This is a new tree to me. I chose to highlight it in this list of ten because I like the pretty blooms. It seemed flashier than “Dandelion” or “Wild Strawberry”

Poison Ivy

Even though I learned this one at a pretty young age, I managed to have negative encounters with this plant well into adulthood. Most notably, I once got poison ivy on my face trying to rescue a goat from the wood pile.

Virginia Creeper

Virginia Creeper is commonly mistaken for poison ivy. But it is waaaay cooler. It is featured in the state seal of Virginia! My relationship with Virginia Creeper began with Tony Airaghi. Since then I have become very fond of the plant, especially in the fall.

And there you go, 10 Things in my Yard, which is only about 1/3 of an acre. I certainly don’t want to put you on the spot, but I wouldn’t mind seeing 10 things from *your* yards.

Especially since I’m *cough* *cough* still sick and I can’t get to the AT. 🙂

Entry filed under: Mayapple, Silver Maple, Sugar Maple, Sycamore, trees, Tulip Poplar, Virginia Creeper.

links for 2008-05-03 links for 2008-05-09

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. scienceguy288  |  May 6, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    It’s amazing how much is in our backyards. And pathetic how few people actually know about it.

  • 2. Clint  |  May 6, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    I think it’s pathetic that people don’t know the names of the parts of their computers.

  • 3. Aaron  |  May 7, 2008 at 6:26 am

    An excellent addition to my old “10 Things” posts. I don’t think I’ll have a hard time with it, but we’ll see what comes up on my 1/3 acre. Definitely not that many trees, though!

  • 4. geekhiker  |  May 7, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Sounds like I’m not the only one who’s currently cut off from the trails. *sigh*

    Just a suggestion, but this is the perfect post to revisit in the fall for comparison pictures!

  • […] Can you name 10 Things Your Yard? […]

  • 6. Anne  |  May 10, 2008 at 10:49 am

    I never said anything about the law. I just didn’t want my dogwood tree messed up. We lived in the house at least 5 years before I realised we had one, not to mention two. I wish one was pink. Hope you are better this weekend.

  • 7. Bill LaLonde  |  May 11, 2008 at 4:03 am

    I love this idea– it’s like a mini, close-to-home bioblitz!

    I didn’t take any pictures to go along with my list, but I did get some pictures of a lovely rose-breasted grosbeak who was visiting that I hope to post soon.

    Thank you for the inspiration!

  • 8. Carolyn  |  May 11, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    Mom pointed out Virginia Creeper in my yard today.

  • 9. tgaw  |  May 11, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    On the subject of 10 things:.

    10 Trees in Central Park South

    10 Trees in Central Park North

  • […] 15, 2008 Here are five more things from my yard. This time, I’m highlighting items that belonged to my maternal grandmother. She passed away […]

  • 11. 10 Things in My Yard | ideonexus.com  |  July 6, 2008 at 3:01 am

    […] TGAW’s Thread responding to the No Child Left Inside Coalition’s claim that “young people could identify […]

  • 12. Wedding Behind the Scenes: Tree Tablecards « TGAW  |  March 10, 2010 at 10:00 am

    […] Maple – A tree that grew in the front yard of my home in […]

  • […] fan of Virginia Creeper and I’ve seen a lot of it in my day.  I’ve seen it in my yard, on the Appalachian Trail and on travels.  I’ve seen it creep and take over abandoned dams. […]


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