Life Cycles and Seeds

Our Lanceleaf Coreopsis flowers have almost come full circle with their dried out flower heads brimming with seeds. The kids and I noticed how they were just dropping out of the pods onto the slate on our patio, and had a fun time pouring them into envelopes for our local library.

We just visited our local library’s tiny collection the other day and noticed how barren it was. Only two or three drawers contained any packets at all, and with that only two or three vegetables. No flowers! So we’ll be dropping these off soon.

Our local libraries budding seed sharing collection is inspired by the nearby Dallas library’s which is fostered by the Community Seed Network, a seed sharing community that promotes the sharing of open-pollinated seeds contributing to biodiversity (vs. the distribution of seeds only mass produced by corporations). I especially like their mission statement regarding the development of “regionally adapted varieties”:

When a plant variety has been grown in a region for a long time, it becomes well-suited to that particular region’s climate and environmental conditions. Regionally adapted varieties help create strong local food systems by ensuring we have varieties that perform well in a given environment.


You can find your own seed sharing community using this link from their website:

Meanwhile, we’ve also been on the lookout for other life cycles around our yard and neighborhood, like the relationship between the little black patio ants and our coreopsis and milkweed. They are all over the pollen on the coreopsis flowers, and consider the aphids on our butterfly weed a serious food source as well.

We’re trying to ID the ants, but with the number of them out there we’ll have to spend some time on this one. I think they are doing something to ward off the fire ants out back because we haven’t seen any in our garden in some time and we haven’t had to use any type of ant killing granules. Could they be the Fire Ant queen killing Little Black Ant described in this article by Lisa Lennon for Texas A&M (

Ants feeding off a tiny aphid colony on some of our mature butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa).

A trip to our neighborhood playground led us straight to the water of course, where an eastern phoebe looked out in a cottonwood tree. We found lots of mosquito larva in the puddles, and what should be a creek, but is managed by concrete and mown grass, runs alongside the soccer field and basketball courts.

The girls and I discussed how much more life the little water source could support if they’d just allow a few more plants to grow along the edge. We did see a paperboard Ziploc® box floating on the surface and flipped it over to find pollywogs sheltering in its shade. Dragonflies hunted, barn swallows swooped, kites were seen soaring above for the anticipated emerging cicada populations, blue jays foraged for insects in the lawn, and there were a few damselflies along the “creek’s” edge. There were also a handful of snails under concrete rubble and tiny diving beetles of some sort.

But we were still left to wonder about the possibilities. If only we could let things grow.

And back to the topic of libraries, this book (Darwin Comes to Town: How the Urban Jungle Drives Evolution by Menno Schilthuizen) was featured on our local “new reads” shelves last summer and I found it’s discussion on life’s adaptations to our urban environments highly fascinating. It covers a range of topics from pollution (water, air, light) to heat islands and beyond. Definitely a page turner when I think about what my kids and their generation will be experiencing in the coming decades.


  1. Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

    Ooh, I’ll have to put that book you mention at the end is going on my list! And I am going to suggest the seed sharing at our little local library in Cameron, Texas. Thanks for your intelligent posts!

  2. I belong to book dicussion group, which just finished a discussion of Origin of Species and The Sixth Extinction. I have forwarded this article with your book recommendation, Darwin Comes to Town to the group. Thanks for the recommendation.

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