Starry Late Spring Flowers

Carrionflower (Smilax herbacea)

Some flowers are pollinated by flies. Skunk cabbage, I've heard. Wild ginger, too. Bloody, meaty looking flowers. Stinky flowers.

After a recent hike, I was disappointed that I didn't smell a carrionflower I had photographed. The following week, I found another plant in bloom. I smelled the flower. Cadaverous. I told my husband to smell it. It's very similar to the "Yuck, taste this,"command.

"Awful. Smells like a dead animal," he said.

I smelled it again. Reminded me of white-tailed deer roadkill that I smelled for weeks as I biked to my summer job during high school. I lived near the top of the Riegel Ridge in Hunterdon County. Getting to work was easy, though I rode my squeaky brakes the entire way. I pedaled uphill. After a day of janitorial work, I smelled of Green Clean and latex dish gloves. Then, the odor... I could not pedal fast enough.

"Yeah, it's bad. Amazing."

Deer eat the h*ll out of that plant. I usually see only a whorl of 3 beautiful leaves. So, I am spared the aroma and the flowers. A fly is denied her nectar or pollen.

Deer eat the h*ll out of everything these days. My mother reported they ate the foliage of garlic mustard in seed.

When we returned from an overnight at their house this afternoon, we found deer had eaten the h*ll out of, well, everything. Wild geranium, maple leaf viburnum, fringed loosestrife, sanicle, boneset, cut-leaved coneflower, currant...

"They ate this," I said pointing to a plant. "I don't even know what this is."

"It's wreath goldenrod," replied my husband.

"That's it, I'm putting up a fence. I'm going to Agway for posts. Now."

At the Belle Mead Co-op, I stood in the pesticide aisle price comparing Bonide's Slug Magic by volume. "Small, medium or large? Do I really want to have this much? Better price. I can always get more. Lots of rain in the forecast. Lots of slugs to kill." A senior to my left looked over another white container filled with poisonous juices.

I picked up Deer Off and the largest container of Slug Magic. The friendly young fellow at the counter asked how I was doing. "I'm going on a killing rampage."

"She is, too," he said pointing to the senior who had just purchased her Kool-aid.

I couldn't utter any friendly words, still outraged by the deer overpopulation. I said thank you multiple times. It was all I could do.

 Sanicle or Black Snakeroot (Sanicle marilandica)

 A modern way of taking field notes

 Solomon's plume (Smilacina racemosa)

Maple leaf viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium)