‘Tis the season to hang stuff from branches – even the trees are doing it!  – Hey, maybe that’s where Martha and the rest of us got the idea…  And when the trees drop their decorations, I think it’s totally fair game for us to pick some of it up and hang it somewhere else.

Gail and I – Gail especially maybe  – have been getting a little sidetracked with the abundance of visible cones and pods all over the property.  She’s been picking them up by the armful and I’ve been studying their whorls, patterns and the Fibonacci sequence like there’s going to be a test.  How well do you know your cones?  Quiz yourself on the pictures below and hover over for the answers (no cheating! – Just kidding – it’s ok to cheat.)  Can you guess which one is not a cone but a pod?  Do you know what makes a cone a cone and not a pod?*

How did you do?  There’s only one cone I know well enough to call by its first name when I meet it on the street.  A few years ago I was asked to draw a picture of a Giant Sequoia cone for Blithewold’s tree map and I must say there’s nothing like turning something over and over in one hand and drawing it over and over with the other to learn it by heart.  I’m inspired to draw the others now that I remember that trick.  Or maybe I’ll just spraypaint them silver and hang them from a new branch…  Do you collect cones and pods and other garden baubles?

*A cone is a woody, scaly structure on gymnosperms (conifers) from which naked seeds are dispersed.  A pod, loosely defined, is a dry fruit that splits open to disperse seed.