For all the beauty that can be created in my garden by choosing this plant or that one, nothing makes me happier than to come across a field of wildflowers, growing where they may. Just half a mile away from Our Little Acre, such a field exists and it's erupted into a beautiful medley of random color.
Sunday afternoon was spent with our girls and their husbands around the pool, as it was a gorgeous summer day. They don't come any better. The pool was refreshing and the relaxed camaraderie was just what we needed after a busy work week, both at jobs and home, working on the gardens and the chicken coop.
This particular field floods on a regular basis, which may be why it's rarely planted by the farmer. It is left to grow as it pleases, but gets mowed from time to time. That's why we made a special trip down to see it and photograph it, before it's cut down.
|Daughter Kara enjoys photographing flowers as much as I do.|
A fun thing about walking through the field is finding various types of the same flower. For example, the Rudbeckia comes with quilled petals, straight petals, some with a slightly darker eye ring, and some with a dark brown dotted one.
There's quite a bit of milkweed (Asclepias sp.) growing in the field, too, which makes me happy, since it's vital to the survival of the monarch butterfly. It's the only genus of plants that their caterpillars eat. Milkweed bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus) like it, too.
|Milkweed bugs mating on common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). They can|
remain connected for as long as 10 hours.
|Fleabane (Erigeron sp.) also grows in abundance.|
By far the most eye-catching, probably because of their height (3-4 feet) and numbers are the plains coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria). This is an annual that readily self-seeds. It does seem that there are many more this year than last.
|Plains coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria) has a dark burgundy eye.|
Adjacent to the field is a cemetery, which has the common ditch lilies (Hemerocallis fulva) in full bloom. This daylily has been the target of much ridicule and dismissed by many as a common weed, but I can't imagine our roadsides and cemeteries being without it.
|I love this variation with a white edge.|
Another commonly found wildflower here is the swamp rose (Rosa palustris). I simply call it a wild rose and love seeing it in the ditches too, a testament to its preference for wet places. It's not surprising that there's a lot of it here in what used to be The Great Black Swamp.
Nothing makes me happier than to see our native wildflowers in bloom. Fortunately, we live where we can find any number of them doing just that close by at any given time of the spring, summer, and fall.