Monday, June 27, 2011

Earth's Garden

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.

Before the day was over, a field trip was made, and the wildflowers were admired and photographed. It never fails to amaze me that such a simple thing fills me with such appreciation for God's creation. It was last year that we first noticed the Coreopsis and Rudbeckia growing in the set aside field.

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.

Rudbeckia sp.

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.

Creeping Jenny
(Lysimachia nummularia)
On the way down to the field, the shallow ditch along the road has its own assortment of delights. Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) lines the wet depression for its full length. I remember many years ago, Romie dug some to plant at Our Little Acre and it wasn't very long before I was digging it out. I wasn't a "real" gardener back then and was naive to its penchant for world dominance. But I do like seeing it in the ditch.

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.

Swamp Rose
(Rosa palustris)

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.


Anonymous said...

Though I've never met a garden I didn't like, Nature's Own has always been and will always BE my favourite of all. Lovely, lovely!

Commonweeder said...

Our season is not so far advanced. We are at the buttercup-daisy-Queen Anne's Lace season - but as my friend Peter always says, Nature is always ready to hand you a bouquet.

Alison said...

I bet that field of wildflowers is just stunning in person. The different Rudbeckias are so interesting. I've always liked common daylilies, but they do tend to take over. When I first started gardening, my mom ridiculed them, which just made me want to grow them more. Of course, I don't think she had any idea how many wonderful, colorful hybrids there are.

Thanks for showing us the field and some of your favorites.

Christopher Tidrick said...

Beautiful. So wish I could have seen that in person.

Donna said...

so beautiful and the reason I planted my own is the best thing to look at any day

Weekend Cowgirl said...

I LOVED these photos as I am really missing our wildflowers this year from lack of rain and record hot conditions... Hopefully next year!

blogger templates | Make Money Online