pink peony

pink peony
old-fashioned peony

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Taking a head count ...


Today I was the official chauffeur, picking up farmers and taking them to tractors that needed to be moved and then picking them up again and taking them to trucks and stuff. Along the way, I stopped to take a few pictures of wildflowers. There is such a profusion of them this year, and their bloom times seem to be overlapping, giving us extra time to really appreciate their beauty. I thought I'd see just how many flowers were blooming on one little stretch of dirt road.

black-eyed Susan

The black-eyed Susans called out to me, saying, "Notice us! Aren't we pretty?" They're showy like that.

Missouri evening primrose
There were many other varieties, all along the roadside, jumbled together in the prettiest bouquet. The primroses almost always grow in the rockiest places.

I'm not sure what these tiny little purple-ish flowers are. There weren't many of them.

purple coneflower
But there were LOTS of these beauties! The last few years I've thought the purple coneflowers were disappearing, perhaps due to the spraying that the highway crews have done to control knappweed. But this year they are back, in a big way! They are prettiest en masse.

ox-eye daisy
 The daisies are also at their best in big bunches.They've been blooming for a few weeks now, but they are still pretty. (See the little tiny pink/purple bloom among them -- that's the one I don't know.)

daisy fleabane
These tiniest daisies have an unlovely name but they are so sweet and pretty...and abundant.

meadow salsify
This looks a lot like a giant dandelion seed head, but it is about 4 inches in diameter and is (I think) meadow salsify.

I spied the first milkweed of the season -- not quite open but the butterfly had already found it.


Butterflies also love coneflowers. Can you spot him (or her?)

I love them, too.

fire pink
For the longest time, I called this Indian paintbrush, but finally someone set me straight. It's not pink at all -- truly red. Sort of like redbud, which is not at all red but pinkish-purple.

These little blue gems aren't showy, but they are sweet. I forgot to taste a leaf -- anyone know if they taste minty?
I'm going to cheat a minute here and add a picture that was NOT taken on the same gravel road as all the others. I took this picture yesterday. It is rare to see this much wild larkspur all in one bunch, but as I drove along this road, there were clusters all along the way. So I did what any wildflower fanatic would do: I stopped my truck, right in the middle of the highway and got out to take pictures. I took a bunch, walking up and down the pavement and even getting down into the ditch. And no one came along to stare at me or ask if anything was wrong or to give me that patronizing "nutty lady with the camera"smile.  Only in the OC...

Musical accompaniment
Back on my dirt road ... the beauty of the flowers was accompanied by the music of this little stream, the water tumbling down over the rocks and splashing a little melody. It will soon be dry, but just last week it was rushing full-stream ahead.

Here's another little purple flower I don't recognize -- but I do know that view. It is called Amazing.

Sensitive plant
Just as I was nearly to the end of the dirt road, I noticed several clumps of sensitive plant growing in the ditch -- this is one wildflower you do NOT want to pick. The viney plant is covered with sharp stickers -- covered! You'd need to be very INSENSITIVE to handle this pretty but dangerous plant.

tame hollyhocks
My neighbor, who lives just before the end of the road, grows hollyhocks that come from seeds his mother grew 60 years ago. He threw a handful out by his mailbox, and, of course, they are thriving. He's like that -- not just green thumb but green hands.

 Not everyone finds pleasure in spending hours stalking ditches and meadows to find what's bloomin' -- some folks like their excitement to be a little more lively. I'll leave you with a glimpse of another form of Ozarks-style entertainment.These two fellas (going exactly 15 mph down the road) were on their way to a little fox hunt. That's Ozarks for coyote chasin'. I know the venue because I know the folks who run it. The people who show up at their "pen" (160 acres) with a pickup load of beagles LOVE to hear the dogs on the trail of a varmint. They don't care if they catch the critter or not -- it's the hunt and the hounds they love.

Next month there will be a passel of different wildflowers blooming, and I'll go back and see what's new. It really is a good growing year, and I'm going to enjoy every single bloom!


  1. I posted one you missed on my FB site. Carol McKay Harper

  2. Janet, this has been a banner year for wildflowers, hasn't it? You certainly have a beautiful collection here. Your stream, and the grand vista preceding it, are stunning!
    I believe the third photo with the delicate dark pink blossom is a Deptford Pink.