When bad luck strikes, do you curse the moment and stew about your predicament? Or do you search for something positive in the situation?
I must admit, while I try to be a glass-half-full kind of person, too often I waste time complaining and crabbing when things go wrong.
Last weekend, we spent two days at our lake property north of our home. While driving on one of the country roads, we had a flat tire. It wasn't a little thing--it was a big puncture. (Can you see it in the photo?)
The fishman and the son got to work right away removing the flat and mounting the spare. And I had a choice: I could sit in the car and stew, I could "help" them with the tires, or I could take a walk and investigate my countryside surroundings.
Guess what I chose to do?
Yes, you are right!
I had my new handy-dandy smartphone along, with its decent camera, so I set off down the country road to capture the local plant life. Knowing Gail's Wildflower Wednesday was coming up provided extra fodder for my excursion.
Having unplanned time to capture wildflowers--on a country road on a crisp, clear autumn day--that is pure pleasure for a plant-lover. And later sleuthing to identify said wildflowers is fun, too, although I might need your help with a few of these. (My folio paperback "Wildflowers of America" and usda.gov were helpful, but please correct me if any of these are wrong.)
The pollinators were going crazy over all the roadside wildflowers. But especially on this Heath Aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides). I figured this was an Aster, but it took me a while to track down the variety because of the unique growth pattern.
Many of the plants were storing up seeds to disperse for next year's wildflowers. Just think of all the little Milkweeds (Asclepias syriaca) that will result from this productive plant.
I'm unsure about this one, but I think it was Milkvetch (Astragalus striatus or agrestis). The purple blooms really popped in the oblique September light.
Identifying this white columnar wildflower as a variety of Ladies Tresses seemed correct, but I guessed on the species. (Spiranthes cernua?) Or maybe it's White Sweet Clover (Melilotus alba) per A.L.'s comment.
The Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) also was distinctive, with its needle-like foliage and pointy seed heads.
The grasses, too, are incredible this time of year.
Can anyone venture a guess on the name of this rainbow-colored grass?
This Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia porteri?) created a purple haze of loveliness.
Back at the lake house, along the shore another grass species was in its full glory, with pinkish filaments extending from the flower heads. I thought maybe this was Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), but on closer study I think I'm wrong on this one. It sure is pretty, though. A.L. (see comments) says it's Barnyard Grass (Echinocloa crus-galli). Thanks!
I don't recall seeing Kiss-Me-Over-the-Garden-Gate (Polygonum orientalis) at the lake before. Either I didn't notice it, or it volunteered from a neighbor's garden. This variety of Knotweed, while lovely, is not native to the U.S.
These little jewels were thriving just where the water met the shore. I thought they were a variety of Tickseed (Coreopsis). A.L. reports they are Nodding Bur-Marigolds (Bidens cernua), and same for the Sunflowers later in this post.
The old standby Cattails (Typha latifolia) were just beginning to break apart and disperse their seeds.
These fading Sunflowers (Helianthus hirsutus?) captured the mood of the waning summer.
OK, I'm cheating with these next three shots--they were taken up at the lake in the springtime. But I'm throwing them in so we all have something to look forward to for the next growing season:
Orange Hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum);
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca); and
Spiderwort (Tradescantia bracteata?).
We won't be spending much more time up at the lake this season.
But there's always so much to look forward to for the next season.
Oh, and by the way, can anyone help me ID this fading wildflower? I think it's beautiful even at this stage.
Thanks to Gail at Clay and Limestone for hosting Wildflower Wednesdays on the fourth Wednesday of each month!