August 28, 2013

Traveling back in time to celebrate
a wealth of local wildflowers

It's Wildflower Wednesday, hosted by Gail at Clay and Limestone!

I've waited way too long to share highlights from a summer hike at Lake Kegonsa State Park, near my home. Click here for a map of the excellent hiking trails and other activities to enjoy at this Wisconsin state park, which is open year-round.

I can't believe it was more than a month ago that we hiked a couple of loops of trails here! Obviously, these photos are outdated, but no matter what time of year you visit, it's a great playground for discovery.

On the day that we visited, we saw these native plants (among many others) in their natural setting:

erigeron
Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron annuus)

caulophyllum
Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)

silphium
Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum)

asclepias
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

eryngium
Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium)

monarda
Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)

achillea
Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

liatris
Prairie Blazing Star (Liatris pycnostachya)

ratibida
Gray-Headed Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata)

amorpha
Lead Plant (Amorpha canescens)

Lake Kegonsa is a 3,209 acre fresh-water lake with a maximum depth of 30 feet, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. It's a glacial lake--one of the "4-Lakes" of the Madison, Wis., area: Mendota, Monona, Waubesa, and Kegonsa. Early settlers referred to Kegonsa as "First Lake," because it was the first of the four that they encountered while traveling north up the Yahara River.

The Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) Indians named the lake "Kegonsa," which means "lake of many fishes."

But more information about this lake and the other three will have to wait for another post. Today, for Wildflower Wednesday, I'm celebrating the wealth of native plants that thrive in the park's woods and on the prairies--accessible along the more than five miles of easy hiking trails.

wildflowers

42 comments:

  1. I enjoyed this post. I have been saving dried flower heads and pods like (Queen Anne Lace, Cone Flower, Milk Weed Pod to name just a few) for dried arrangements. Amazing the things that one can find . . . The versatality of the pod of the Cone Flower surprised me . . .

    I have also found a field of Wild Butterfly Weed, like in your photo. Beautiful brilliant brick orange color . . .

    I like the Rattlesnake Master pod . . . I'll be on the lookout for some.

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    1. Thanks, Lynne. I like the idea of collecting seed heads. Last year I gathered Cosmos, Coneflower, and Rudbeckia seed heads for potpourri. The Rattlesnake Master would be a good one, too!

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  2. Looks like a great place for a walk! Lots of familiar faces here, though I'm not that familiar with Lead plant. I have some photos from a walk through our prairie reserve from a month ago that I haven't used either. I figure they will be a nice treat for WW when we're all knee deep in snow:)

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    1. I wasn't much familiar with Lead Plant until recently, either. But after learning about it, I seem to see it everywhere this summer! I'll look forward to your prairie reserve post!

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  3. A nice combination of a wonderful walk and so many pretty wildflowers to see in one area. Many of the annual ones will grow in Texas. I have liatris in the garden now but ours doesn't bloom until fall.


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    1. Thanks! Yes, a lot of these plants grow wild over a large area of the U.S. My Liatris bloomed in July. I'm learning that some species bloom over a variety of timespans during the growing season. Liatris is such a great cut flower!

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  4. So much fun to explore an area looking for wildflowers, thanks for taking us in photos, I haven't seen some of these in their native habitat. Some I am trying to grow, I had a tiny start of Lead plant, if it is still there, and got a Butterfly Weed plant this year, still small, I hope it will bloom next year.

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    1. Because I don't have much sun in my own personal garden, I really appreciate visits to sunny gardens and natural places. Good luck with the Butterfly Weed and the Lead Plant!

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  5. Thanks for the tour, these are all flowers unknown to my garden of course, not really suitable for a postage stamp size back yard in inner city London, but all the more lovely to enjoy your photos!

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    1. I don't know how you fit so many amazing plants in your garden, Helene! It doesn't seem postage-sized from your pictures, but from how you describe it, it's even more amazing that you've created such a beautiful oasis on your small lot!

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  6. The compass plant is really pretty. I am unfamiliar with that one. This is a great time of year for all the wildflowers, even if your beautiful photos are from a month ago.

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    1. Thanks, Donna. The Compass Plant reminds me of Sunflowers and has a similar growth habit and height. But the foliage is totally different. I would grow some in my garden, but I don't have enough sun.

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  7. It was fun to see some of my favorites blooming on a prairie. Thanks for showing these!

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    1. How fun that we highlighted some of the same plants for this month's Wildflower Wednesday! You're fortunate to have so many lovely prairie plants growing in your own garden!

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  8. It must have been so cool to see so many interesting wildflowers that are sometimes cultivated in the garden, but in their natural setting. Thanks for posting your pictures of them. I always look for wildflowers when I go for a walk or hike.

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    1. Yes, it was fun. Usually when we go to that particular park, we hang around the lake, so it was fun to hike the trails. They're pretty diverse--from deep forest to open, sunny prairie. So the plant life is very diverse, too.

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  9. Am so tempted to see if I can find some lead plant seeds. Although my home garden is as far from a prairie as you can get - but such a neat looking plant. Thanks for taking me on your hike - the day and scenery is brilliant.

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    1. Thanks! It looks like you can order the plants or the seeds from Prairie Nursery. Search for "Amorpha." I wish I could grow it in my garden, but it's too shady.

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  10. What a wonderful place to walk - thanks for taking us with you!
    Have a beautiful day!
    Lea
    Lea's Menagerie

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    1. Thank you, Lea! Yes, we caught the plants at a lovely blooming time. I think spring time in the prairie is pretty spectacular, too.

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  11. Wonderful wildflowers! Your pictures just make me want to get out and take a walk in the woods.

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    1. Thanks, Dorothy! Hiking is good therapy and good exercise, isn't it?!

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  12. Thanks for taking us along on this nice walk full of beautiful wildflowers!

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    1. Certainly, and thanks for joining in on the hike "recap." :)

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  13. I have never seen Blue Cohosh in the wild! Great pictures. You are lucky to live in an area with so many state parks set aside for people who want to enjoy natural beauty.

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    1. Thanks, Jason. I agree, the state parks here are fantastic. And that's where I've seen most of the monarchs and other butterflies I've seen this year. The parks are perfect habitats for them and for native pollinators!

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  14. Interesting! I have heard of many of these plants, but have never seen pictures of them, like the lead plant. I'm amazed that some of these grow wild, too. Like the liatris - I have been trying very hard to get that established in my garden! That last picture shows just how beautiful all the flowers are together.

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    1. The trail in the woods was nice, but when we walked out onto the prairie trail it was like stepping out into that colorful prairie scene in "The Wizard of Oz." Good thing there was no wicked witch around that day. ;-)

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  15. A wealth of beautiful wildflowers! Thank you for the tour! Happy WW. gail

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    1. Thanks for hosting, Gail. I so enjoy your meme--especially this time of year when the wildflowers are blooming so spectacularly. :)

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  16. I love to hike, and that trail through the wildflowers must have been fabulous. Daisy Fleabane grows on our property, and it is so lovely that usually I just let it be.

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    1. It seems like I see Daisy Fleabane all over the place--except in my shady garden. ;-) I don't mind it either--it has its own particular beauty.

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  17. Beautiful! The blue cohosh reminds me of blueberries. I love all the lakes in your area. :o) I much prefer a meadow to a boxwood encased formal garden.

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    1. Thank you, Tammy. I know--the Cohosh berries are deceptively like Blueberries. I haven't tried the berries, but apparently they're edible and sometimes used as a coffee substitute.

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  18. They are all beautiful, and heightened with your lovely shots. I again forget posting for the Wildflower Wednesday!

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    1. Thanks! Wildflower Wednesday is a fun meme. I wish I had wildflowers blooming year-round, but it's especially fun to celebrate them this time of year!

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  19. Those are some cool looking plants you find on your wanderings. Great photos - do you mind walking around with a camera? I am always torn between wanting to grab any potential good shots and not wanting to lug the thing around.

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    1. Thanks, Sarah! I know what you mean about the camera. I always have my iPhone with me, but sometimes I leave the other cameras at home. The iPhone shots aren't too bad if the light is good. It's a give and take--if I don't have a camera and the perfect shot presents itself, I regret not grabbing the camera. On the other hand, sometimes I'm glad to just experience the scene without having to capture it. That's a difficult balancing act, though.

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  20. Beth you have certainly visited heaven on earth....I am so jealous as you have many plants I only hope to see or grow here...

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    1. Interesting, Donna. I imagine some of the meadows and hillsides in New York state are lovely, too. I have to admit, I hadn't spent much time at the prairie part of this particular state park before. It is impressive and stuffed full of wildflowers!

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  21. Looks like it was a lovely hike !
    Lots of wild flowers I have never seen before, so very interesting !

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    1. It's fascinating to think that much of the western Midwest and the Plains states were covered with prairies, and these were the dominant plants. It must have been pretty spectacular back then!

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