Today I'm going to take you for more than just a walk "beyond my garden." Today we're going for a drive.
Many states plant wildflowers along their roadsides and West Virginia does that too along sections of the interstate highways. I think it is a great idea but here in the Mountain State we don't really need to plant wild flowers. All we need to do is time roadside mowing to allow what is already growing to bloom. If you have ever flown over the Appalachian Mountains after being in the arid West, then you know how the eastern mountains look like a jungle by comparison. We have to keep mowing or scything or running a weed-eater just to keep things under control. A two-week vacation during the wrong two weeks may mean that you cannot find your front door upon your return.
This, in no way is to lessen the beautiful blooms of western wildflowers with their extravagant colors and varieties. Our flowers are just so intermingled and fast-growing that we natives sometimes see them as weeds. We often see their beauty as common while we hurriedly pass by on our highways and byways.
This year, flowers are all blooming early which means that along with a later mowing schedule, our secondary highways are frequently lined with a whole pallet of color besides green. This is the time of year that I am thankful for land owners who have let their banks and berms grow. The pictures to the right and below portray my favorite highway combination - Queen Anne's Lace mixed with chicory. The pale blue of the chicory blends in with Queen Anne's Lace like a baby boy's blanket resting beside the hot pavement. From 8:00 - 10:00 a.m. this combination is at its peak. By 1:00 p.m. many of the chicory blooms have closed up leaving the white Lace to stand alone.
Other spots find daisies mixed with yellow mullein, pink vetch and a tiny yellow flower I did not identify.
Thistle is getting ready to bloom while beneath them all, coltsfoot leaves become enormous securing the energy they need to bloom in the early spring.
All these are mixed nicely with a brilliant splash of orange from day lilies, escaped so many years ago that they are now wild. Our river banks and highways have welcomed the tubers to every damp spot.
Even the most non-observant car passenger must notice the lilies.
I hope you have enjoyed our short drive along state route 31 near Williamstown, WV.