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Monday, July 25, 2011

Meadow - Revisited

Lately, early morning is the only smart time to go walking. With temperatures rising close to three digits, afternoons are best spent in air-conditioned movie theaters. This morning, before the temperatures soared I walked out to the gas line right-of-way, a long narrow meadow that is mowed about every two years.

Mid summer means the meadow areas are at their peak. Even Tree of heaven, (Ailanthus altissima) an aggressive invader looks nice if we don't think about those millions of seeds taking root throughout our woodland borders, edging out the many species of sumac that are more natural to our woods. Yes, the red spots on the tree in the photograph above is a clump of seeds Each seed is embedded in a whirligig that is a potential tree.  Most of the seeds will fall close to the base of its parent, but many will take flight with the winter winds spreading this nuisance across the land.
Also growing in this border land, that area of open ground between shade and sun, is Jewelweed, in its orange form (Impatiens capensis) is one of the first wildflowers I learned as a child.  
My mother would show me how the mature seeds would explode when touched giving the plant its other name, Touch-me-not. It also has a yellow form, Impatiens pallida.
Butterflies were plentiful again in today's meadow.
 They are unsurprisingly drawn to Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) a milkweed that does an expert job in attracting butterflies. There is nothing more beautiful than a Monarch butterfly on an Asclepias tuberosa. I will, hopefully, catch such a photo in the coming days. For now, enjoy what I believe is a Fritillary. (Feel free to help me out on this.)
Another beauty is this Great spangles fritillary (Speryeria cybele). The blue-gray spots are only visible on its underside.

No late July meadow would be complete without Sneezeweed (Helenium) of which there are several varieties I can expect to see.  This one might be a Purple-headed sneezeweed. One way to recognize it as Sneezeweed is that each yellow petal has three lobes.  You can't really see that in this photo, though. There are some nice identification photos on the Connecticut Botanical Society's Web Page  Most varieties have yellow centers.

These Black-eyed susan's (Rudbeckia hirta) are actually native to the eastern United States but they are showy enough that many of  us gardeners have planted them in our beds.
Wild mint spreads just below knee level across the area, visible in all directions.
Grass seed heads look like miniature fireworks
Chamomile, (Matricaria chamomilla) is another bloom I get to see this morning.

Growing along the path mowed through the field is this.  WHAT IS IT?!  Last weed I knew after seeing it identified on someone else's blog.  I cannot remember the name and cannot find it in my books. I suppose I will have to carry my Flora of West Virginia back out to the field and do some serious work on identification. (unless one of you saves me the trip.)

This delicate pink beauty rose up out of the briars to meet me.  I did not reach through to check out its basal leaves.
Then there was this little guy.  A brand new bug for me.  That is what I like about taking my camera along as a walking companion. It makes me pay closer attention to little things to "focus in" to what I, otherwise, might walk past. I am so glad I didn't miss this pretty little bug.

Time to say, "Good-bye," to meadow flora and fauna.
This American box turtle is probably not sad to see me go.  She can go back to munching leaves in peace.
I round a corner and head back into the woods, leaving the sunny meadow plants behind for today.



TexWisGirl said...

beautiful shots. you have some wildflowers we do not get here. lovely to see.

Esther Montgomery said...

What a mega walk - with some lovely introductions to plants, envy-making butterfly pictures . . . and a turtle. A brightly coloured turtle!

rebecca said...

When I was a kid we (all the kids on my street) referred to jewelweed as "poppers," and during summer we could entertain ourselves for long stretches walking along the ditch that separated our yards from a cornfield, popping the ripe seed pods of the jewelweed that grew thickly there.

Out on the prairie said...

The jewelweed is a favorite up where I trout fish.I see lots of hummingbirds visit it while I sit and fish.Daisy Fleabane sound like your mystery plant?

Anne McCormack said...

Could your mystery plant be Hairy Mountain Mint?
Love the photo of grass seeds!

黄清华 Wong Ching Wah said...

A green path, ordinary to others but not you and me ...

Beyond My Garden said...

Rebecca, My mom and I would have liked walking with you. She loved popping those seeds.

Anne, You got me looking in the right place and remembering somebody's blog post that named it. I think it is common mountain mint Pycanthemum virginianum. thanks for the help.


Beyond My Garden said...

Esther, it is an Eastern box turtle.

Prairie, up close I can tell it isn't daisy fleabane though from a distance it looks similar. The flowers, though are tight clusters rather than the aster like petals. Thanks for the help.

Tex, That is one thing I love about blogging. we get to see so many different areas "up close and personal."

Wong Ching, I wish I could share my paths with more people in person but for now I will use my camera and my laptop computer.

Sandra said...

i enjoyed my trip through the meadow, cute little bug, beautiful flowers, box turtle all of it. thanks for the visit

Mark and Gaz said...

Superb photography and a lovely glimpse of what's growing wild in your area :)

Carolyn ♥ said...

I enjoyed my walk through your beautiful gardens this morning. What sweet peace they bring. And thank you for your very kind comment... so much appreciated.

Diana said...

Nellie, thank you for the morning walk... thoroughly enjoyable for all the beauty in the wild.

We have Impatiens glandulifera in our garden and have to watch it closely as the seed pods dry and sling their seeds in all directions.

Jennifer and Steve said...

Beautiful walk!!! What a great time of year to get out and explore. Hope your summer is great. :)

Rose said...

You are getting me in the mood to go out and face the heat for some photographs...since being sick I have not had much desire to do anything.

Linnea said...

That's a beautiful journey you took us on!