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Wildflowers in Late Summer

By Kathleen M. Tenpas (KathleenJuly 24, 2014
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Not all wildflowers bloom in spring. A walk along our little creek in mid August will reveal a host of beautiful late summer blooms.

Gardening picture

Down at the bottom of what used to be an old orchard, there is a little pasture pond that overflows into a small creek. The creek wends its way through a valley once part of an ancient ocean shore and eventually joins the Brownell Branch of Brokenstraw Creek. Where the creek runs through our property, we maintain a buffer zone along the edges and in amongst the birch and willows there is a growing collection of wildflowers. Late summer brings a flush of blooms down in the marshy edges.


In mid-August, the Joe Pye Weed, a lovely native Eupatorium (E. maculatum) that has colonized along the edges of creek bank, puts on a show of bloom. Used as a medicinal plant by Native Americans and settlers, it is a beautiful and stately plant.

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A near relative to Joe Pye is boneset (E. perfoliatum). Also a medicinal, its opposite leaves joined at the stem seemed to say that it would be good at healing broken bones, hence the common name. The leaves were also used in poultices to heal wounds. Like the Joe Pye, it grows along the bank and is attractive to bees and butterflies, often full of little orange meadow frittilaries (Bolonia bellonia).

Down in the marshy spots, there are turtleheads (Chelone glabra), a native member of the snapdragon family with its creamy white fading to pink blooms that look like turtl
e heads peaking out of their shell. They grow in wet sunny spots as well as under the willows.

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The touch-me-nots, or jewelweed (Impatiens capensis), are blooming in shaded areas under the willows, an orange jewel in the greenery,

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a contrast to the purple candles of the vervain (Verbena hastata), whose flowers bloom from the bottom up.
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Back a little further, there is meadowsweet (Spirea latifolia)Image growing in the sunny edges of the birch plantations,

and virgin's bower (Clematis virginiana)Image climbs through the willow thickets, its white flowers sparking in the green overgrowth.

Monkey flower (Mimulus alatus) with its grinning face, hides its flowers in the shade under the birch trees. Image

If you’re lucky, you may see some of the creatures that call this area home, a tiny toad (Bufo americanus americanus) hiding in some fallen branches

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or a dragonfly, the Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simpliciollis) tangled in the grass and grateful for a lift out on a willing finger.

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It is an easy jaunt down and back, a pleasant way to spend a breezy August afternoon. There are reminders there, though, of the season to come in the early goldenrods and New York asters, but we'll save them for another time.

 

All photos property of Kathleen M. Tenpas

(Editor's note: This article was originally published on August 21, 2008. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published article may not be able to respond to your questions.)

 


  About Kathleen M. Tenpas  
Kathleen M. TenpasWe have a grazing dairy of 55 cows in the rolling hills of western New York State where we raised two daughters who have now blessed us with four grandchildren. I have messy, jungly beds of old roses, (some real antiques left by former owners), perennials, wildflowers and lots and lots of not so ornamental grasses! I have a Masters degree in Creative Writing: Poetry from Antioch University. I am a photographer and fabric artist and I bake a mean loaf of bread.

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» Read articles about: Nature, Hiking, North American Native Plants, Chelone, Vervain, Eupatorium

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Discussion about this article:
SubjectTopic StarterRepliesViewsLast Post
I Love you nature walks! porkpal 2 6 Aug 14, 2014 1:46 PM
field care phyllischarney 1 4 Jul 31, 2014 5:13 AM
Nice! darius 12 57 Jul 31, 2014 4:33 AM
antique roses ?... prickersnall 4 15 Nov 5, 2012 9:17 AM
Early season Kathleen 3 21 Aug 3, 2012 11:09 AM
Kathleen maiglocke 1 9 Jul 30, 2012 10:31 AM
Walking pjo 1 6 Jul 30, 2012 10:29 AM
New Member littledogsmama 1 18 Aug 27, 2008 10:43 AM
Hi Kathleen, littledogsmama 1 13 Aug 27, 2008 10:40 AM
You cannot post until you login.


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