Sunday 18 August 2013. Last of the Royal Catchfly, Peak of the Cardinal Flowers, and First Gentians

This morning it was 63 degrees F as I got out on Rhododendron at 6:03.

Felt thirsty for this trip: thirsty for the road and thirsty for the red flowers, and the others, at Meadowbrook Park, especially since at my last visit (it was at 5:20 am) everything there was grey and indistinguishable (if mysterious and interesting), just vague shapes.

Was able to ride through on Race, even though the barriers that said “NO THROUGH TRAFFIC” still were up. Stopped at the place with the cabbage roses and the apple tree, where I was

greeted by a very friendly ginger cat.

Rode along Windsor, knowing that the glorious purple and yellow coneflowers were declining and not expecting a spectacular show. But the tall Coreopsis were abundant, and the rosinweed and other Sylphiums gave the landscape plenty of interest.

The delicate Gaura blooms were becoming more abundant. Felt quite delighted to be there with them all in their modest yet vibrant beauty.

Could have stayed a long time just there, just at one little spot of my gorgeous Meadowbrook, but also wanted to ride out in the country, of which my trip Tuesday to Homer Lake had given me a an enticing taste. So headed out to Philo Road.

Only went as far as Old Church Road and didn’t even make the little detour east up Yankee Ridge but turned west toward the Barnhart Prairie Restoration. Could see compass plant and prairie dock but didn’t stay to explore, as I was getting antsy to see the red flowers at Meadowbrook.

Noticed that being antsy is one way not to be in the present.

But did notice yet another lovely common milkweed in bloom and got a shot of this one at Barnhart. It didn’t have much fragrance–maybe the late-bloomers don’t.

Then headed to Meadowbrook and made a beeline for the cardinal flowers, which were in splendid full bloom.

20130818-213407.jpg There were not so many as at Homer Lake, but their composition among the trees was just as stunning. Still was after a good close shot.

Did manage, with effort, to tear myself away from that enchanted place, and proceeded toward the soft prairie path to see the royal catchfly. On the way saw yet another bloom on the halberd-leafed rose mallow plant!

On the soft path heard lots of pheasants: a group of hens and then a hen and cock running together (too fast, of course for a photo). Their mating season?

The flowers on the way to the royal catchfly place were lovely and enticing in the morning light: dewy tick trefoil, ironweed, tall Coreopsis, Gaura, and the blooming big bluestem and Indian grass with its delicate, dangling flower parts. But my mission in the limited time was to check on the royal catchfly. There were fewer plants visible than last time, but those remaining were as bright and bold as the very first of them. So glad to have witnessed their course this summer!

Was surprised not to see any cream gentians yet, but then spotted one, and they were everywhere. Just love how they hide and then almost magically appear.

Got another Gaura shot; they so delicately play the white-pink edge.

Wanted to stay a lot longer, but was glad to have seen what was there this morning!


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