Wednesday 25 September 2013. The Time of Bottle Gentians

It was already 3 pm today before I got out on Rhododendron to check on the bottle gentians at Meadowbrook Park. The iphone weather report was “unavailable,” but the weather plainly was gorgeous: I’d say 75-78 degrees F and partly cloudy, the air calm.

On the way to Meadowbrook noticed the leaves on some trees just starting to turn yellow.

Leaves actually have been falling from many trees for a while, probably because of it being so dry for the past couple months, but this seems to be the leading edge of the standard way for the deciduous trees to let go of their energy-gathering apparatus for the year.

Wanted to focus this trip on the bottle gentians, but did stop at the rabbit bridge to see where the cardinal flowers had been. The creek bed was so dry; There was little to stop one from climbing right down into it.

The goldenrod definitely were mostly past bloom, though some yellow flowers remained.

Saw a good number of yellow and white Pierid butterflies but no monarchs or swallowtails. Was lucky enough to catch this skipper on one of the remaining thistle flowers.

(And later saw what I believe was a buckeye.)

At last, arrived at the Marker statue and set about looking for the bottle gentians. They were invisible from the edge of the still-thick grass, but a short walk into the grass revealed quite a few flower-laden plants.

But the individual flowers seemed like miniatures of what they were the last couple years.

Walked Rhododendron down the “soft” path to see if there were any bottle gentians in the mid-prairie.

Somehow did find some!

They were on the right side of the path as I walked westward. Also, saw some cream gentians that still had white flowers, but mostly they were brown.

It was getting a bit uncomfortably warm as I made my way along the path. Also the tall grass leaning into the path slightly impeded my progress, as well as my enthusiasm, but did manage to catch that observation without letting it take over, to see it was just like that for a while.

Noticed many of the cup plants near the western end of the soft path were standing but with curled, brown, “crispy” leaves.


Crossed the dry bed of McCullough Creek on a different little wooden bridge than usual and there saw a stump with lots of roots showing and a pointed top, the old remains of a beaver-felled tree. The beavers are gone (for now), but their mark remains, at least for a while.

Near the end of my visit to Meadowbrook gave in to the urge to stop, lie on my back in the grass and observe the edge of a large cloud.

20130930-222957.jpg I’m not a stranger to watching clouds, but seldom do I notice how the edges can peel off and swirl around before disappearing. A nice detail to see; just takes a little focus.

And then back on Rhododendron and home.


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