Monday 28 July 2014. This Summer’s Prairie: Royal Catchfly and Its Fellows

This morning at 5:45 (I think) it was 61 degrees F and mostly clear. Tried yesterday to show the royal catchfly at Meadowbrook Park to a friend, but we decided it was too wet to walk on the (quite) soft path. So my goal this morning was to check on them.

But first, couldn’t resist a shot of the freshly sprung surprise lilies, the leaves of which appear early in the spring and photosynthesize a while then die and disappear completely, then the flowers of which pop up on bare stalks like mushrooms, just before my birthday.

At Meadowbrook, saw the summer advance. Red blackberries made a bold accent among the yellow and mauve prairie flowers.
The dark ripe ones were few, I think, because they get eaten as soon as they are ripe.
The lead plant was still blooming. Yes, it’s one of those special plants that I pay a lot of attention to. Just my prejudice: I like it.

Locked Rhododendron to the rack near the organic gardens and walked to the soft path, to the middle of the prairie.

On the way, McCullough Creek babbled as it flowed over some tree roots, a little waterfall.

Inside the prairie via the soft path, there were Monarda and Heliopsis against plenty of green.

Found a compass plant in bloom, but it was one of very few, and the flowers didn’t seem especially fresh or vigorous.

Found the royal catchfly. There was plenty of it!

Noticed that Baptisia and rattlesnake master were very frequently close to them, as well as cream gentian (foliage) with the tops nipped off, as if they’d been picked, or eaten. In previous years, they’d have been blooming by now.

Had a hard time focusing the iPhone camera on the red-star royal catchfly flowers, which themselves didn’t look as fresh as I’d remembered them. Made me wonder about the health of the prairie, whether this was the result of pathogens that flourished in the cool, wet summer we’d been having or whether this was just within the normal variation of one year’s bloom to the next. It’s easy to get worried about this little island of nature. And it’s easy, especially as years go by, to want the prairie to stay the beautiful way I saw it in a particularly burgeoning year. Have to remember to behold each year as it is, and maybe also hold the especially full years more dear, because they won’t be repeated.


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