Saturday 25 July 2015. Royal Catchfly at Meadowbrook and South First Street

On this basically sunny (though not without a thin haze of cloud) morning at 6:10 it was 66 degrees F, which felt just about perfect for cycling. 

This morning’s goal on Rhododendron  was Meadowbrook Park to check on the royal catchfly and also to check a place on south First Street where I saw them last year. 

Stopped at the spruce grove on Race Street to see whether there were any mushrooms. There were not many, but did see this handsome quartet.  

 
At Meadowbrook headed for the middle of the prairie, now named  the Art and Billee Spomer Prairie, per the signage. 

 
Also it seems like a sculpture is coming. 

Stopped to look over the little wooden bridge, where McCullough Creek still babbled, though more quietly than it has been this wet year. 

  
Noticed that the mosquitoes were thick and aggressive. Fierce, ferocious, you might say, or viscous, as I heard someone put it. Sometimes there is a fine line between fierce and viscous, which may be why I tend to forget that “fierce” can also connote something positive. 

The prairie was spotted with dew, especially lovely lined up like beads on the young grass leaves, with the sun rising through the clouds behind them.  

The yellow coneflowers and Monarda were abundant and fresh-looking. 

   

Kept my eyes open for royal catchfly, not sure that even the single plant I saw last time would still be there. 

But was pleasantly surprised by the generous sprinkling of little red stars, just in the place where they were last year.  

 
Got lots of photos,  

 and, of course, they don’t do the real flowers justice. 

Was glad the plant on the other side of the path also was in glorious bloom this year.  

 Saw leaves of cream gentian, tops apparently cropp off–they must be tasty–but no flowers yet.  

 On the way back to the paved path caught this lovely bouquet of false sunflower, Monarda, and blackberries. 

 Looks like whatever eats them have been getting their fill. 

Then looped back over McCullough Creek on the rabbit-statue bridge  

 and on to Race Street and south. 

Stopped to photograph some corn stalks that were a lot smaller than the glossy dark green giants of this rainy summer but that had apparently full-sized ears.  

 Turned west on Old Church Road and stopped to catch a great blue heron wading in the (very) upper Embarras River.  

 
Did not try to dig for the real camera because it wail have gotten away if I did. At least have a tiny pic. 

At First Street turned south, not sure if it was the right direction to find the little roadside prairie garden where I’d seen royal catchfly last year. But eventually saw all the cup plants  

 
that dominated it and also some compass plants and Monarda.  

 Was just about to decide that these royal catchfly didn’t make it this year when there they were, at almost the end of the planting. 
 
Just loved those assertive red flower-stars!

  
Just love this colorful, burgeoning time of year an am grateful I can ride my bike through it!

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