This morning at 7:37 it was 70 very comfortable degrees F under a blue sky.
Headed south on Race Street to Meadowbrook Park on Rhododendron, feeling ever so slightly impatient and thinking about what I wanted to and had to after the ride (ha ha!) i.e., not yet awake in the present.
Felt the usual grump about the stoplight at Windsor (which is proving to be a surprisingly challenging obstacle to inner peace! My response to it, that is.) and went directly to the Art and Billie Spomer Prairie, walking Rhododendron, with a stop at the little wooden bridge over McCullough Creek
The recent rains filled it higher than it typically is this time of year.
Farther along into the prairie, saw lots of thistles.
Planned for today’s visit to be focused and brief: gentians, the foliage of which has been visible for a while but not the flowers, royal catchfly, cardinal flower. That proved difficult, however, as other images beckoned: maturing pods of white wild indigo,
the first stiff goldenrod, accented by ironweed,
a common milkweed stalk in pod,
and delicate pale-pink Gaura.
Then, there they were, the first cream gentian flowers, which certainly were not there last week,
and immediately, once I could shift my focus just below the surface of the sea of prairie plants, they seemed to be everywhere. Always find it amazing how well these large, abundant flowers can hide until the first one is recognized.
Noticed that many blooms surrounded stalks that had been severed, presumably by hungry deer
It was a testament to their vigor.
Noticed also that many blooms were open.
Here, at least, pollinators were present and seemed to be accomplishing their job.
Looked for royal catchfly where I’d seen them a couple weeks ago and expected to see a few last red flower-stars but did not. Was surprisingly sad about it. Knew they would not be there forever but wished for more of a transition. Made me think of the common human desire to be able to say goodbye. Interesting how it doesn’t change the outcome of a situation, but somehow one feels slightly less “violated” when allowed a conscious acknowledgement before the loss happens.
And then, farther down the path than I expected, against all hope, there they were!
It was a reprieve, a space to fill with a little more gratitude!
Then it was time to check the area near the Marker statue for evidence of bottle gentians. On the way were sunlit purple coneflowers,
compass plant blooms,
“bouquets” of tall coreopsis (or perhaps tickseed) and turning blackberry foliage.
Then, near the Marker statue was foliage (which didn’t look especially healthy)
but no blooms of bottle gentian. Their season, however, still is early.
Did see some nice bush clover nearby.
Moving along the path on the way to the first cardinal flower site saw a fall sunflower, maybe a Jerusalem artichoke.
There was goldenrod that was not the common species–need to look it up.
Also noticed the broken branch of a tree
And then on to the upland cardinal flowers!
Saw even more blooming plants than last time, which I noticed through the aging spikes of blue vervain.
Walked heedless of my soaking feet through the wet ground to get close to them,
So glad for these fabulous flowers that wait until the prairie’s season of decline to make their bold display. Love the metaphor of it.