Tuesday 9 August 2016. Red Flowers for Ray

This morning at 7:15 it was 68 degrees F, the sky with clouds very similar to way they were around the same time yesterday. What are the chances of that?

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Headed to Meadowbrook Park with the goal of spending a little time observing the cardinal flowers and also the royal catchfly at close range. Rode with a full but heavy heart because a beautiful soul, who had touched my and so many lives, had just passed from this world. His blog tells the story.

First stopped to see what I could from the rabbit-statue bridge, which was at least three cardinal flower plants!

Proceeded without hesitation through the thorny, stickery streameside vegetation to the site of the flowers. As I got closer noticed more plants, more red flowers, even on my side of the creek!

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Realized that the bottom of Davis Creek was muddy but empty of actual water, so happily got into it to be close to the flaming bird (though not cardinal)-shaped flowers.

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Did not count but found quite a collection of individual plants, many small and presumably young

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and one especially large one, with thick and multiple flower stalks.

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Looked back and got a shot of two small flower spikes with the rabbit-statue bridge in the background

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What a display!

And there was the second cardinal flower site (with compass plant in between)

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the one where I’d mourned their absence for the past couple years and now was overjoyed to see again!

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One plant was located near the two young trees with Liatris nearby

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Got to examine the tree on the right side which turned out to be a willow of some kind, the leaves a little sparse but perhaps not so ill as I’d thought last time.

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Also got a shot of partridge pea,

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which often are literally a-buzz with bees, though I didn’t linger to listen to this one.

Then proceeded along the path, across the little arch bridge over Davis Creek and walked the bike on the soft path to the interior of the prairie, where the royal catchfly reside.

On the way was yet another attractive arrangement of false sunflowers

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and a red-winged blackbird singing atop a compass plant stalk.

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And then there were the flaming red stars, the royal catchfly.

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Nearby was gentian foliage with the tips munched off.

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Was certain that the cream gentians would overcome the herbivory and show blooms eventually but was not so sure another less abundant bottle gentians

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Which these may or may not be.

There still were plenty of blooming royal catchfly plants in the area, as beautiful at a little distance as close up.

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Was so glad to have been able to witness the abundance of red (and not to ignore the yellow ones) flowers, especially this morning, when it seemed like they all were blooming in honor of Ray.

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