Sunday 9 October 2016. Meadowbrook Bottle Gentians!

It was 47 degrees F at 6 am today, but did not check the temperature at 7-ish when I rolled down the driveway on Rhododendron toward Meadowbrook Park. Did notice that the sky was clear.

Eagerly awaited this trip, as important and enjoyable events had prevented a number of usual morning bike rides. Was ready to meet the gentians!

On the way stopped at the site of the Amanita muscaria mushrooms, which definitely were approaching the end of this round of their fruiting.

Couldn’t help being a little sad at how the meta-fungus on them detracted from their characteristic beauty.


Yet they still had a kind of understated beauty that also was part of the wondrous workings of nature and tried to turn the lens of my perceptions and responses in that direction.

At Meadowbrook the goldenrod were well toward the completion of their bloom, and other plants were mostly shades of pale yellow and brown,

including brown stars of compass plant seed heads


Saw a few late blooms of yellow coneflower

img_1519 a coda for their season.

Saw a pretty good abundance of (dark) white wild indigo pods, including one with an insect (or two?) of the order Hemiptera (as near as I can tell) resting on one of them.


Rode along without stopping at the Freyfogle observation deck because someone was up there luxuriating with the Sunday newspaper. Looked like they were enjoying the space.

Proceeded to the Marker statue, and with just a little searching found the blue jewels of flowers.

Noticed that the flower stems branched from a cropped middle stalk, which seemed to be more the rule than the exception. Appears that the deer (I assume) search them out. It’s perhaps a wonder they manage to bloom at all.

A lot of plants looked worse for whatever else was trying to appropriate their biomass,


or whatever kept them from thriving more, but there were plenty that were healthy enough and lovely,


especially with the light as it was and the dew as if diamond-encrusting the gentian.


Then wanted to see whether there were any bottle gentian flowers in the middle of the prairie, via the “soft” path.


On the way in were still-blooming goldenrod


bush clover


more indigo pods,


one of which was open, revealing the seeds within.


Did not see any bottle gentian flowers, but did see bitten-off stalks,


which I was not sure weren’t those of cream rather than bottle gentians. And maybe if I’d looked longer I’d have found some flowers. But moved on to the next possible site.

First reached, paused for a photo, then crossed McCullough Creek,


and proceeded to the “upland cardinal flower site,” where there were cardinal flowers gone to seed


red-leafed vervain gone to seed,


the source of mountain mint fragrance,


the last of the turtlehead, one with a bee.


At first could not locate the bottle gentians I’d seen here before, but then saw it, one lonely flower (like the one that managed to bloom in my backyard after planting this spring!), next to some contrasting sneezweed.


Felt glad to see even that one and was getting back on Rhododendron to go home when, right next to the path, saw a generous bloom of bottle gentians.


Mother lode!

There were plants with blooms stacked along the stalk


and dense clusters of them,

some flowers pristine and smooth and others already faded.

It was reassuring to see gentians in the old location and joy to find them in a new place!


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