Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wild flower Wednesday -- a day late


"We shall never achieve harmony with land, any more than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations the important thing is not to achieve, but to strive." ~ Leopold, Aldo: Round River


Apologies to Gail at Clay and Limestone for posting Wild Flower Wednesday a day late.

What a good idea to celebrate wild flowers with a special monthly posting.

I got together some recent photos of wildflowers I had taken and realized most of them are not native plants but introduced species. Interesting, but not in a pleasant way.

These plants were all growing in my pasture or along the lane leading to my farm.

Spiderwort, one of a few native flowers I found. What a pretty color of blue. I've seen many improved strains of this plant at garden centers.


Fleabane is also native to this area. Another plant that can be found in garden centers in various colors.



I wish this lovely patch of butterfly milkweed was in my garden. It is growing in the front yard of master gardeners Jey and Pat Flick. No grass in the Flick yard, it is entirely planted in flowers (mostly wild flowers) and vegetables.

In my garden, butterfly weed is the preferred host plant for the Monarch butterfly. Every year the Monarch caterpillars eat the flowers first and then the leaves of this plant.


This velvety mullein plant also grows in the Flicks front yard. A very attractive plant with silver leaves and yellow blooms.


Another native milkweed, I see this common milkweed growing all over the prairies of Illinois and other states. Milkweeds are the only host plant for the Monarch butterflies. The leaves on this particular plant don't look especially healthy.



Yarrow flowers are very attractive to predatory wasps and flies. I have yarrow in several colors in my garden but mine are a gentler, kinder strain that don't spread aggressively like the wild ones do.



Wild parsnips just beginning to open. It's somewhat toxic to livestock and has become a real problem in this area invading pastures and fields. Many people are sensitive to the psoralen contained in the leaves and stems of this plant and have reactions almost like burns. I believe this is related to the carrot family and the root is edible.


Queen Ann's Lace is a common plant found all over my area and another carrot relative. This one is just opening. Very lovely but an aggressive spreader with a serious tap root.

The lovely elderberries are almost finished blooming. Every year, early in the autumn, the church just down the way from my farm has an annual dinner topped off by elderberry pie. The recipe probably goes back many, many years. Elderberries seem to have fallen out of favor with modern cooks.


Squirrel tail grass, cute but farmers hate it. Those feathery looking plumes contain awns that inflame the mouths of horses and other livestock and cause ulcerations. I've actually seen seeds available for sale.


An improved variety of the native purple coneflower that once covered our prairies.

31 comments:

Rose said...

Thanks for identifying the squirrel tale grass for me, Marnie! I found some growing right next to our beanfield, but I didn't know what it was. I forgot to include the photo of it on my post, but it really is such a pretty grass, even if it's another one we don't really want to cultivate. I see we have some of the same wildflowers, but that's not surprising since we both live on farms. I find most weeds--outside of my garden--do have a pretty blooming stage.

nancybond said...

Wonderful wildflowers!

Dee @ Red Dirt Ramblings said...

I wonder why elderberries fell out of favor? I have the Black Lace elderberry, and I don't know how I lived without its beautiful foliage before now. Many of your wildflowers also grow here in Oklahoma, but wow on your neighbor's milkweed. I have it too, but it doesn't grow so abundantly. Mine is about finished blooming.~~Dee

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Marnie, We have a lot of the same plants blooming, which must mean we both have exceptional taste--HA! I do love the mullein. It's used ornamentally a LOT in Colorado. :)

tina said...

I wish that stand of butterfly weed was in my garden too. It is quite a stand! That squirrel tail grass is too cool. My neighbor FINALLY mowed his hayfield but prior to that it was full of some of these. Most notably fleabane. I hope horses and cows like it because there was more of that than hay. It was ever so cool to have that field near by. I love fields of wildflowers like yours.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

What I forgot to say was that I loved you calling my Venus flytrap Audrey II. :)

~Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

"No grass in the Flick yard." That sounds just perfect. :-) Love the butterfly weed.

Louise said...

We have a lot of the same things, also, though the ones around here seem to be just a little later. I haven't seen any Queen Anne's Lace yet, but in a while the fields will be covered with it. One of the pictures I didn't put up on my blog today was fleabane. It's just rampant in the meadow that I walked yesterday.

Southern Lady said...

Lovely wildflowers! Carla

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I get a jar or two of elderberry jelly from a friend every year. I must say it is quite tasty. I have even been known to go out and collect elderberries for her to make the jelly. YUM.... I just love Queen Annes Lace. I have tried to grow it in my garden. Soil must be too good or not enough sun. I have a look alike trying to move in. I just might let it stay.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Beautiful wildflowers, Marnie... I have seen most of these ALL of my life, but never have paid much attention to them. You captured some great pictures.

Hugs,
Betsy

Cameron said...

Great milkweed patch! I do hope there are thousands of Monarchs coming through there.

I think the fuzzy plant with the yellow bloom is a mullein. If so, not native, but it's been here since the 1700s. Here's a link on info http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/veth1.htm

Freda

Andrea said...

What a lovely collection. I'd never seen spiderwort until the new house. They planted it along the driveway. Pretty but yet a nuisance; a bit invasive, falls over and has a purple ink that stains. I hack it back after a bit to keep my sanity. I haven't tried to relocate it maybe that would do it. Our next door neighbor is letting a patch of milk weed bloom for the butterflies; very fragrant. Queen Ann's Lace is a favorite of mine.

*Ulrike* said...

Those are a lot of wildflowers! I have the spiderwort although we also call it widow's tears, wish I knew why!! I have it in that color, pink, different purple shades, and white. It does spread like crazy though. I love Queen Annes Lace, there is just something about it.
Hove you have a wonderful day!
Take Care,
Ulrike
P.S. I sent you an email, did you get it?

Dirty Girl Gardening said...

I wish that milkweed was in my garden too! Butterflies galore!

Susie said...

I have that very spiderwort growing in my yard. A friend gave it to me. You have some great pics and flowers here Marnie.

Gail said...

Marnie, I love that you joined~late is fine since I post M-W-F most of the time, there's a day to catch up. I love spiderwort and let it go where it wants to go, same with some QAL! If you get the seedlings before that root gets going you can control them! Some of your plants may be common ( I like them anyway), a bit too vigorous or just plain bad for animals, but you always have wonderful photos! gail

BeadedTail said...

That's quite a variety of wildflowers! A friend of mine told me she wanted to buy a butterfly bush this year but the nursery told her they are now illegal in Oregon because they are taken over or something. I don't know for sure what a butterfly bush is but maybe it's related to the butterfly weed?

P.S. Thanks for your thoughts for Sadie too! Her v-e-t visit went well so she'll be okay!

Meadowview Thymes said...

Oh I just love wildflowers so much! Wonder if I could grow Queen Anne's Lace in my yard? Does it like lots of hot weather? I think we do have it growing out in the fields around here. Do you buy plants, or plant seeds?
Linda

walk2write said...

I think that spiderwort is becoming almost as common as garlic mustard along the highways and byways. We see it everywhere. Some has even popped up in my flower beds. I haven't decided yet whether to let it stay or rip it out. I love the blue! The Flicks' yard sounds like a model property--no grass to mow = heaven.

Balisha said...

Some of these plants are familiar to me, but I didn't know their names. Now I'll know what to call them. I always learn from your posts. Have a nice weekend,
Balisha

Sherri said...

Marnie, what beautiful wild flower pictures! They are so wonderful! I had alot of wild flowers in my garden and surrounding fields when we had our farm in NW NJ. I love Dame's Rockets and their fragrance.

Cheryl said...

Hi Marnie....you do have some very pretty native wildflowers.
I still use elderberries in my cooking.....I also use the flowers. Poppi loves them. I pick very fresh blooms, devide them into bite size pieces, coat them in a light batter and deep fry them until they are just golden. A dusting of icing sugar finishes the treat......

I love wild carrot....yes it is invasive, without a doubt, but so pretty.

Tku for sharing your pretty flowers and have a lovely weekend.

Dawn said...

The butterfly weed is gorgeous! I love wildflowers, they pop up in the most unexpected places.

perennialgardener said...

I'm rethinking the idea of those Queen Anne's Lace I planted from seed last fall. Oh well, so far so good. Your Butterfly weed looks fantastic, hope mine gets that full. Beautiful examples of native plants. :)

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Yesterday I saw wild Spiderworts that were four feet tall. I didn't know they got that big. The flowers are so lovely, but I don't grow them because of their habit of melting by afternoon. Your butterfly weed is so lush!

garden girl said...

Wonderful wildflowers Marnie! Now that our shade garden is (finally!) mostly planted, I'm eyeing the swale (mostly shady,)and thinking about what to plant there. Aside from some hostas edging it, I hope to go all native. So far all I've added is cardinal flowers. I've been thinking about spiderwort for a spot that's alternately flooded, then dry. I love those blue blooms, and I think it would thrive there.

You've shown some wonderful wild things in this post. They're all lovely.

troutbirder said...

These are a few of my favorite things........except for the wild parships. ugh!!!! nasty burns there.

Kathleen said...

I always think I don't grow any wildflowers then I read other bloggers posts and realize I do. I have fleabane, coneflowers, verbascum, and several others you featured. Unfortunately, after a five year run in my garden, the asclepias didn't return. I need to make a trip to the greenhouse to replace it but I haven't had time (pretty pathetic huh ~ when there's no time to visit the greenhouse!)
Anyway, your wildflowers are terrific ~ I'm sure Gail didn't mind that you posted a day late either!

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Hi Marnie,
I've been reading blogs from my sidebar the last few days, trying to catch up with blogs I haven't seen for awhile.

I enjoyed reading your quotes and thoughts in your posts, and looking at your photos. I love mornings in the garden, too. The Queen Anne's lace that grew in my front yard bed last year left seedlings all over the whole bed. I've been pulling all but a couple out. I didn't think I'd see any blooming this year, as they are pretty small, but one shot up a bit, and is blooming. I think I'll try to deadhead it.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I have always admired sea holly. It does look cool. I feel like the quote at the beginning of your post. My skin is about to melt off. UGH...