My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wildflower Wednesday

Home again, home again, jiggedy-jig!

We had a great vacation, but I'm finding it awfully hard to get back into anything resembling a routine. My mind's still locked in vacation mode and refuses to accept that break's over!

I've got over 300 photos - after culling a bunch - from our trip, and though I obviously won't be posting but a fraction of them, it's still going to take me quite a while to choose, edit and upload them and write my vacation posts. So meanwhile, I'll do my best to resume Wildflower Wednesdays between deck-staining and hay-hauling (break's definitely over!)

@~>~ @~>~ @~>~ * ~<~@ ~<~@ ~<~@

No one can have a healthy love for flowers
unless he loves the wild ones.
~Forbes Watson

So many of our wildflowers come and go so quickly, I've had an impossible time posting about most of them while they're actually in bloom. But Monday when I took the girls for our first hike since returning home, several of my favorite wildflowers were blooming that hadn't been when we left and it's inspired me to squeeze in at least one timely wildflower post, though I plucked the first two photos from my archives in the interest of time and my quickly shrinking hard drive space. (This post will take longer to load than usual, since my new camera takes "bigger" - but better - photos!)

So without further ado, here are a few examples of just some of what is currently blooming in our "backyard" (landscaped by Mother Nature, Master Gardener!) :-)

Wild Rose

Rosa woodsii
(aka Fendler Rose)

What can I say about the beautiful Wild Rose that you don't already know? It smells divine, produces loads of Vitamin C-rich rose hips (that I nibble on during fall hikes and pluck to bring home to Val and Tino the mice), and it grows here like gangbusters. In fact, it has completely overrun our little patio garden, crowding out our strawberries and threatening to overtake our Russian Sage, but we're happy to let it since now the patio smells like attar of rose. :-)

Sego Lily

Calochortus nuttallii
(aka Mariposa Lily, Star Tulip, Butterfly Tulip)

The name Sego is of Shoshone origin, and the Sego Lily is the state flower of Utah. Its walnut-sized bulbous root is nutritious and sweet, edible cooked or raw, and when boiled tastes like potatoes. Rodents and bears eat it, Native Americans ground it to make bread, and the first Mormon arrivals to Utah depended on it during their early lean years. These lilies first started blooming in early June, and we have a real bumper crop of them now!


Campanula rotundifolia
(aka Bellflower, Scotch Bluebell)

This plant looks different in the various environments in which it grows, and so has several names. Around here this plant is called a Harebell (I have no idea what the relationship to hares might be!) The flowers here called Bluebells are blue, not violet, bloom much earlier in the Spring, and have very different - and tasty - leaves (as you may recall from my grazing post). This same Harebell plant grows in Scotland, but much taller in the moist soil there.

That delicate-hued trio of harebells was just too sweet to leave out of this post!

Wild Bergamot

Monarda menthaefolia
(aka Horsemint, Bee Balm, Lemon Mint)

Look closely, and you'll see a whole crop of Wild Bergamot in the background of this photo!

Funny that it's commonly called Horsemint, since horses are just about the only grazing/browsing critter who don't care for it! It may not be much to look at - lovely color, but looks like a bad hair day - but what it lacks in tidy beauty it more than makes up for in fragrance. Menthaefolia means "mint-leaved," and both the leaves and the flower release their heavenly spicy-minty fragrance when pinched or crushed. This flower attracts bees, hummingbirds and butterflies, so is popular in gardens. It's supposed to improve the health and flavor of tomatoes when planted with them. You may know bergamot from Earl Grey tea, and in addition to brewing up a fragrant cup of tea the leaves can also be used for flavoring in cooking (with a taste similar to oregano) and in simmering potpourri. The plant also has several medicinal uses, including as an antiseptic. But most importantly they provide delicious aromatherapy during my hikes. :-)


Gaillardia aristata
(aka Indian Blanket, Brown-Eyed Susan)

Aristata means "bearded." The Gaillardia has been domesticated, so you may recognize it from gardens. Matter of fact, BW once grew some from seed when we lived down in Buffalo and won a red ribbon for them in the Johnson County Fair. :-) They don't always have red on their petals, but the ones that do are my favorites. I couldn't decide which of these to post, so I went with both. The first one is such a perfect flower, and the other has such great color!

Long-plumed Avens

Geum triflorum
(aka Prairie Smoke, Oldman's Whiskers)

An adorable member of the Rose family. The photo above is what they looked like in June. The photo below is what they look like now when they've gone to seed, inspiration for the lovely name Prairie Smoke...

I just love them in this stage, with their wild Don King hair!

Sticky Geranium

Geranium viscosissimum
(aka Pink Geranium, Cranesbill)

A main food source for several wild animals from elk to bears, the wild Sticky Geranium is in the same family (but different genus) as the household geraniums with which you are no doubt well acquainted!

Indian Paintbrush

Castilleja linariaefolia
(aka Wyoming Paintbrush, Painted-cup)

(Note the Harebell blooming behind it on the left, and Blanketflower on its right!) As you may guess from one of its common names, the Paintbrush is Wyoming's state flower. It's also a semi-parasite, growing its roots through the soil until they penetrate the roots of nearby plants to steal some of their food! (Never trust a Wyomingite, I tell ya!) Sure are a pretty color though, and their name is appropriate because they not only look like a paintbrush, they paint the landscape a brilliant orange-red when they're blooming.


  1. Gorgeous photos, as always, Laurie! Welcome home, too, and I'll be looking forward to hearing about your vacation!

    Oh, btw, I saw a different Dr. and he's ordering an MRI for my brain. Guess what he's thinking? Aargh.

  2. Wonderful post! I adore wildflowers...being one myself! :P I hope the vacation was great & that you fall back into your cozy home routine as quickly as possible! xo

  3. Welcome back Laurie! Glad you're back...although, I totally feel for you getting back into the swing of can be painful. But, the hay-hauling sounds like it's good outdoor work that provides plenty of exercise...I'd prefer that to my desk job any day.

    The flowers are all beautiful, my favorites are the bee balm and the prairie smoke in seed.

  4. Dearest Tex-
    I am muchas impressed with this post. Of course all the scientific name dropping and such...but the pictures are mega fab. I was trying to pick a favorite but it's hard. I think maybe the Don King's hairdo flower (don't you love how I use the text book names?) is my personal favorite with all the others coming in a very close 2nd. Absolutely stuning. New camera is working fine and dandy along with it's user.
    I've been waiting for your first post since you're back to WY. It was sooooooooo good to see you at the Elephant and to finally meet BW. Thank him again for a scumptious dinner...I may have even talked my Dad into giving it a whirl (or not). I hope the remainder of your vacation was happy and joyous.
    And of course you're right back to being my biggest fan for my blog. You're a sweetie fer shure ;).
    Looking forward to the best of the best of the vaca shots.
    Hugs to you and BW.
    PS That rose reminds me so much of the beach roses here. Maybe some itinerant seagull carried a seed or two across country.

  5. Molly ~ Thank you very much! :-) I took a photo on my vacation just for you, and will be emailing it shortly. At least you can enjoy it while it takes slow me and my rickety old computer eons to get our vacation posts done!

    What is this about a brain MRI?! I assume from your comment that this new doctor must be thinking MS, but am pretty mystified as to why! If you want to tell me more about this news via email, please do! I'm hoping my assumption is wrong, or that the doctor is! :-(

    Izzy ~ Many thanks to you, too! :-) I'm glad you enjoyed it! Did you see some familiar friends among the wildflower pictures, or have a favorite? And hey, my little Wildflower Child - Rose has a link to this fun site on her blog - you might enjoy taking the little quiz yourself!

    What Kind of Flower Are You?

    I'm thinking I'll post that link (and my results) on a future flower/wildflower post, but thought I'd share it with you here and now! :-)

    My cozy home routine still eludes me, but I think I'm getting closer to getting back in the groove each day. I found running errands yesterday awfully challenging, though. It didn't help that the stores were out of so many of my basic staples (organic carrots, tofu and bread, among others!). I was sure missing my shopping adventures in Whole Foods and Hannaford's (a chain of Maine grocery stores with a great selection of organic produce and other goodies), as well as several local Maine natural food stores we visited!

    Rose Thank you, my sweet friend! "Painful" is an apt description of my decompression/readjustment, alright! And the hay-hauling is all of that... I say abandon your desk and join us! :-) At least we won't be doing it in blistering temps like usual (no matter how early we get started in the morning!) Supposed to be mid-90's tomorrow, but drop to mid-80's with a little cloud cover by Saturday.

  6. P.S. Rose ~ I meant to mention that I got a giggle out of your favorite flowers on this post! You like the wild-haired blooms, it seems! :-) It's also fun that you and Sue both love the Prairie Smoke ("Don King Flower"), as it's not fragrant, glamorous nor colorful like the others, but has a special place in my heart. They always make me grin with that crazy hair of theirs! :-)

  7. Sue! ~ You always take such fantastic flower photos, I'm really pleased that you were impressed with mine! Thank you very much for your compliments! I sure can't choose a favorite in this batch - I had a devil of a time just selecting which photos to post out of all the ones I took (I'm still used to the attrition rate of my old camera's photos, and so take way more pictures than I need to with my new one - they almost all turn out great and make it an awful chore to choose the best one!) I love the name "Prairie Smoke," but the name you've bestowed on that flower has me so smitten, I'm thinking of writing to the Global Botany Organization (or whomever it is that has the final say in these things) and demand they change the official common name from Long-plumed Avens to Don King Hairdo Flower! :-)

    It was really fun and wonderful ('funderful?") to spend an evening at the Elephant with you, too! BW really enjoyed your company as well, and it was his pleasure to treat you to that fantastic meal! I hope your dad agrees to partake of their delicious food with you - he's missing out if he passes up that invite!

    I'm keeping my own beady eyes on the lookout for that utensils photo you took there... it'll be fun to see it pop up on your blog one day! I'll try to do a little catching up in the comment department while you're on your Thoreau-like sabbatical this weekend, as well as get busy on my vacation posts. We had plenty of fun adventures and photo ops, and I'm chomping at the bit to get some posts done!

    Big hugs from bofus back to you! :-) Love, Tex

    P.S. Your theory about the seagull transporting beach rose seeds to the Rockies is not so far-fetched. We had to stop in Casper, WY on our drive home from Denver to pick up some stuff, and there were seagulls flying overhead the whole time! When I closed my eyes I could pretend to be back on the Maine coast (except I was standing in zero-humidity heat instead of that "MUG-GEH" stuff we experienced!) (Great way to spell it, by the way!) ;-)

  8. P.S. to Molly, Izzy and Rose - I noticed late yesterday that my first Harebells photo was MIA! I fixed it right away, but I'm sorry for the technical difficulty that made you see the ugly "Image Was Moved or Deleted" monstrosity instead of pretty Harebells!

  9. I would LOVE to abandon my desk job and gather hay with you! I'll be there in spirit.

    PS, my captcha code for posting this is awawpow ...kind of cute.

  10. Okey-dokes, Rose - so long as your spirit can lift 60-lb bales! :-) I wish you could go with us in the flesh, I know you'd enjoy it and you'd make it a lot more fun! We've always taken Willow with us, and she has a grand time!

    We may be postponing our hay-hauling adventures till tomorrow evening or Sunday morning. BW is putting in a very long, brutal day at work in 98ยบ heat and I really doubt he'll be up for hauling hay first thing tomorrow morning.

    Awawpow looks like a Native American word! When I first saw it, my brain wanted to pronounce it, "Aw, a paw!" :-)

  11. Well, Willow certainly looks pleased with that haul! She's adorable.

  12. Willow says, "Thank you, Auntie Rose! And I'm almost as good as I am cute!" :-)


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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