Friday, September 17, 2010

Summer Bloomers Still Hanging On

The dry weather seems to be delaying the transition into autumn. The fall asters have not yet begun to bloom, but most of the showy summer flowers have almost disappeared. The result is a landscape of golden brown grasses and very little bright color. Occasionally you see a fresh bloom from some summer species that has not yet called it quits. Here is a fresh Western Sunflower adding a splash of color to the field.

Several Field Thistles are still producing new flowers. This is probably the most common nectar plant now available in the old crop fields. A Leonard’s Skipper is taking advantage of this nectar supply.

Thistle flowers at Blue Jay Barrens also come in white, cream, pink and pale lavender. I’ve toyed with the idea of collecting seed from the various colors and creating a thistle flower bed near the house. Several things have kept me from pursuing this project. These are biennial plants, so I would have to plant seed every year in order to maintain flowers from year to year. Depending on patterns of pollen transfer and the genetics of the individual plant, I may not get any of the colors I’m actually after. I think it best that I just enjoy the plants out in the field.

Most of the Indian Grass has finished blooming, but there are isolated patches that are just getting started. Most of the flowering specimens are found in more shaded locations on the lower slopes. These areas may have remained cooler early in the year and delayed the growth of the Indian Grass in the spring.

Gray Goldenrod is still around and remains the most numerous blooming goldenrod. The later blooming goldenrods are going to have to hurry in order to flower and produce seed before they are knocked back by the first heavy frost.

There are still some Orange Coneflowers blooming in the fields, but none display the attractive appearance I was seeing two months ago. This must really be a tasty flower. Every bloom I saw had some insect munching away at the leaves. The late flowers may suffer, but the plants have produced an ample supply of seed for future generations.


  1. Hi Steve... Thanks for stopping by to see the pond post!!
    Guess what!! Yesterday there was 6 Mallards ducks in there having a great time and after the heavy rain we had last night I'll have to go take a look to see what going on there!!
    Looks like some things are still hanging on at the barens!! I like the Golden Rod but we don't get along well!
    It is all around me so this time of year I have to put up with itchy eyes and sneezing!!!!
    Have a nice weekend!!

  2. grammie g - Glad to hear the pond is still doing well despite the new culvert. We also had rain yesterday. It was almost enough to wet the bottom of the rain gauge.