Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wet and wild (flowers)
Early this morning while the spider webs still dripped with dew, I toddled up the hill to the butterfly meadow just to see what's growing. The paths up there haven't been mowed for a while, and the weeds were so tall and wet that my pants soaked through clear up to the thigh before I was halfway up the hill and Hopeful's head barely poked out above the Queen Anne's Lace, but it was worth the effort. These days the butterfly meadow glistens with color and growth.
This year for the first time ever we hired some lawn and garden help, a former classmate of my daughter's who has been coming over twice a week to pull weeds, pick tomatoes, and do all the weed-eating and mowing I can't quite manage. She's a hard worker and she's doing a terrific job, but the butterfly meadow is pretty low on the priority list. No one goes up there these days except deer, birds, bugs, and butterflies, and they don't care whether the paths get mowed.
I saw signs of deer and a red-tailed hawk but no butterflies--too early in the day. Immense purple ironweed blooms alongside bright yellow goldenrod, orange butterfly weed, and vast expanses of Queen Anne's Lace. I found an unfamiliar wildflower--always a treat to see something new! It has tiny white-to-pink slipper-shaped blossoms with a touch of blue, but it's surrounded by poison ivy so I had trouble getting a clear photo. I haven't been able to find it in my wildflower book so far.
Up at the top under the pine trees I found some lovely brown mushrooms, and on the way down I stopped by a patch of brilliant yellow and orange jewelweed. It looks so pretty I'd love to take it inside, but I tried that once and it was a mistake: it may look like precious jewels, but when you cut it, it smells like garbage.
No, the only way to enjoy jewelweed and its wild cousins is to visit them where they grow, no matter how steep and wet the climb. At least I can bring back some photos.