BLACK-EYED SUSAN AND SOME OF HER SISTERS

I don’t even want to know how much chemical fertilizer, pesticide, fuel for hot houses and refrigerated air transport goes into “saying it with flowers.”

My favorite option these days is just walking around my land, which is a constant profusion of flowering plants.  When I have a minute, I grab the camera.

How lucky we humans are to have color vision!

Black-eyed Susan  Rudbeckiea hirta

Who can not love black-eyed susans.  What a happy-go-lucky plant.  It  can thrive in fields, along the road, in many different soils as long as they are drenched in sun. 

They are biennial, which means they live for two years.  The first year, they grow a flat rosette of leaves spread out on the ground, but the second year, they erupt in a bouquet.  Butterflies and other insects feed on their nectar while they bloom from June to October.  I’ve seen warnings to gardeners that they can get pushy and need to be controlled, but  out in nature, they seem to find their place in the melee.

Wild bergamot  Monarda fistulosa

The USDA includes bergamot in its list of Weeds of the U.S., but it is also a favorite among butterfly gardeners.  I’ve certainly seen the Monarchs preferring it.

It’s a member of the mint family.  In simpler times, its leaves were used for medicine, and are evidently edible.  It’s definitely a feast for the eyes.

Coneflower  Ratibida pinnata

Our prairie is brilliant sea of coneflower at this moment.  I love the casual way they wear their petals.  I can visualize a jar of these brightening a pioneer woman’s kitchen.  Just a few years of burning our remnant prairie, and they have made an amazing comeback.

I haven’t taken time to plant many flowers around the barn yet, but what I’ve got is a great greeting as we drive up.

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6 replies

  1. My three-year backyard landscaping project is finished and the flowers are in full bloom. I will send you video clips/photos to enjoy as much as I enjoyed your photos. Best, Wayne

    • Hi Wayne,
      Are you sure you are finished? Somehow I never feel like any interface I initiate with a piece of land is ever finished. I usually feel like I’m hanging on tight to a runaway horse — trying to enjoy the ride while making some small attempt to influence the direction of a beast that is running for the shear joy of it. Especially in mid summer. What an exhilarating and exhausting season!

  2. We enjoy seeing the profusion of blooms around here, some wild and some naturalized after some pioneer or even 1950s settler planted them years ago. Yours are beautiful!

    • Thanks! We have been slowly trying to rebuild the number of grasses and forbes that are native to this area. It’s being a lot harder than I thought. But there are many plants that are rebounding from seed stock that must have been here a long, long time in less than ideal conditions. Our prairie restoration had been cropped for many years, and the previous owner had planted it in pine and spruce and put it in CRP. A prairie naturalist recognized the prairie plants coming up between the evergreens, and we were instantly inspired to buy back that 1-1/2 acres, cut the young trees out and start encouraging prairie.
      Other areas have been coming back on their own. This time of year the bergemot, cone flowers and other asters and Queen Anne’s Lace (about which I have mixed feelings) are turning parts of our land into a carpet of bloom.
      It’s a source of constant joy to me.
      Denise

  3. I notice you haven’t posted any pictures of what is obviously one of our favorite Wisconsin flowers, judging by its widespread prevalence, the Spotted Knapweed! Tch, tch….

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