June 30, 2014

My Wildflower "Meadow"

I have some grassy fields which I mow once a year so that they don't grow up in brambles, shrubs, and small trees. I have others for which I hire someone with a tractor and brush hog, but these areas are my job, as I very very slowly mow through high grasses. I try to treat the work as a time to relax and look out across the landscape, seeing it from points of view that are not my usual ones. This year one small section of grass is vivid with wildflowers, common but beautiful.

There is the violet of vetch.....

....and the rich red-oranges of Devil's Paintbrush, what some folks around here call "Indian Paintbrush". It is Orange Hawkweed, an introduced species. Of course there's lots of red clover.

Not all the colors dotting the grass are intense, though the contrast of the bright white daisy petals with their rich yellow center does catch the eye.

The delicate yellow of Cinquefoil has attracted a tiny bee.

Yarrow's white is made up of many small flowers, each with its pale yellow center.

The complex form of Columbine is a delight to see out in the field, popping up here and there, adding its juicy color to the greens. I also love its seedheads, ending in flowing pointed lines.

Black-eyed Susans are beginning to open their sunny faces.

Another plant of royal purple, in bud. I was given some of this plant, which I believe is Campanula glomerata, by a friend; when it turned out to be invasive in the flower border, I tossed it into the grass, where it's been happily growing for years.

A frothy white mass, smelling sweetly under the apple tree: Bedstraw.

Milkweed is in bud, with a couple of flowers opening to show their cupped, waxy five petals. When the masses of milkweed are in bloom, the air is deliciously scented with their fragrance. I've discovered that by searing their cut stems, I can keep them in a vase and their fragrance will waft through the house.

Many years ago when I first moved here, I discovered these rugosa roses growing in the grass. I dug some up and planted them on the east side of the house where they thrived, sending up 6 foot canes and producing many fragrant flowers. And there the original roses are, low in the grass from being mowed over each year. I think that this year I will mow around them and see how they do.

This globe of light, like an enormous warm-colored dandelion, catches the sun as though it were spun gold. It's the seedhead of the Yellow Goats-beard, whose flower also looks like a dandelion. Each of these wildflowers is a pleasure to see, and there will be more to follow––Queen Anne's Lace, Jewelweed, Goldenrod––but in other fields, because, sadly, I have to mow this one in coming days.


  1. Beautiful. It must smell glorious as well. You're very lucky to live there (says the woman who lives in a city of 3,000,000 people who's garden access is a postage sized front yard, and am *very* lucky to have that!).

    I grew up in Northern Ontario on 300 acres and miss all that land, nearly every day. Thanks for posting this and reminding me of my pastoral childhood!

  2. Simply gorgeous. I bet all the bees and bugs love it too.

  3. I do feel very lucky in my home, Kit. I'm a city kid born and bred, but can't imagine living there now. And yes, Lisa, the flowers are alive with insects feeding.

  4. Your blog is so beautiful I feel like a dork name-dropping you so casually and sloppily in my little journey:

    One of these days I will say something intelligent. Curious to read your post on Native American art patterns.

  5. Again: your close and unique sight expands my appreciation Altoon. Love the image of Columbine seed heads. Yes. That Campanula species is highly invasive in ornamental gardens. And: I am delighted to know about searing the Milkweed; will try. But alas: no Monarchs last summer or this so far.

  6. I, too, am enjoying my meadow (we mow once a year in late February or early March for our climate). The garden invader that appears in our meadow is a from of penstemon that took over the perennial beds...it is just past bloom now. I like the idea of tossing campanula seeds out there!

    Do the meadow's changing color hues--and textures-- ever inspire your work?

  7. Thanks, everyone, for reading and commenting.
    Mark, thanks for the mention on your blog.
    Julie, I didn't see any monarchs at all last year, but I'm hoping for some this year.
    annemichael, photographing and writing for this blog is part of my work, so yes, it does inspire me. If you mean does it inspire my paintings? no: in 40 years of painting I've never painted nature and have no interest in beginning. As for my textiles, I once based the colors of a piece on a beautiful shelf mushroom, but that's the only time; most of my color ideas are generated from art.