Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Meadow in August

Our meadow reaches the peak of its beauty in August.  Heavy with the blossoms of Queen Anne's Lace and Gray-headed Coneflower, as well as Goldenrod, it's an interesting combination of white and yellow.  Every time I look at it or walk through it, I'm glad I never mowed anything but trails.

Especially in the morning or evening light, the combination of white and yellow is attractive.

This was an old grassy field when we bought it 18 years ago, and apart from mowing these trails, we have done nothing to it - except I did plant a few roots of those yellow Gray-headed Coneflowers in the background about 5 years ago.  Since then they have self-seeded everywhere!

Compare this photo of the same meadow in 2015, dominated by Goldenrod with just a few of those yellow coneflowers, to the above pictures showing that the meadow is dominated by Queen Anne's Lace this year.  I don't know whether this is natural succession occurring in the meadow, or just the variation from year to year.

The biggest component is Queen Anne's Lace, with its very fine white florets.

It took me a while to come up with Gray-headed Coneflower for this one, as we have several different tall similar yellow flowers in the garden.  These started their life in the garden, but it only took a year or two to find out how easily they self-seeded and spread to other parts of the garden.  At first I felt so guilty digging out and throwing away the roots of such a beautiful flower, so I took a few of those roots and planted them far back in the meadow.  From those few plants, hundreds now bloom.  As a native wildflower, this is quite rare in Ontario, blooming only as part of remnant prairie patches in extreme southwestern Ontario.  We no longer allow it to grow in the garden, because it would take over!

There are other plants.  I don't particularly like the rough, coarse Knapweed, but it has a pretty blossom.

A couple of the purple coneflowers have seeded in from the garden, and on the day I was taking these photos, a fritillary was raiding the bloom, an Aphrodite Fritillary according to my guidebook.

We also have a little clump of Cup Plants, a prairie plant that took several years to grow before it first bloomed.  It towers over my head now.

 2015

2017
Compare these two photos of the meadow over two years.  It has completely shifted from the yellow of the Goldenrods dominating to the white of Queen Anne's Lace.

We enjoyed watching the eclipse a couple of days ago.  This is how close I came to getting a picture.  I didn't have the correct filter for the camera but I figure it was safe while the sun was obscured by clouds.  We did have some little eclipse glasses though, and as these clouds blew over, we watched the eclipse very clearly in the gaps.  It truly was amazing to see the crescent of the moon move slowly across from right to left over two hours, and the atmosphere changing to dusk and back.  


13 comments:

  1. The goldenrod was crowded out, giving a great result!

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  2. Good to see some wildflowers are still blooming where you live! I didn't even try to take photos of the eclipse. I watched it in downtown Portland, about four blocks from where I work. It was 99.3% totality and pretty darned amazing!

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  3. Just a mown trail through those colourful flowers. Beautiful.You have left a wonderful legacy for the new caretakers of that patch of land.

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  4. Hello, love all the blooms and meadow images. We had cloudy skies for the eclipse viewing. Happy Thursday, enjoy your day!

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  5. Thanks for the romp through the wildflowers. I'm glad you got to see some of the eclipse, even with clouds. :-0

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  6. Love the wildflower photos such a peaceful looking area.
    The eclipse was amazing to experience even though we did not get any photos either.

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  7. Would that more people allowed some of their property to be "wild".

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  8. I think you were smart to just mow trails...I love flower gardens we make but I love the wild ones, too.

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  9. Ditto what Rose just said.
    Think you'll miss all this once you move to town?

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  10. I love your meadow. we seem to have an abundance of queen annes lace here this year too.

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  11. gorgeous fields, each could be a picture postcard!! great captures of the butterflies - i have been enjoying butterfly season!!

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