the last day of august
the kids are going back to school. the sandhill cranes have started calling (which we believe they do in order to find and join up with other cranes high above who are already headed south). and a couple of mornings this past week have smelled more like early autumn, than late summer. and yet, we have a forecast of near 100 degree temps for the next several days which is very unusual here in the north. if i am feeling confused by all the mixed seasonal messages, i have to believe the critters and plants are struggling too. since all of you dear readers are likely kindred spirits, i won’t belabor my feelings of uncertainty, because i know you are probably feeling exactly the same as me. instead i will notice the sunflowers. sunflowers are supposed to be blooming now. the roadsides are loaded with them. so that’s good. sunflowers are good.
woodland sunflower (Helianthus strumosus)
stop hating on goldenrod
ragweed–not goldenrod–is the main cause of allergies. i want everyone to stop hating on goldenrod. ragweed is your culprit. here is an expert from the Friends of the Mississippi River:
While it is certainly possible to be allergic to one of the roughly 45 species of goldenrod found in Minnesota, most people would need to touch the plant or put their face near it to get pollen into their nose and trigger their allergies. (And unless you’re an ecologist or native plant fanatic, it’s unlikely you’re nose-to-nose with goldenrod very often.) Goldenrods are primarily insect-pollinated – their flowers attract bees and other pollinators. The pollen grains they produce are large and heavy, so they stay near the plant. They also produce less pollen because they don’t have to rely on wind to carry it to other far-off plants. In comparison, ragweed (of which we have three species in Minnesota) is primarily wind-pollinated, meaning the plants rely on wind to disperse their pollen. As a result, they produce massive amounts of tiny pollen grains that the breeze then carries every which way and beyond. Many people will mistakenly remove goldenrods from their properties to avoid allergies. Not only is this usually ineffective for allergy reduction, but it’s also eliminating an important food source for native pollinators.
so, let’s all stop hating on goldenrod and just enjoy our late-summer gilded edge roads, and smile in the knowing that our pollinators are enjoying a final feast of both pollen and nectar before the cool northern winds start pushing down upon us.
goldenrod stem in bloom (Solidago)
red and green in august
i spent the whole day today on my computer working on my STILL book. at six o’clock i ran to the grocery store to pick up some eggs. because around our house, the nobody-wants-t0-cook go to meal is an omelet. luckily, between my house and the grocery store is a big, tall viburnum bush in full crimson and dark green glory. whew, STILL dilemma solved.
high bush cranberry (viburnum)
a detail shot of yesterday’s poppies. i was pretty chuffed with the detail in this photo (because i don’t have a macro lens). it was also a thrill for me to see the beginning of those glorious poppy seedpods. this poppy was in a pot on my front step. after photographing it yesterday, i put it back out side on the stoop. today the bloom looked like a wet kleenex–not nearly as photogenic. yet one more reminder on why dailiness is so powerful (not that you really needed one :-).
poppy flower detail
a wisp of a flower
my husband planted some poppies from seeds this year. they are such a delight. the tissue-paper thin petals are so exotic for us northern where humans and flora alike tend to grow firm and fleshy. poppies are first recorded in mesopotamia. the only poppy native to north america is the california poppy. if you zoom in on this image, you can see the beautiful details in the seed pods. see if you can find the one with the ant on it. i was pretty happy with my resolution on this image.
p.s. in my winter garden, i definitely want poppies. they sport one of the all time greatest seed pods all winter long!