Saturday, July 30, 2011

Find the Monarch

July 24 (10) contrast This photo probably shouldn’t have been taken because the lens I use is not the correct one for landscape scenes---backgrounds and foregrounds turn out unfocused---but I pressed the shutter button anyway.  The pink flowers are Swamp Milkweed and the purple ones are Vervain.  Look closely to find an orange monarch butterfly focused in flight.

Friday, July 29, 2011

From Gold to Gold

The wildflower named Goatsbeard dabbles in its own unique brand of alchemy. 

It starts out with a blossom full of bright yellow gold.

May 27 (21)

And, eventually---after steeping in a potion of sunshine and time---transforms its visage to a shiny metallic form of gold!

July 25 (17) cropped, contrast

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Phlox from the Past

Recently, I drove past this head-turning flock of phlox blooming at the edge of an overgrown, abandoned farmstead.  The profusion of lavender, white, and pink reached even into the tree-shaded depths beyond.   

July 24 (16)The colors were very beautiful, this photo hardly doing justice.  A farmwife of long ago probably planted these garden phlox in an effort to brighten up her little corner of the world. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Queen’s Floret

Forget that photo of a Queen Anne’s Lace center blossom I posted last week.  Here is a new and improved view…..

July 25 (12) The wildflower book states that Queen Anne’s Lace---aka Wild Carrot---often has a deep purple floret in its center (looks more like deep red to me).  For many years, while on my daily walks, I would plod right past these roadside plants, never noticing the tiny, colorful center florets.  Then digital cameras were invented and I bought one and commenced my pastime of photographing wildflowers, an activity which naturally involves coming to a halt for that often-neglected closer look.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Breezy Blooms

A scene from the prairie patch on our farm…..

July 23 (17)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Blazing Stars

Yesterday afternoon was perfect for a Sunday drive to the spot about three miles away where I had spied a patch of Prairie Blazing Stars a week or so ago.  And, there they were, like a crowd of stand-up comics, displaying their goofy, sparkler-like blooms……

July 24 (6)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Coneflower Crop

Currently, I’m enjoying the bumper crop of coneflowers blooming in my flower garden.  They provide for an abundant crop of photos…..which can then be cropped…..and, that’s how this picture came to be:

July 16th (5) cropped canvas

It originated within this next rather unsatisfactory photo scene:

July 16th (5)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Queen Anne Center

Ever since the Queen Anne’s Lace began blooming a couple weeks ago, I’ve been hunting for one whose deep-plum-colored center would show up in a photo.  Often, the dark center is hardly more than a tiny dot and is very difficult to see with the naked eye, much less capture on camera. 

July 20th (4)

Here’s a closer look…..not exactly beautiful, but it is part of the flower, so why not show it off.

July 20th (5) cropped

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Survivor

Here is a visual aid to demonstrate one reason why I like coneflowers…..they are able to bounce back from adversity. 

July 20 These two photos are of the same flower.  Lately, we’ve been experiencing a wave of extreme heat and humidity.  The photo below shows how this coneflower looked late one recent afternoon, withered and curled due to the oppressive weather.  (My camera lens fogged up the moment it hit the sauna-like outdoor air.)  Believe it or not, the above photo shows this same flower the following morning, refreshed and restored after a night’s rest and a drink from the watering can. 

July 19

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Queenly Underskirts

“I see London, I see France…..I see Queen Anne’s underpants.”

July 16 (20) Yes, these blossoms of Queen Anne’s Lace were displaying their underskirts in a most uninhibited way---right there along the roadside, for all to see---aided in no small way by a strong summer breeze.  I hope they didn’t mind their immodesty being captured in a photo.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Grandma’s Lily

Many years ago, I dug up this lily from my grandmother’s back yard…..

July 13th Its dark color prevents this lily from ever being very conspicuous.  The photo here, however, shows how a bit of flaming sunset glow can transform a flower’s personality to almost flamboyant.

Monday, July 18, 2011

More New Wildflowers

Here are a three more entries into the wildflower category of I-have-never-seen-these-before.  Before a few days ago, that is, while enjoying my wildflower-hunting expedition on a country road in our vicinity. 

This first one goes by the name of Great St. John’s Wort.  I’ve always wanted to see a St. John’s Wort and it was certainly an honor to happen upon a Great one.

July 13 (26)   

Shyly displaying its slender stems and tiny blossoms was this White Vervain:

July 13 (32)

I almost didn’t drive down the road where I found this next one---Prairie Blazing Star, caught in its initial stages of “blazing”.  At the top of my next week’s “to do” list is a reminder to go back and snap more photos as the blazing/blossoming progresses. 

July 13 (105)

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Recently, I went on a wildflower hunt a few miles from our farm.  Found several I’d never seen before, including a bunch of fetching Bunchflower.  The wildflower book states that “when found, it occurs in abundance”, and that was absolutely true in this case, for there was an enormous patch of these pretty Bunchflowers growing along a roadside. 

July 13 Bunchflower

I also happened upon some Milk Vetch, growing in tandem with wispy sprigs of wild asparagus which provided background interest for this photo. 

 July 13 (34)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Carrot Orange

The other day I found myself skulking around down in a ditch, stalking Queen Anne’s Lace for the sake of a photo.  Another name for this plant is Wild Carrot, but that orange glow at the bottom of the scene is not from carrots…..

July 13 (14) Its coming from a crowd of these orange Day-Lilies, which long ago “escaped from gardens”, according to the wildflower book.  They grow in large patches here and there along the roadsides in our area. 

July 13 (5)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cat on a Tire

Move over, cat on a hot tin roof…..make room for cat on a cool tire.

July 12th (1) cropped texture grain

This next elongated photo reminds me of the tall skinny mirror we had on the wall when I was growing up.  We’d primp and preen within its slimming frame.  With one of those around, you never need to diet.

July 12th cropped x 2 texture Bye for now…..I’m off to go mirror-shopping!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bad Petal Day

Hee, hee, hee…..I caught this here coneflower havin’ a bad petal day!

July 10 (5) rough pastel I can readily sympathize…..most every day is a bad hair day for me!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Double Double Coneflower

With great anticipation I’ve awaited the blossoming of my Pink Double Delight coneflower…..

July 9 Its so much of a thrill that I decided to do a double posting of this double coneflower photo, the second one being altered, however, by effects called “old paper” and “red tint”…..

July 9 old paper copy tint red copy

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bee Balm

Decked out in court jester top hat is Bee Balm….

July 7 (1) This member of the mint family grows wild in the eastern U.S., but not here in Iowa, so this plant was purchased and planted here on our farmstead several years ago.  Bee Balm has the most wonderful warm herby aroma which can be enjoyed by rubbing a leaf between your fingers. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Turk’s Cap Lily

Showing off its wildflower fashion sense today is Turk’s Cap Lily….

July 5 (2) Turk's Cap Lily Not too shy to display an intriguing rear view….

July 5 (3) cropped

And, how about these charming freckles…..

July 5

Friday, July 8, 2011

Prairie Patch Update

Yesterday, I decided it was time to take another trek across the hayfield to check on the prairie patch.  Along the way, I saw this dickcissel acting out a “king of the twig bush” role:

July 6 (9) cropped Here’s how the prairie patch looks right now with its collection of swaying grasses and congregation of blooming milkweed in the background.  I waded in for a ways and found coneflowers and wild bergamot in the budding stage.

July 6 (6)

Bordering the hayfield is a drainage creek area where this dragonfly was alternately hovering and flitting.  A quick online search revealed its name to be Twelve-Spotted Skimmer.

July 6 (8)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Swamp Milkweed

Milkweeds prefer pink, apparently.  Here is the type known as Swamp Milkweed….with a few cute peek-a-boo blossoms beginning to open:

July 5 (8) cropped Its flowers somewhat resemble those of the Common and Sullivant’s Milkweed, but Swamp Milkweed’s leaves and stem are quite a bit different.  Its flowerhead bundles grow atop a taller, more slender stem, and the leaves are narrow and pointed.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sullivant’s Milkweed

Yesterday, while on my daily traipse along the road by our farm, I made the acquaintance of Sullivant’s Milkweed:

Sullivant's Milkweed July 4 (2)

Its looks different than the Common Milkweed, which I blogged about several days ago.  In overall plant size, the Sullivant’s Milkweed is smaller, the bundles of blossoms are less dense, and there is a more pinkish pink color to the flowers and leaf veins.  

Sullivant's Milkweed Most likely, this milkweed variant resided there in our roadside ditch in previous years, but I had failed to peer closely enough to notice its distinguishing features.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Red Lily

July 3

Finally managed to get a decent photo of this lily, which started blooming about a week ago.  Over and over, with hope in my heart, I would snap photos of it, but the results were disappointing.  Annoying glare, unsightly bugs, or unruly petals tended to spoil the scene.  I still have the tag from when this lily was purchased---its an Asiatic type, its name being “Tiny Ghost”.

Monday, July 4, 2011

View From a Crouch

Sometimes, the viewpoint must be changed….

July 2 (4) cropped

…..otherwise, the view never changes.

A couple mornings ago, I stood gazing down for the umpteenth time at the backyard flower garden, impatiently turning my camera’s viewfinder this way and that.  Finally, I modified my stance to a crouch and was more pleased with what I saw from the the less-usual viewpoint.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Timothy Grass

If the wind had stopped blowing and if a macro lens existed amongst my possessions, I might have been able to get a better close-up picture of this blooming Timothy Grass in all its purple-tinged glory.  Actually, I didn’t even know that grasses could “bloom”!June 25 (6)  By some freak act of camera nature, the upper part of this next photo ended up somewhat clearly focused:

June 27 (13) cropped

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sedge & Horsetail

I kid you not….the name of the prickly-topped plant shown in this photo is Troublesome Sedge!

June 27 (8) Look very closely and you’ll see a tiny bug sitting on one of the prickles.  Also in the photo is a black-spotted knob-headed plant whose official name is Intermediate Horsetail.  Its stem grows in sections which can be pulled apart and put back together again, another fascinating farm-kid activity I engaged in many years ago.  Back then, we called this plant “snake grass”.  It can grow to be several feet tall---here’s a better view of its segmented anatomy:

June 27 (20)