A4 Barry 9/8

A4 Barry 9/8

Submitted by <p>By Barry Reed </p><p>breed71@gmail.com </p> on Sat, 09/08/2018 - 07:25

It’s in your nature: Take a look at some fall wildflowers


Most folks know that summer provides us the best variety of flowers. I’m sure in your flower gardens, deck planters, or sidewalk flower beds, zinnias, petunias, cosmos or begonias are beautiful and at their finest. I, too, enjoy planting them. But I also know that as we flip the calendar page ahead to September, I can look forward to fall wildflowers that are blooming now. I think nature wants to “butter us up” a bit before the leaves fall, and soon after, the flakes fall as well. So before winter locks us in its grip, enjoy some of these familiar fall blooms.

Look for chicory gracing our roadsides not mowed or sprayed. They are a perennial and their blue flowers scattered along their relatively tough stems can be seen from August into early October. The chicory roots are still used as a coffee substitute in certain areas and as a nutritional supplement.

Brightening wet meadows and low-lying areas you can find New England aster. This aster can reach 4 feet in height, so the numerous small purple flowers can sometimes tower above the other vegetation, and make sure you don’t miss them on your walks or country drives. Often in wet/damp areas you’ll find pale jewelweed. Its dainty orange flowers dangle from rather weak stems. They too will bloom into late September. When wet, its foliage “beads up” water droplets like a great wax beads up water on your vehicle (hence the name jewelweed). Its nickname is touch-me-not because its 1-inch seed pod, when ripening, will pop open in your hand, expelling its seeds.

If fishing or hiking along Stony, Mahoning or Pohopoco creeks or Saw Mill Run, look for the beautiful cardinal flower. Its brilliant red blooms brighten the stream banks and you might miss the trout rising to your dry fly as you soak up its beauty. Popping up on lawn or field edges now are the 1-foot high Butter and Eggs flowers. The small orange and yellow blossoms dot the landscape and I still steer my mower around them.

Seldom seen, and quite rare, the bottle and fringed gentians grow in shaded damp areas. The blue/violet 1½ inch blooms are found only at the top of the plant. (Knotgrass and other invasives are threatening them.)

White fall flowers include the familiar Queen Anne’s lace (still blooming) and the forest edge white snakeroot with its delicate, small white flowers. Black-eyed Susans and tickseed, with their bold yellow petals, can still be found now. Of course, you can only appreciate them when you get out there and enjoy!

Last column’s trivia answer: August’s downpours muddied and raised large stream and river levels, making it difficult for bald eagles to find fish to catch, so a roadkilled animal can be a substitute for a hungry bird.

Today’s nature trivia: Why do pitcher plants and sundews catch insects? A. they can’t make their own food, B. to get needed minerals, C. both of these

Contact Barry Reed at breed71@gmail.com.