Two late summer flowers up here in the mountains are Cardinal Flower and Joe Pye Weed. Both are often found in sunny wet areas along rivers and creeks. Cardinal flower is a spike that stands about a foot off the ground of the brightest bright red red like a fire engine and Joe Pye Weed is as tall as a person, has several branches that form a loose canopy with and array of purple at the end of each branch. These two flowers signal that high summer is here and fall is soon to follow. I love seeing the red and purple as we float down calm areas on the river, or down beside a creek when walking along a trail. These flowers are long warm summer days, sunshine, and paddling happiness.
I am headed south on I-95 for South Carolina to see the total solar eclipse on the beach. My sister is going to meet me there for another grand adventure! This trip south has been excruciating slow. I made good time until I got south of Washington DC. I hit traffic at Potomac Mills mall and it didn’t let up until I was 100 miles south of Richmond Va. As I have traveled south the humidity has increased, now to the point where the air is as thick and heavy as pea soup. I had forgotten what summer in the south was like. The oppressive heat and humidity, the glaring, blinding sun that can almost instantly burn you to a crisp, the biting bugs that attack every inch of exposed skin when you dare to step out of your car to pump gas in the late afternoon. Another thing I had forgotten was the Crepe Myrtle. I left the highway to get gas and drove down a divided tree lined winding parkway. The trees were Crepe Myrtle. All shades and colors possible between white and fluorescent dark fuchsia. I slowed down to below the speed limit and gawked. These trees are are branchy and gnarled, the wood looks old and wise even in young trees. The flowers cover the trees. Driving through them is like swimming through pink air, breathless and beautiful. As a child, we had one of these trees in our yard in Florida. I loved climbing into it when it was in bloom. To be surrounded by all the impossible amazing pink. I love being immersed in the memory and in this present dream of flowers and southern summer.
The open fallow fields and the road sides are covered in Queen Anne’s Lace and early blooming Goldenrod. Mother Nature is wearing her royal virginal white lacy robe with the golden trim. The lacy white doily like flowers and the bright yellow spikes sway rhythmically in the breezes as they blow across the fields. High summer in the mountains means fall is closing in. Queen Anne’s Lace and Goldenrod entice the bees into a last free for all feast before the seasons change again! Enjoy the bright golden flowers in the bright golden summer sunlight. Rejoice in the white lacy happiness of Here and Now!
Summer flowers, strong and vibrant, red and orange in the yard. The poppies I planted many years ago and manage to reseed themselves in the rose bed every year. I let them grow wild, scraggly, and tall, flaming dark red, black center, rounded petals flutter in the breeze. The jewel weed is a tall, branchy, light green succulent weed that grows everywhere. This year I let it stay in the flower beds, its orange and yellow delicate tubular flowers showing off in the sunshine. The day lily bulbs are planted in a semi-circle around a culvert. They grow and spread every year all on their own. Brilliant orange with red and dark orange stripes, bright yellow with pale orange stripes, pale pink, dark red with yellow stripes, and soft peach colored blooms on long stalks, swaying in the gentle summer air, heavy with humidity and floral perfume. I am content to walk around and exist with all the summer flowers.
The rhododendron is in full bloom. I have several bushes in the yard with various colors of flowers. When in bloom, the whole bush is like one big blossom. I love burying my face in the flower bunches and smelling the delicate floral scent. With all the rain it has been a good year for insects. I stood for a long time at each rhododendron bush and watched all the bumblebees and butterflies and other insects fly around and drink nectar from each flower. You can stand quite close and the bees will leave you alone as long as you don’t threaten them. The buzzing was amazing. Almost every flower has something crawling around in it carrying pollen on its legs, and hopping from flower to flower. It is fascinating to watch this insect behavior up close and personal. They are busy with the flowers these bees and butterflies!
The long awaited, greatly anticipated lilac bud have bloomed! I have watched them grown from the faintest hint of purple on the end of the stems to sweet scented, six inch tall cones of tiny lavender flowers. The blooming itself is a slow meticulous process, starting at the bottom and working its way up the cone, each bunch on its own timetable. The smell is intoxicating as it drifts on the warm breeze. I want to bring some inside, but as with all flowers, wild or cultivated, I don’t want to kill them just for my personal enjoyment. The cats would never let them be anyway. There would be water and small purple flowers all over the house! I’ve waited several years for this event; it was worth it! Only two of the six trees are blooming, so I hope that next year the others will get the message too! Spring is really here!
Walking up the road, I am enchanted by the apple blossoms. There are trees blooming that I never knew were apple trees. The trees hold their pink and white flowers in bunches like bridal bouquets. Branches are covered with sweet smelling beauty. I stop at every tree and gawk at its offering to the insects. A smorgasbord of delectable nectar! I want to bury my face into the branches and inhale the scent of the Goddess of Spring!