Monday, June 22, 2015

More Rides, More Wildflowers....

To read my blog at this time of year, you might get the impression that all I do is ride my bike and take pictures of wildflowers (and come home and research them on the computer before blogging about them). Of course I do other things too - but life seems rather crowded just now, with not much room or creative energy left over for blogging or blogreading. I'd love to write more thoughtful posts, more recipe posts, more crochet posts - but to do that I'd have to give up some of the essentials, like sleeping or working for pay or spending time with Mr. M. None of these options being viable, I'm doing what I think all bloggers do at times - defaulting to the easiest topics until time and energy allow for something more.

(There will be some free patterns posted soon. I hope.)

Meanwhile, here are some photos from recent rides.

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Sunday, 2 weeks ago - An evening ride.

There's a fugitive sweetness in the air that I can't identify. It doesn't seem to belong to any of the flowering trees I'm familiar with. Perhaps it's the sweetness of summer-to-come - the earth breathing out thoughts of warm days and balmy nights when the garden plants grow an inch or two before morning, and flowers blaze like small suns from every roadside.

Tonight I am riding down several side roads I usually pass by. Dead-end roads - though each and every one turns out to be longer and more interesting than that name would imply.

On one of them, a flurry of feathers. Relics of an avian battle? I wonder:

Up the road, some new-to-me white flowers are glowing in the shade of the trees and shining out from the verge. I think they may be hawthorn! (Which may not seem exciting to those of you across the pond who see it all the time - but this is the first time I've come across it.)

The last of my dead-end roads ends here, where grey clouds are massing over the lake in dramatic fashion:

Then I turn and head back in the other direction, towards skies that are still mostly blue, with peachy-white clouds piled like mountains on the horizon:

Here there is a long marshy pond edged with wildflowers - some showy, some not. The most easily spotted is the vibrant Dame's Rocket:

Not so easy to see is this tiny Pineapple-weed, a close relative of wild chamomile:

Its blossoms look like chamomile flowers without the petals, and its leaves when crushed give out a pleasant, pungent scent that reminds me of chamomile tea.

Also blooming here are the miniscule white flowers of Common Chickweed, or Stellaria (their much lovelier Latin name):

And Common Cinquefoil, with its delicately lovely heart-shaped yellow petals:

These small and insignificant plants (Pinapple-weed, Stellaria, Cinquefoil) are common to roadsides, gardens, and lawns. Often they're treated as weeds, and plucked up to make way for the more favoured plantings of grass or nursery annuals. But they have a beauty of their own that is worth recording. Someone has to hymn the humble flowers....

Speaking of humble flowers, here is one that I've been misidentifying for a few years now. I thought it was Mouse-Ear Chickweed, but turns out it's actually Hoary Alyssum. Toxic to horses, invasive, but ravishingly lovely all the same (especially when viewed up close):

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Tuesday, two days later. A bright and beautiful day, abounding in wildflowers.

Yellow hawkweed and wild grass under the blue sky:

Flowery plumes of Meadow Rue, just beginning to open:

The extraoardinary colours and delicate beauty of dock blossom shading from green to red:

Golden Alexanders, the cheeriest of tiny umbellifers:

The exotic beauty of a simple red clover:

And another new one for the list, Northern Bedstraw:

The first Orange Hawkweed of the year (and it's a good thing I photographed them when I did, for the next week they had been mown down):

A fascinating patch of reddish grass contrasts strongly with the green field behind it:

Anybody know what this is?

The rest of this Tuesday ride is spent in actual exercise (as opposed to flower photography). :)

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The following Sunday, I'm back on the bike for an afternoon ride. The Meadow Rue is now in full bloom, with multiple tiny stamens tossing in the breeze:

And as a change from looking down, a red-winged blackbird on a wire:

A lovely barn and outbuilding (the barn has a new roof since I've seen it last):

The last of the Winter Cress:

When we stop for a snack, Tallulah takes a whiff of banana, but decides to give it a miss:

Miles on, I fall in love with this adorable barn that looks like something out of a story book:

Here's a more upstanding barn, rugged and weathered:

And one last shot. The Meeting of Two Turtles:

A glorious ride on a warm sunny day.

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The 2015 wildflower count is up to 67. (At this rate, I may end up with more wildflowers than miles.)

Now that I've nearly caught up on cycling posts, maybe I can work on one of those free crochet patterns.... :)

How are you?

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  1. I really enjoy your cycling posts.. question.. did you move that little turtle off the road before you cycled on? I hope so! You sure do see a plethora of different wildflowers out on your rides. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  2. I have a passion for old barns and your pics today have certainly satisfied. All the roadside wild flowers are beautiful too, each with its own purpose on the landscape.
    I think perhaps Tallulah has enough miles now she could write her own blog... "Views From The Handlebars". Ha!
    Enjoy these wonderful Summer days.
    Susan x

  3. Beautiful wild flowers, lovely rides and sending thanks for sharing it all. xo, Ellen.

  4. Beautiful post as always. Yes, we have to choose and make time for difference parts of our lives sometimes. Your posts are always interesting to me with new scenery and flowers. Love the two turtles!

  5. You really do have a variety of wildflowers.

  6. I'm no expert but that certainly looks like hawthorn blossom. It's gorgeous when there's lots and lots of it along the roads and hedges across fields.

  7. I love the wildflowers, you know I do!
    Love to go on your bike rides with you, the meeting of the turtles is a nice thing!
    Hope you are doing well and staying healthy!

  8. Lovely images, as usual, fir which I thank you.

    I am not quite convinced about the Hawthorn, those leaves are not right and look more like those of a wild rose. See image for Hawthorn leaf.

  9. I enjoy reading all your posts and seeing the lovely pictures that you take. :) Looking forward to seeing more of your rides in the future. Wishing you a lovely day sweet friend.

  10. Your rides are so darn lovely. I Adore the barns and you are so good about the wildflowers and identification. We too have red winged birds and they scare the dickens out of me. They chase us from their nests.
    I need to get back on my bike for more than errands. I am stuck on the scale and I know cycling will help me out a lot. Fireman is good to go with me too. I just have to get off the porch and do it. Perhaps today

  11. Beautiful plant photos Sue. I have to agree with Toffeapple though, that's not hawthorn but a member of the rose family, probably Rosa multiflora, which is not native but has naturalised in parts of the USA

  12. Writing such a descriptive post surely must take a lot of time. It's always lovely to see what you've encountered along your rides. Isn't it interesting that people are always trying to tame the wild. I'm not one for manicured gardens; so if a beautiful flowering so-called weed wanted to volunteer, I would welcome its presence. I wish we had invasive wildflowers here that would thrive despite weather conditions. Have a good rest of the week. Tammy

  13. Awesome post! I never tire of wild flowers, the more the better. I'm glad you're getting some rides in. As for dead-ends, I like them too; there always seems to be a surprise around the corner.

    The hawthorn was interesting. The stamens made it appear to be dusted in cinnamon. On the other hand, the Golden Alexander looked like a molecule built in chemistry class. I'm assuming the clover hairs are not cacti type thorns. The Orange Hawkweed had screaming banshee written all over it. Yes, I've been known to see a banshee or two.

    Between Snowcatcher and you, I may learn all these flowers yet. Perhaps you can send some of those rustic and gucci barns back this way – very cool!

  14. I wish I had stopped for all the wildflowers I've seen in the last two weeks. Now they live on in but my memory. I need to get back to shooting more than I pedal. Thank you for being an inspiration to get back to my photography!

    I think your turtle times two photo is my favorite of yours ever!


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