Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Walk Along the Wildflower Fence

This section of the Watauga MST is often missed. The entrance is precisely at the end post in this photo.
The next photo shows the same access point from the meadow side.
Yep, there I am pointing out the obvious ??? ;-)
When you look south along the fence line it is obvious what a beautiful wildflower fence this has become. I counted about a two dozen different varieties of plants in bloom on the day I was walking.
One of my favorites is Goldenrod, Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’. We have about 6 different varieties in these mountains.
Many people scorn it as a plant that has pollen which sets off allergies. But, it is not one of the strongest allergens that bloom this time of year, so blame may be inappropriately placed upon this beautiful golden cascading blossom.
The fence line provides a butterfly habitat that is amazingly perfect. The variety of tall and late blooming flora attract hundreds of flutterbys every day. Here goldenrod and ironweed are hosting a swallowtail.
The ironweed (Vernonia altissima) is the prettiest of the purple hued blossoms. It is richly blue-violet with accents of red.
I caught this fellow hovering above the ironweed. Isn't this a phun photo? :-)
Joe Pye Bloom (Eupatorium maculatum), stands tallest of all the summer bloomers. I have seen 16 foot tall plants with blossoms the size of basketballs. It's common name is Joe Pye Weed. But I think any plant this glorious should not be called a weed. So I call it Joe Pye Bloom.
The butterflies love it and seem to work it constantly. I seldom see any blossom without a butterfly attached.
Or sometimes several!
This vine is one of our native clematis and has white blossoms early in summer. It is known as Virgin's-bower (Clematis virginiana). It fills in at ground level and up the fence posts.
You will notice the fascinating swirl of the blossom which creates a puff of complexity.
Even the thistle is a joy along this fence line. Attracting butterflies and blooming the prettiest of pinks.
Like the goldenrod, thistle is often disparaged for its thorns. But the blossom is a treasure and a contrast in beauty, like a rose with thorns, it only makes the blossom more desirable. And along this fence line is a perfect habitat and location for enjoying the beauty.
And of course there is the added gift of the thistle seeds as they take wing on the wind and delight us with a sense of flight. I have seen a breeze stir across this meadow and a trail of thistle blossoms weave across the trail.
Another vine that is a beauty and found along this fence line is morning glory. This pretty and simple pink and white blossom blooms but for the day. The vine refreshes itself every morning in glory.
From the south end looking north this length of trail is a beautiful sight. When groomed by the leasers and in full summer bloom this meadow is a wildflower delight.
I hope it is never weed-whacked or groomed all along the fence line. It is truly a wildflower and butterfly habitat.
I am reminded of my favorite notion about wildflowers as I ponder this stretch of noxious weeds, rambling vines, and thickets of flora.
Always remember,
"one man's weeds are another man's wildflowers!" :-)

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