Saturday, May 31, 2008

The parade of wildflowers


There is a very definite and organized progression of wildflowers here in the summer. I imagine that it's almost like a bunch of older fussbudget ladies organizing the flower displays at the fair--that of course there's one way it makes the most sense, is the most attractive, and is the most practical. This is one of those Way to Go, God! things about our short summer season here. Everything is timed to follow one another exactly, even with the eventualities like cold springs or too much rain, etc.

The first to come on the scene in late May are the bluebells. They are delicate and fragile, a graceful first step into summer wildflowers. This photo was taken by guest Susan a few days ago. Then, shortly after and overlapping the bluebells are the pink wild roses, so you have a pairing of light blue-violet along with the blush pink. After these two have faded, in come the fields and roadsides covered in lupine and wild Alaska blue flags, which look to me to be the same as a purple iris. There is a large marshy area on the south side of the Palmer Hay Flats which is covered in wild iris. It's quite a spectacle next to the Glenn Highway. The lupine amaze me because they look like they would not be long-lasting, but they stand along the roadsides for weeks and weeks. They're very picky about where they'll grow. I've tried planting purchased ones in the gardens but they all die. Where they really thrive is in the worst possible soil: rocky and dry, or areas disturbed by road construction.

As summer comes on strong, the white wild daisies and orange poppies come out to compliment the blue colors of the garden flowers that do well here: forget me nots, lobelia, delphiniums, and blue poppies. The lushness of the summer blooms are intense in our short season--everything almost literally bursts open into full bloom. Hunting around in the woods, flowers like chocolate lillies and Jack in the Pulpet are easily found.

Right now both my apple trees and choke cherry trees are in full bloom, too. Mmm! What beautiful scents. Already the rhubarb is ready to bolt. The red currants, black currants and highbush cranberries have set their berries, and the bees are busy trying to keep up with everything else trying its best to bloom, flower, and produce fruit in the next 10 weeks before frost.
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