Rose Milkweed and White Indian Hemp
(Asclepias incarnata )
On our walk in the Lanark Highlands yesterday, I recorded pages of blooming species in my tiny field notebook and pulled it out this morning for a second look - not a shabby collection at all for a brief pottering in the woods and fields of the Two Hundred Acre Wood and along the verges of its beaver ponds.
Anemone (Canada, Rue, Wood), Bird's-foot Trefoil, Black Mustard, Bladder Campion, Boneset, Brown-eyed Susan, Buttercup, Cardinal Flower, Catnip, Chicory, Clover (tall yellow and white, short pink, white and purple), Cohosh (Blue and Black), Common Milkweed, Crown Vetch, Daisy Fleabane, Dandelion, Day Lily, Deptford Pink, Elderberry, Everlasting Pea, Fragrant Water Lily (white), Hawkweed (orange and yellow), Heal-All, Hedge Bindweed, Lambs Quarters, Leafy Spurge, Milkweed, Miterwort, Motherwort, Oxeye Daisy, Pickerelweed, Queen Anne's Lace (Wild Carrot), Red Baneberry, Rose Mallow, Shrubby Cinquefoil, Sow Thistle, Snakeroot, Spatterdock, St. John's Wort, Swamp Butterfly Weed (Swamp Milkweed), Thimbleweed, Toadflax, Tufted Vetch, Turkish Mullein, Vipers Bugloss, Vervain, Virgin's Bower (Wild Clematis), Wild Basil, Wild Bergamot, Wild Cucumber, Wild Parsnip, Yarrow, Yellow Goatsbeard
Such gathering and naming exercises are never simple laundry lists of blooming fauna, but an expression wild and curious (and doddering) of the abundance on offer in summer, an appreciation too of what Mother Earth holds out to us in her own good time and seasons - they're powerful reminders just what a special place this little blue planet is.
The stands of milkweed coming into bloom are a plus for they bring Monarch and Viceroy butterflies and and serve as nurseries for the eggs and caterpillars. The waving stands of kindred Swamp Butterfly Weed in the beaver pond with their bright pink buds are a lovely thing, and this is only the third year they have graced us with their presence.
The tall water grasses along the edges of both pond and stream were in ceaseless windy motion, a panoramic blur of dancing emerald green; that made focusing a sometime thing. A family of wood ducks detached themselves from the reeds and flew away protesting to splash down again in the center with contented quacking, well beyond the ken of eyes and lens. A few swallowtails fluttered in the distance, and the air over the water was full of iridescent dragonflies. It's all good, even if the deer flies and mosquitoes were out and about in profusion.