Late Summer Wildflowers 2019

I have to confess that in my younger years, I’ve overlooked the beauty of wildflowers. I could drive by wildflowers in a field or a meadow or even just alongside the road and not have an appreciation for their unique shapes, colors, and usefulness in the habitat. It wasn’t until I slowed down and got to know each flower as an individual creation that my appreciation grew to what I feel today. The thrill of identifying a new plant keeps me going out to look for more each time I’m out on the trail, visiting a new place, or even just in my own yard.

Take for instance this newly identified plant.

strawberry blite wildflower

This beauty is growing right in my own front yard, very near to my birdfeeder. I spotted it when I was filling the feeder and the bright red fruit caught my eye. The questions started coming. What is it? Where did it come from? Is it a native plant? I pulled out my phone and opened my Oregon Wildflowers app. It took just a few clicks to find out the answers to my questions. It’s called Strawberry blite or Goosefoot Strawberry and it’s a native plant. Since I found this one plant, I have since scouted out a few more in my yard. I had to show my husband so he won’t weed them out when he’s in a cleaning up sort of mood.

larkspur todd lake august 2019

On a recent hike along one section of trail, we found a whole patch of larkspur! Purple is my favorite color and when I saw all of those gorgeous purple larkspur I was super excited. In the past, I’ve seen a few scattered plants of larkspur but this whole area dotted with them just made my heart happy. It’s a moment I will not forget! (Outdoor Hour Challenge for Larkspur)

devils lake august 2019

Devil’s Lake

Sidenote: My husband is so patient with me and will indulge me the few minutes I need to capture a wildflower with my iPhone camera. He says he loves seeing me get excited about things so it’s a pleasure for him as well.fireweed devils lake august 2019

Another hike where we enjoyed the late summer wildflowers yielded a grand view of some fireweed. It was across the lake and not where we could get a good photo. There was however a few individual fireweed plants on our side along the trail that attracted my attention because they were so tall. I’ve written an Outdoor Hour Challenge for fireweed (Wildflower Set #3) where the research said they can be 7 feet tall but until this hike I had never encountered any that even came close to that. I would say these fireweed plants were about 5 feet tall.

wildflower collage august 2019

As the summer season comes to a close here in Central Oregon, I’m still keeping track of the wildflowers we see and identify. There are so many that have become familiar sights that I could easily overlook. I have to remind myself to slow down and look appreciatively to remind myself of their many amazing attributes, to see how the insects interact with them, and to be grateful for the variety so close to home.

In my life, noticing the wildflowers that are around me has brought me such happiness. They are a source of awe and I love learning how they host insects and feed birds and provide food for much of the wildlife around me. There is a tapestry of color in the goldenrod, yarrow, monkeyflower, paintbrush, rabbitbrush, and pussy paws. There is a diversity of shapes, sizes, and mechanisms for seed dispersal….nothing common or ordinary about any of them once you learn their stories.

Soon the flowers will all have faded and the seeds will be sleeping until the conditions are right to begin the growing cycle all over again, bringing a thrill to my outdoor life and a smile to my face.

 

Have you taken a late summer wildflower hike?

 

Outdoor Hour Challenge Garden Wildflower and Weeds Index @handbookofnaturestudy

There are many wildflowers in the Outdoor Hour Challenge archives for you to use in nature study. You can find them under the Garden/Wildflowers tab at the top of my website.

 

 

 

 

 

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