Turtlehead Flowering White in the Woods

Autumn is here. The heat of summer is gone and there’s a chill on the breeze. Tree leaves are changing colors with some even falling to the ground already.

Taking a walk in the park we saw lots of asters and goldenrods in bloom this past week. The Touch-Me-Nots and Thoroughworts were still flowering but not for much longer.

Perennial Turtlehead Plant in Bloom
Perennial Turtlehead Plant in Bloom

Near the edge of the road and tucked behind a large purple-flowering aster was this late summer blooming plant I’ve never seen before. It had large flowers compared to the aster.

Each stem of the plant, or perhaps it was a small grouping of plants, was topped with a cluster of flower buds and the lowest of them open.

The flowers were white and some of them tinged with pink at the tips. Each blossom appeared to have only two large petals with the top petal arching over the lower one.

Turtlehead Flowers With Toothed Leaves
Turtlehead Flowers With Toothed Leaves

A sideways view shows how this plant apparently got its name, “Turtlehead”.

(Click on any image to see a larger view.)

Turtlehead, Chelone glabra, is a member of the Snapdragon Family, Scrophulariaceae, and native to the Eastern United States and Canada.

If the road crews aren’t too aggressive, we should be able to see this native plant next year as it’s a perennial.

The lance-shaped, toothed leaves are oppositely arranged on the stems. They must be quite tasty to insects judging by the number of leaves with holes and half-eaten ones.

The whole plant is smooth from the stems and leaves to the flowers; it rises 2-3 ft. tall.

We should be able to find more White Turtleheads growing in damp, moist areas of wetlands, near springs or seeps, and areas adjacent to rivers.

It can be a nice addition to gardens if kept watered well and grown in partial shade. Blooming period is late summer into fall.

Photos taken 19 September 2015 at Little Buffalo State Park, Newport, PA.

Flower Poetry Fridays: Spring Blossoms to the Mourner

Welcome back to Flower Poetry Fridays with Mrs. Sigourney. Each Friday a new poem will be posted from her The Voice Of Flowers.

SPRING BLOSSOMS TO THE
MOURNER.

THOU bringest violets in thy hand,
    Sweet Spring. Thy gifts how vain
To soothe us for those fair, blue eyes,
    That ope no more again.

Thou bringest music of the birds,
    As if such strain could pay
For their melodious speech, who sank
    From our lone bowers away.

Thou showerest breathing roses round,
    To blush on beauty’s breast ;
Give back ! give back those lips of rose,
    That to our own were prest.

Thou know’st to burst the tyrant gloom
    Of Winter’s icy urn ;
Teach them to break the envious tomb,
    And to our arms return.

Thou canst not ! To our grieving souls
    Thy boasted spell is o’er ;
From all thy gifts to those we turn,
    Whom thou canst ne’er restore.

To those o’er whom thy quicken’d turf,
    With earliest snow-drops grows ,
Yet fails to wake their wonted smile,
    Or move their deep repose.

Yes ; from thy charms to Him we turn,
    Who laid our treasures low,
And, with a Father’s love, ordains
    Our discipline of woe :

We look to that unsullied clime,
    Where storm shall never sweep ;
Nor fickle Spring the heart beguile,
    Nor drooping mourner weep.

Death has a way of bringing us to think about our own longevity. And to ponder the Great Beyond.

Spring is a time of awakening for the souls who remain on Earth. All the beauty that Nature has to offer may help us through the grieving process when we lose someone dear, but nothing can bring back our friends who’ve passed on to another life.

Mrs. Sigourney can only soothe her lonesome heart by looking upward to the heavens and by having faith that one day they will meet again.

Come back next Friday for the next installment in our series of flower poems from Mrs. Sigourney’s The Voice of Flowers, “The Hare-Bell”.

Bur Cucumber Is a Woodland Vine

A walk in the park took us through a section of trees that were left standing next to the river. The trail followed the river and at a clearing there was this flowering vine that held fast to a tree trunk.

Bur-Cucumber Vines Up A Tree
Bur-Cucumber Vines Up A Tree

This vine was growing in an area at the edge of woods where it received partial sunlight, morning sun for sure.

The vine snaked through the grass, scrambled over some weeds about knee-high, and then climbed up a tree for a few feet.

Curly tendrils helped the long plant fasten itself to vegetation as it grew.

Star-like Staminate Flowers of Bur-Cucumber
Star-like Staminate Flowers of Bur-Cucumber

(Photos taken 23 August 2015. Click on any image for a larger view.)

Several small white flowers were grouped together each with five broad petals that gave each blossom a star-like appearance.

Read moreBur Cucumber Is a Woodland Vine

Flower Poetry Fridays: The Travelled Flower

Welcome back to Flower Poetry Fridays with Mrs. Sigourney. Each Friday a new poem will be posted from her The Voice Of Flowers.

THE TRAVELLED FLOWER.

Daisy After the Rain
Daisy After the Rain

    A DAISY, which once grew on the banks of
the Thames, in England, had been transplant-
ed and brought to this country. It bore the
voyage well, and flourished in the garden
where it was placed.
    A Cowslip, its nearest neighbor, was very
kind, and if it ever looked sad, like a stranger,
cheered it, and spoke words of comfort. It
asked much of its adventures on the ocean,
and of its native land. So it told its friend the
Cowslip, whatever it desired to know.
    It described the ship sailing quietly over the
great waters, and its pleasant intercourse with
a pansy that bore it company. " We stood
side by side on a shelf, in the room of the per-
son, with whom we emigrated.
    "The Pansy was blessed with a large family
of fine children, and I had two promising in-
fants when I began the voyage. But they pin-
ed for the free air, and the fresh dews of the
valley where they were born.
    " I was ever watching and nursing them.
One night, we were alarmed by great confu-
sion and noise, and a chill that struck us to the
heart. We heard a cry of "icebergs" and
peeping through the window of our state room,
saw monstrous masses of cold glittering ice
floating around us.
    " Then I heard the Pansy whispering to her
little ones, not to be afraid to die. But I trem-
bled with terror. That very night my young-
est darling died. And had it not been for the
care of my other drooping babe, I think I should
have died too.
    " The next day, they said we were out of dan-
ger, and the keen wintry cold passed away.
And though we arrived safely, and I am happy in
my new home, I never can bear to think of the
voyage where my poor little one perished."
    The kind neighbor could not help shiver-
ing with sympathy at the tale of sorrow. " I
have heard people who walk in the garden, call
you the Daisy of Runnimede. What can they
mean by such a hard name ?" asked the Cow-
slip.
    " It is a delightful green vale in England,
where, in old times, a king signed a paper,
which gave the people freedom. For that rea-
son it is visited as a sort of sacred place.
    " My birth there, was all that gave me value
in the eyes of my owner, and procured me the
privilege of travelling to see distant lands."—
Many things the Daisy related, so that the
Cowslip, thus daily instructed, knew almost
as much of foreign countries as if it had been
there.
    A Dandelion lived near, but did not incline
to listen to these adventures. Indeed, she
ridiculed the way in which her neighbors
spent so much of their time, and said for her
part, she had something else to do.
    She thanked her stars she was not a blue,
—no ! not she ! nor a pedant neither. The
vanity of those travelled people was extremely
ridiculous, always talking about what they had
seen. She laughed loudly at the Cowslip, call-
ing her an antiquarian, and said she wondered
what good came from being such a deal wiser
than other people.
    A Sage-plant, who had cast off his blossoms,
and gone to seed, heard her flippancy of speech
and reproved her. He said, " knowledge is
good ; it teaches men how to be useful to each
other, and keeps women from too much gad-
ding abroad.
    " By knowledge, my own salubrious proper-
ties have been discovered, so that I am not
cut down like a common weed. Right
knowledge teaches both men and flowers not
to be slanderous, for it gives them higher and
better subjects of thought."
    So the Dandelion was silent before the Sage
and ceased to laugh at those who were wiser
than herself. For she had already perceived
that they had some kind of secret happiness,
and took comfort when other flowers were out
of spirits, on stormy days, and when no butter-
flies visited them.

Knowledge is good!

The emigrant daisy shares her knowledge of the world with her neighbors, so in a way she was teaching them about new lands and places that they had never witnessed.

To gain the power of knowledge all one has to do is listen, said the wise old sage. The sage plant offered, “By knowledge, my own salubrious properties have been discovered, so that I am not cut down like a common weed.”

The properties of sage that promote well-being and a healthy mind and body are said to be many, including desirable anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.

The silly dandelion scoffed at them who would share their stories thinking them loud and obnoxious show-offs. That is, until the sage put the yellow slanderous flower in her place. She simply didn’t know what she was talking about, yet complained just the same.

Knowledge gives us better and higher thoughts to think!

Come back next Friday for the next installment in our series of flower poems from Mrs. Sigourney’s The Voice of Flowers, “Spring Blossoms to the Mourner”.

Odd Orange or Yellow Flowers by the Roadside

Wild Impatiens Native to America

Orange and Yellow Touch-Me-Nots
Orange and Yellow Touch-Me-Nots

Along roads and in culverts, especially near a little shade, grow these strange-looking flowers that appear sort of like a trumpet with parted lips on one end and a curly tail on the opposite end.

Their red-spotted orange or yellow flowers invite bees of all kinds and would be excellent additions to gardens where tall plants are desired. Growing 3 to 5 feet tall, they often tip to the side with windy or rainy weather.

Note: If you’re gardening with these Native American Impatiens, you might want to use some type of garden stake to keep them held high.

The two plants are closely related species of Impatiens referred to as Jewelweeds or Touch-Me-Nots.

Flowers and Buds of Spotted Touch-Me-Not
Flowers and Buds of Spotted Touch-Me-Not

The orange-flowered Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis, is called Spotted Touch-Me-Not.

Flower Opening Up Near Buds of Pale Touch-Me-Not
Flower Opening Up Near Buds of Pale Touch-Me-Not

It’s yellow-flowering cousin, I. pallida, is called Pale Touch-Me-Not.

The plants are very similar except for the different flower colors and that the paler, yellow one has a shorter spur at the end of the tubular flower.

The Jewelweeds start flowering in July and may bloom to October.

Stand of Touch-Me-Nots Near the River
Stand of Touch-Me-Nots Near the River

A grouping of mostly the orange flowers had a few yellow flowers mixed in the bunch at Millerstown Park, which is adjacent to the Juniata River. They were in a partially shaded area growing under a small grouping of oak trees.

We usually see pure stands of one species or the other. This is the first time I’ve witnessed both kinds flowering side-by-side and I’m wondering if that isn’t typical. Anybody care to share their blooming observations on these odd flowers?

Flower Poetry Fridays: The Emigrant Daisy

Welcome back to Flower Poetry Fridays with Mrs. Sigourney. Each Friday a new poem will be posted from her The Voice Of Flowers.

THE EMIGRANT DAISY.

ONCE, from its home in England’s* soil,
    A daisy’s root I drew,
Amid whose moistened crown of leaves
    A healthful bud crept through,
And whispered in its infant ear
    That it should cross the sea,
A cherished emigrant, and share
    A western home with me.

Methought it shrank, at first, and paled ;
    But when on ocean’s tide
Strong waves and awful icebergs frowned.
    And manly courage died,
It calmly reared its crested head
    And smiled amid the storm,
As if old Magna Charta’s soul
    Inspired its fragile form.

So where within my garden plat,
    I sow the choicest seed,
Amid my favorite shrubs I placed
    The plant from Runnimede.
And know not why it may not draw
    Sweet nutriment, the same
As when within that noble clime
    From whence our fathers came.

Here’s liberty enough for all,
    If they but use it well,
And Magna Charta’s spirit lives
    In even the lowliest cell,
And the simplest daisy may unfold
    From scorn and danger freed,
So make yourself at home, my friend,
    My flower from Runnimede.

* This daisy was taken from the spot, often visited by trav-
ellers, where King John signed the Magna Charta in 1215.

So, I wonder how many daisies could be left at the spot where this one was plucked from? Well, as long as some roots remained it’s safe to say there could still be a daisy or two growing in England.

It makes me think of my Mom telling us to “leave some for the next guy” whenever we picked flowers or picked up rocks. Sure, it would make things easier for her not to carry all that stuff in her purse, but the words were meant to practice frugality. And sharing.

Taking the daisy to her new home across the seas sounds like something a lot of people would do. Indeed, many of the roadside weeds came to be in this country at the hands of emigrants hoping to establish their favorite garden plants in their new places.

Come back next Friday for the next installment in our series of flower poems from Mrs. Sigourney’s The Voice of Flowers, “The Travelled Flower”.

Chiffon Yellow Evening Primrose Blooms At Twilight

Flowers are all around us and we see them blooming in the daylight where ever we go.

Chiffon Yellow Common Evening Primrose Flower
Chiffon Yellow Common Evening Primrose Flower

Pollinators like bees, wasps, ants, butterflies and birds visit them helping our flowered friends make their seeds for sprouting of the next generation.

Most flowers are open during the day and pollinated by daytime visitors. Leave it to Mother Nature to throw a few exceptions to the rule.

Evening primrose is one of the exceptions as its flowers open up at twilight. Weird, right?

Four pale yellow petals are large and together form a cup-like flower during the day. At twilight the flowers are wide open. The petals have wide shallow notches so that they look a little like hearts.

If you watched one long enough in the morning, you’d be able to see the petals fold in toward the center of the flower as it closes up. Each blossom only lasts for one night.

They open up at twilight of the previous evening and must be pollinated by night-active critters in addition to the ones that stop by the pretty blooms in the early mornings.

Common Evening Primrose Blooms For Days
Common Evening Primrose Blooms For Days

Even though individual flowers last for only one day, the whole evening primrose plant may bloom for a couple of weeks, depending on age and size, from June through September.

Common Evening Primrose, Oenothera biennis, is one of those flowers that is beautiful singly or in pairs, as it likes to blossom in doubles.

The tip of each plant shows the promise of future flowering with a cluster of flower buds and it shows past flowering with seed pods developing where pollinated flowers dropped off.

Cluster of Flower Buds at Tip of Common Evening Primrose Rise Above Seedpods
Cluster of Flower Buds at Tip of Common Evening Primrose Rise Above Seedpods

(Click on any image to see a larger view.)

Note the last-blooming, faded flowers. Each has a long calyx, like a flower “stem”, the base of which will transform from the ovary into a seedpod.

Common Evening Primrose Seedpods
Common Evening Primrose Seedpods

The plants that were photographed here on August 23rd were first noted on August 2nd. Seed pods were present on the stems at that time meaning they had already bloomed for several days.

How To Know Common Evening Primrose

Weedy-Looking Common Evening Primrose
Weedy-Looking Common Evening Primrose

First of all, it has a rather weedy appearance. The times we usually see it the blossoms are fading away or curled up and falling off the plant.

Note: If you’re into gardening and enjoy the chiffon yellow blossoms, a better choice would be another primrose called Sundrops, O. fruticosa, which blooms during the day.

Secondly, the plant can range from 2 to 6 feet tall when it’s in bloom.

Other characteristics used to identify Common Evening Primrose are –

  • alternate, lance-shaped leaves
  • leaves slightly toothed or wavy-edged
  • yellow flowers 1-2 inches wide
  • broad petals with indentations at the tip
  • cross-shaped stigma
  • long calyx tube
  • seed pods 4 times longer than wide

The evening primrose can still be found blooming as it shows off the lemony yellow flowers from June through September.

Look for it in open, dry or sandy areas such as the edge of fields and along roadsides.

Flower Poetry Fridays: The Rose-Geranium, Companion of a Voyage

Welcome back to Flower Poetry Fridays with Mrs. Sigourney. Each Friday a new poem will be posted from her The Voice Of Flowers.

THE ROSE-GERANIUM.
COMPANION OF A VOYAGE.

Rose-Geranium Flowers
Rose-Geranium Flowers

HOLD up thy head, thou timid voyager !
    Vex’d by the storm-clouds, as they darkly
             roll,
And by the fiercely tossing waves, that stir
    Thy slender root, and try thy trembling soul.

Sad change from thy sweet garden, where the
             dew
    Each morning glisten’d in thy grateful eye,
And where no rougher guest thy bosom knew,
    Than quiet bee, or gadding butterfly.

It grieves me sore to see thy leaflets fade,
    Wearing the plague-spot of the ocean spray,
And know what trouble I for thee have made,
    Who bore thee from thy native haunt away ;
Though, in thy life, I seem to hold the chain
Of home and its delights, here on the pathless
             main.

Taking a flower on a voyage sounds like a lovely way to bring a little piece of home with you while traveling.

I liked the way the Mrs. Sigourney spoke about the trembling flower being afraid of being out of her element.

Rocking and rolling on the high seas and feeling the ocean’s spray might be a welcome delight for many of us, but think about it for a flower, as if it had a mind and soul. Wouldn’t it be so scary to somebody who has roots that held them fast to the ground?

Her selection of a Rose-Geranium, Pelargonium graveolens, was a wonderful choice of companion. Its strong rose scent would enliven any state room and serve to be a reminder of home.

Come back next Friday for the next installment in our series of flower poems from Mrs. Sigourney’s The Voice of Flowers, “The Emigrant Daisy”.