Thursday, July 17, 2014

IN THE PINK - Maybe a bit of green and white, too

Late Spring & Into Summer Pink Flowers - Some Fruiting Mosses and Indian Pipes

Nature Paints With Pink


Red Clover Flower

Note - You can copy and paste the links I've posted into your browser to learn more about the plants.

If you stop to look, you'll see that Nature doesn't have just one or two shades of any color; there are hundreds, maybe thousands.  This is a post to highlight a few of those pink shades we see in the late spring and into summer.  There is a section on fruiting mosses (which are definitely not pink), and some pictures of Indian Pipes - white, fungus-looking wildflowers - that bloom in July and August in our area.

I've given up trying to make the pages perfect because this program has a mind of it's own and I don't understand it:>)  That's not whining, it's surrender!  Please just ignore the little oddities and enjoy the pictures.

Lunaria, or Money Plant, is a late springtime bloomer in our yard.  Most flowers are white but a few are this lovely pink.  The dried seed pods are much desired for decoration and dried bouquets.

The Deptford Pinks begin blooming here in late June.  they are a low and lanky plant, growing to about 18 inches tall, sometimes more. 

Another common name for these little beauties is Mountain Pink
There are something like 250 species in this family of flowers, but bindweed is the most common name I know.  They like full sun, are a vine, and will tangle themselves around anything that offers support.  Gardeners and farmers alike curse the plant and consider it a terrible pest.  It is lovely (most of the plants flower in white but many are pink) but pernicious - never quits!  They bloom from late spring into fall. This was growing amongst thistles in a field.
Joe Pye Weed is getting more and more scarce as years go by.  Where once there were huge areas filled with it, now there are houses, roads, or they've been mowed down.  This is sad because the plant offers butterflies, moths, bees, wasps, and other insects a meal, a place to hunt, and hiding places.  It's a big plant growing up to 7 feet tall, blooms summer into fall, and needs reliably moist soil.  I can tell you it grows very well in full sun to light shade.  This is a GORGEOUS plant and would be beautiful in a landscaping scheme.  It's relatively problem free, blooms like crazy, and doesn't need attention.  I've seen white flowers as well as this pretty mauve/pink.  Consider it as a wonderful addition to your garden:>)
This and the next few pictures are not flowers and are not pink (Did you guess that already?) but are some of my favorite things:>)  These are the fruiting bodies of various mosses.  Instead of seeds, mosses produce spores.  When the spores are mature they are released on the breezes to spread the moss.  I LOVE the many shapes and colors of these fruiting bodies and have wayyyyyy too many pictures of them - LOL>

Here is a quote from the site given below. 

What is a moss?

A moss is a class (Musci) of plants without flowers or roots. Moss usually grows as low, dense, carpet-like masses on tree trunks, rocks, or moist ground.
Language of Flowers: Moss means "maternal love".

Small but mighty! The fruiting bodies of moss are the capsules where the spores are grown. They can look like globs or cylinders, and are generally held above the carpet of moss on long, delicate stalks. Beautiful shapes and colors!

Roses are another wildflower that grows profusely and not only beautifies the landscape but fills the air with perfume.  Again, there are many kinds and not all are beloved.  Although I like the wild, multiflora rose, for example, many people fight to get rid of it.  It is an introduced and invasive plant, but it has that other, wonderful side.  Blooming is barely more than a couple weeks long, but those weeks are awesome - white flowers everywhere and the air is heavenly.  Each bit of wind carries the scent throughout the area.  Because the flowers are white, this particular rose is not shown.

The roses here are field roses of various sorts.  There are white ones, too, and roses that thrive at the shore in all the salt spray and sand.  Roses are tough cookies and can survive tough conditions!

The Wild Geranium is such a pretty wildflower!  May/June is blooming time in Green Lane and I look forward to having them brighten our yard every year.  When growing in a colony they are impressive - all those delicate, pink flowers on the dark green foliage.  They are about 1-1/2 feet high and can easily be grown in a wildflower garden with rich, reliably moist soil.  We live in the woods so ours are in partial shade and like it fine.  I've also seen them in full sun just loving life.  For more info you can visit here:

Wild Geranium, Crane Flower
In May/June we have the blooming explosion of Wild Phlox.  In a good year there are wide swaths of these stunning plants flowering their white, purple, and pink hearts out.  I collected ripe seed pods in September and met with a small amount of planting success, and transplanting hasn't been great either so now I enjoy them where they grow.  Maybe I'll buy seeds some day.  They don't seem to like full sun and ours like to grow near creeks, pondside, and in ditches.  They do grow away from water, too, but aren't as lush.  You can get information on these lovely plants here:

Indian Pipes are actually blooming wildflowers, not fungi as many assume from their appearance.  A second common name for them is Corpse Plant because they rapidly turn black when touched.  These are unusual wildflowers as they get their nutrition from fungi that have a symbiotic (mostly mutually beneficial) relationship with plants - mainly trees, I believe.  They are white because there is no chlorophyll-making ability in these plants.  How lovely to find these delicate flowers growing in the woods.  Sun is not their friend so search for them in shaded, moist areas.  There is a more scarce version that is pinkish.  Some of ours have a slightly pink tint but not as strong as other images I've seen.

All white version

Pink tinted version
More pink

Seed heads of the Indian Pipe plants

 Venus Looking Glass

These lovely members of the Bellflower family grow wild in dry, sunny places.  They are leggy, being slender and about a foot tall, and have these pretty, purple flowers that open rising up the stalk as the older flowers below die off.  They enjoy poor soil like old railroad tracks or overgrown fields, but must have plenty of sun to thrive.

They bloom, in our area, June and July, and this picture was taken July 4, 2013, in Green Lane, Pennsylvania, USA. 

For more information you can read a lovely little write up here:
Venus Looking Glass
The majority of the Queen Anne's Lace hereabouts are white with a red center.  I'm including this picture to show the pink on the outermost buds.  I love these flowers, especially when they bloom in concert with the blue chicory (cornflower).  This plant is an introduced, very successful wildflower that is considered a noxious weed by some folks.  The plant can grow tall, up to3 feet, and loves full sun and waste areas.  It blooms in the second year of growth (biennial) and is in flower all summer long.  What more can you ask of a plant but to have it grow where nothing much else thrives and to be beautiful as well.  It does resemble the dangerously poisonous Water Hemlock (suggested this is what killed Socrates) so look for the red dot in the middle of the flower head to be sure you aren't messing with a deadly - YES, DEADLY! - plant.

Here is a site for information on the Water Hemlock - always be well-armed with knowledge:>)  There is nothing to fear if you know about the plant/mushroom.bug/animal and deal with it with respect.

Queen Anne's Lace
There are a few types of Ironweed.  I'm giving this the ID of "New York, Ironweed" because it has the fuzzy looking flowers and is really, really tall:>).  This specimen is growing in a field in Green Lane, Pa, USA, and the picture was taken September 3, 2011.

Ironweed attracts a large number of insects, especially butterflies, bees, and wasps.  It is handsome (as you see), and although it reminds me of a thistle it is actually a member of the aster family.  The name Ironweed comes from the persistence of the stems through the winter.  It is a perennial - a strong, tall plant that likes moist fields and meadows with lots of sunshine.

For more information go to:

Purple Loostrife is gorgeous but terribly invasive.  It was introduced and now is taking over.  This quote is taken from the Wikipedia write up linked below:  "The purple loosestrife has been introduced into temperate New Zealand and North America where it is now widely naturalized and officially listed in some controlling agents. Infestations result in dramatic disruption in water flow in rivers and canals, and a sharp decline in biological diversity as native food and cover plant species, notably cattails, are completely crowded out, and the life cycles of organisms from waterfowl to amphibians to algae are affected. A single plant may produce up to 2.7 million tiny seeds annually. [10] Easily carried by wind and water, the seeds germinate in moist soils after overwintering. The plant can also sprout anew from pieces of root left in the soil or water. Once established, loosestrife stands are difficult and costly to remove by mechanical and chemical means.
Plants marketed under the name "European wand loosestrife" (L. virgatum) are the same species despite the different name. In some cases the plants sold are sterile, which is preferable.
In North America, purple loosestrife may be distinguished from similar native plants (e.g. fireweed Epilobium angustifolium, blue vervain Verbena hastata, Liatris Liatris spp., and spiraea (Spiraea douglasii) by its angular stalks which are square in outline, as well by its leaves, which are in pairs that alternate at right angle and are not serrated.

There are so many kinds of thistle plants that I'm rather at a loss on this exact ID.  Some thistles have malicious thorns, others have no thorns.  Some are invasive and not welcomed in places while others beautiful our landscape in a lovely display of pink/purple flowers.  they have seed that are like the dandelion seeds - fluffy and designed to travel on the breezes.
Thistle - I can only give you the generic name - sorry.

It's summer and I find myself woefully short on time to do anything - sound familiar?  Blog posts will be catch-as-catch-can until fall, perhaps, but I'm going to try to have new posts fairly often, just not on a schedule.

If you read the blog and haven't signed up, sign up is an easy way to be notified when a new post is published.  It is invisible to me who signs up.  To help you I've made 3 screen shots of the email sign up process. (I did it just so I'd know what happens and could show you what to expect.)

On any blog page - upper right side above the listing of popular posts you'll see this:

Enter your email address and press "SUBMIT".

The next screen looks like this:

Enter the squiggly, annoying secret code and press "COMPLETE SUBSCRIPTION REQUEST".

You will get the final screen which looks like this:

Close the window.  When your email requesting verification that you really want to be signed up arrives in your in box, it will look like this (the highlighting is mine, not theirs):

Hello there,

You recently requested an email subscription to Nature's Wonders. We can't wait to send the updates you want via email, so please click the following link to activate your subscription immediately:

(If the link above does not appear clickable or does not open a browser window when you click it, copy it and paste it into your web browser's Location bar.)

As soon as your subscription is active, FeedBurner will send a daily email message if Nature's Wonders has new content.

If you did not request this subscription, or no longer wish to activate it, take no action. Simply delete this message and that will be the end of it.


Nature's Wonders

This message was sent to you by FeedBurner (
You received this message because you requested a subscription to the feed, Nature's Wonders.
If you received this in error, please disregard.  Do not reply directly to this email.

Click on the enclosed link and you're done:>)  It tells you that if new content is published they will notify you via email.  No new content, no email, no bother.

Okay - I'm off to the shower and then the grocery store.  I'm so pleased you're here reading this blog:>)

Thank you - see you soon!