Sunday, June 24, 2007

Roadside Wildflowers

And so I was on the road once more. Of course, being a long trip, I do like to break things up by stopping to stretch my legs and attend to other things now and again.

This time of year, during these most glorious golden days, there are flowers in bloom everywhere...and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tempted to stop and enjoy them all, as my celebration of the Summer Solstice continues!

If I'm to follow my own advice about enjoying the flowers along my path, you know I'm going to have to break up the trip by stopping to enjoy some of these fantastic ornaments that adorn the earth in June.

So here are some of my favorite wildflowers, like this feverfew, only just coming into bloom.

I'm not certain, as it's been a number of years since I've grown any, but this may be catchfly.

I'll have plenty of rudbeckia blooming in my gardens back home soon enough, but meanwhile, here's some more.

But I don't have any of this lovely crown vetch, which was growing in great spreading patches here.

Progress was made, however, and the next time I stopped was in the Berkshires, at a truck rest area I'm fond of because of its close proximity to the railroad tracks.

I found this viney beauty (is it morning glory, moonflower, or just bindweed?) twining its way through some tall reeds alongside the tracks.

And these brilliant yellow fellows, I assume, are some wild form of snapdragon. I've not had the chance to consult my wildflower book, but the flower heads are so similar, there must be a relation of some sort.

Do you remember what I said the other day about daisies? The world just can't have too many.

Of course, the Midnight Gardener has a reason for stopping at trackside, as I always like to collect a few of the old, discarded railroad spikes, which crews seem to leave lying in the ballast after replacing the old with new.

If you've got a hydrangea which you'd like to see bluer flowers on, or have some rhododendrons which seem to be languishing for their placement close to your home's foundation (concrete leaches minerals away from soil over time), a few railroad spikes driven into the soil around them will add a long-term source of iron to your soil, encouraging bluer blossoms on one, and general good health for the other. Just a little tip to share.

Of course, I don't technically condone trespassing on railroad right-of-ways, since it isn't especially legal. And I do absolutely urge you to exercise good caution (Stop. Look. Listen) when you're anywhere near the tracks.

And sometimes, if you follow all the rules, in addition to lovely trackside flowers, you might just see a train, as I did when this CSX freight train came rumbling by.

I believe that some of the problems railroads face in our 21st Century society are matters of image. If only they would bring the caboose back, it would be a good step in the right direction. I miss them, and the rear end of freight trains just look naked without them.

Later on, as I made my final approach to the Cape, I reached my camera hand out the window, pointed behind me, and captured the fading light of another summer sunset.

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