Not a green and yellow basket, as the children’s nursery rhyme would have it, but a green and purple American basketflower (Centaurea americana).
Sometimes standing as much as five or six feet tall, it spreads along ditches in great colonies, appears as a single plant at the edge of parking lots, or scatters across fields. Its color varies from pink, to purple, to creamy white, but always there is the “basket” — the stiff, straw-colored bracts just beneath the flower head that look for all the world like a woven basket and provide its common name.
After weeks of fearing one of my favorite flowers would be in short supply in our area, it suddenly swept across the landscape in great waves. From every angle, at every stage, it’s a delight to photograph, with or without the insects that seem to enjoy it as much as I do.