44 thoughts on “Prairie Afternoon

    1. I was surprised to see them so late in the season, but I’m sure our rains helped them to regenerate after the droughty summer. The grasses in this swale appealed to me as much as the flowers. In the midst of some less attractive mud flats, the unusual yellow-green color was exceptionally lovely.

        1. I’m fairly certain the grass was cordgrass. Despite the apparent waviness, it was quite stiff and smooth, and sharp enough on the ends to go right through jeans or draw blood from unprotected skin: attention-getting, for sure.

  1. Definitely a falls look, Linda. One of the interesting things about my backpack trip this summer was watching flowers go through their annual phases from sprouting, to flowering, to seeding, to becoming ‘dried arrangements.’ –Curt

    1. I know I shouldn’t be laughing the way I am, Curt, but as soon as I read your comment, I thought, “Well, yes. And as for flowers, so for hikers. You, too, went through all the phases on your little adventure — including becoming a slightly dried ‘arrangement’ in the face of water shortages!”

      I often enjoy the seed heads and fluff of aging plants as much as I enjoy the flowers. When I think of all the insects that depend on the flowers, and the creatures that depend on the seeds for food and the desiccated plants for shelter, it’s just amazing.

      1. There were some times. Unlike the flowers, however, I could always move on to the next watering hole. I won’t exactly claim budding or early blooming status however. Let’s just say I am a mature flower, but not yet seedy. :)
        It’s always fun to check out what the wildlife is eating and utilizing for other purposes. Also, I’ll be posting a few dried ‘floral arrangements’ I saw this summer— easily as beautiful as the flowers in full bloom. –Curt

  2. Very nice haiku and photo, too. I’m glad you included some spent blooms, kind of reinforces the idea of summer waning. “Winsome” is a nice old-fashioned kind of word, and it struck me, I haven’t heard it for a long time, but when I looked it up on Merriam-Webster’s site, it’s in the top forty percent for usage, kind of a surprise. I guess it’s not likely to crop up when you’re mostly reading history and politics.
    “Windblown winsomeness” is a nice turn of phrase.

    1. Many of our flowering plants live a both/and kind of life this time of year. Even as they begin the process of developing seed, they’ll continue to put out new blooms. Steve S.’s recent photos of goldenrod showed that pattern, and several other plants I saw on the day I photographed the bluebells were combinations of fuzzy seeds and brand new buds.

      ‘Winsome’ is a great word, and one I rarely encounter. For such an appealing scene, I thought it worked well, but you’re right that it doesn’t turn up in most writing about politics or history. I suspect that’s why many find children so appealing; they can exhibit the winsomeness that’s less and less common today.

    1. Aren’t words wonderful? They certainly can pick us up and take us to unexpected places. I thought the haiku form fit perfectly with the image: sometimes, less is more.

    1. Nature’s such a dependable source of inspiration: earth, sky, water, and wind alike. Do you suppose she’s chuffed when she surveys what she’s produced? I think it would be a completely reasonable response (and I do love that you used a form of that word).

    1. Isn’t it a great combination? I’m fairly certain the grass is smooth cordgrass. It’s much stiffer than it might appear in the photo, and if you run into the pointed ends, you’ll feel it. This was about a 40′-50′ wide swale that had some standing water in it: perfect conditions for the flowers and the grass.

    1. I’ve never seen as many bluebells as I did this year. For nearly a month, they were thick at the Brazoria refuge and then, just when I thought they had finished for the year, they staged a bit of a comeback. Even some of the white ones popped up again, and I hope that colony will be there next year, too.

    1. I’ve read that bluebells often were overpicked, and that the inability to reseed helped to bring their demise in some areas of the state. Around here, on Galveston Island and in the refuges, that’s not a problem, and this year’s colonies were splendid. I have trouble getting photos of them en masse — for one thing, they’re not quite a thick up close as they appear from a distance. But they are beautiful, and even a smaller bouquet of them makes for a fine photo.

      Seeds are available commercially. If I’d known you wanted some, I could have gathered all you needed this year from plants like this.

          1. OH why, that is incredible. I have seen small colonies of bluebells, blooming in a ditch. They were evidently safe from pickers because I have seen the same colony blooming for several years. I have no reason to drive in that area anymore but, I am hoping that they have continued to blossom in all of their bluebell glory. Thanks for the direction to the site.

            1. One more tidbit: I learned that bluebells are a plant with some natural resistance to the herbicide Roundup. The common sunflower’s another — that’s why they can proliferate even in areas that might be affected by overspray, or still pop up in agricultural fields that have been treated.

            2. Linda, you are a walking/writiting/typing wealth of good information, I had no idea that bluebells and sunflowers are immune to the effects of Roundup. Good for these two plants. Speaking of sunflowers,the dove population had dwindled in m general area. My son and I were talking about it today. He thinks the white wings were so prevalent that it caused the morning and Inca doves to move on to greener pastures and a better food supply. Actually there are not that many white wing doves- at least not in my area.

            3. Just a note — that ‘natural resistance’ to Roundup isn’t equivalent to immunity. I’m still trying to find that article I read, for the specific details. But I certainly wouldn’t use any herbicide around bluebells if I’d managed a patch of them!

            4. Yes, my mistake. I was trying to take a short cut and it came across not sounding correct. Thanks for the correction. I really understood what you wrote. Immunity and natural resistance is not an equivalent in meaning.

            5. I knew that you understood — I just wanted to be sure that anyone who wandered through without having the background you have wouldn’t make some wrong assumptions!

  3. I think the hard-fighting, wind-damaged stragglers are the most dramatic, the most beautiful blooms of the year because, as they are so starkly present on the landscape, we truly see them in all their glory. One last dance, last chance for romance before winter’s final, brutal curtain.

    1. One of the advantages of living in the south is that winter’s curtain doesn’t come down quite so brutally. I’m trying to remember a time when I couldn’t photograph at least some flower, and I can’t.

      As a matter of fact, look at this little gem. I photographed it last January, just after our most extended freeze of the winter. I have no idea what it is, even after bouts of occasional searching through books and websites. I need to send it to the botanist at the refuge where I found it. I’m going to start looking along the road where it was located to see if it reappears so I can get better photos of the leaves and such.

  4. Summer subsiding. Perfect words. Unfortunately for us, it has long subsided and I’m beginning to think fall is on its way out too (maybe just this week’s rain and gloom and cold. Holding my breath for a reprieve!). A lovely image, Linda.

    1. I have a feeling you’re not going to enjoy the time change that just came along with the swing into November — shorter days and colder temperatures certainly do foretell winter. Do you still have some autumn color there? You may have missed out because of your travels — but that’s a trade I’d willingly make.

    1. Some winds are winsome — perhaps we should call them ‘windsome.’ In any event, watching rippling grasses and bending flowers is one of the nicest experiences in the world: although I do have some sympathy for the butterflies and bees trying to land for a meal.

    1. I’ll have to thank my camera for the aperture setting. The wind was howling that day, so I tried using different shutter speeds to stop the flowers’ movement. Here, I used 1/640, and the aperture ended up as f/5.6. That gave just enough extra crispness to the grasses in the foreground to add some interest.

    1. It is quite a contrast to the brown and crackly that’s going to come soon enough. We’ll not freeze this coming week, but not so very far away it may dip below freezing. It is mid-November, so we shouldn’t be surprised — but I am, and I’m not quite ready to let go of summer and fall yet.

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