Welcome to my new series.
Each week I will explore a positive change brought on by today’s faltering economy – enjoy my first installment!
Meadows born from economizing and green policies - not mowing.
Throughout Michigan, the state and local governments have tightened their budgets by not mowing along roadsides and at some state and local parks. The result is a lovely, every changing landscape of radiant wildflowers and grasses, bringing a natural rainbow of color to our lives. The following are some that are currently blooming in mid and lower Michigan.
Familiar favorites –
Day Lily Hemerocallis Fulva L. Bright yellowish-orange, the petals have prominent darker colored streaks (veins) and turn to a yellow color at their base. Rarely is there more than one blossom open at one time and this lasts for just a day. The flower stalk is leafless. Blooming; Now – Aug.
Black-eyed Susan or Coneflower Rudbeckia hirta L. Large conspicuous flowers with yellow to yellow-orange “petals” that are often darker color near their base. Central disk is brown, sometimes purplish, rarely yellow, and is domed. Leaves are longer than they are broad, very hairy, erect, and stout. Blooming; Now – Sept.
Joe-Pye Weed or Spotted Joe-Pye Weed. Eupatorium maculatum L. Found in bogs, swales, and on stream banks. Flower has flat topped clusters of pink to purple flowers with 8 – 20 or more individual blossoms in each flower head. Leaves are in whorls of 4-5, long, narrow, pointed at both ends, prominently veined, and with saw-tooth margins. Stem is usually blotched with purplish areas. Blooming; Now – mid. Sept.
Common St. John’s-Wort. Hypericum perforatum, L. Found in meadows, the flowers are yellow, numerous, about 1 in. across, 5 petals, and many prominent busy stamens for the center. Many black dots occur along the margins of the petals (a hand lens is useful to see these). The leaves are in pairs and opposite each other, stalk-less and toothless. Tiny, translucent dots on leaves may be seen by holding a leaf up to the light. Blooming; now – Aug.
The result is a beautiful array of wildflowers native to Michigan, popping up around the state. Many potters speak of how the natural world or nature has inspired their work, but then limit themselves to earth tones. The brilliant but subtle colors of wildflowers are the natural world’s jewels and they are what inspire the colors for my pots!
Next installment; more obscure wildflowers and other benefits of the down economy!