Thursday, July 23, 2009

At the Mill Mountain Wildflower Garden again...

Yep. I just cannot stay away from this place. The Mill Mountain Wildflower Garden is one of the most underrated tourist destinations in the Roanoke area. This place is a wonder just about all year long, and you can come up every couple of weeks and it seems to change with each visit. If you have not walked through this wonderland of wildflowers, you should do so soon. I find my troubles seem to melt away when I walk through and visit. Try it sometime, and see some of the flowers I have photographed below.

This wildflower is Joe-Pye Weed, (Eupatorium purpureum).

This wildflower is known as Blazing Star, or Snakeroot, (Liatris spicata).

This wildflower is a Thread-Leaved Coreopsis, (Coreopsis verticillata).

This flower is Bouncing Bet, or Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) The roots, when soaked in water, provided a soapy alternative used by pioneers to wash silks and woolens.

This wildflower is a Purple Coneflower, (Echinacea purpurea).

This wildflower is a Blackberry Lily, (Belamcanda chinensis).

This flower is known as Heal-All or Self-Heal (Prunella vulgaris).
It is a member of the Mint family.

This wildflower is known as Tall Hawkweed, (Hieracium piloselloides). This plant is much less common than its smaller cousin, Mouse-Eared Hawkweed.

This wildflower is a Golden Star, (Chrysogonum virginianum).

This wildflower is also a Golden Star, but with a slightly different petal variation.
(Chrysogonum virginianum).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer Wildflowers on the Blue Ridge Parkway

I have been spending a bit of free time photographing the summer wildflowers on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The shows are sometimes sparse, but occasionally full and dramatic. Here are some images, and there descriptions, if I have them.

This flower is a Wild Morning Glory, (Ipomoea purpurea). You can see the reddish vine wrapped around the stem of another plant.

This wildflower is a Lance-leaved Coreopsis, (Coreopsis lanceolata).

This wildflower is known as Wild Basil (Clinopodium vulgare).

This wildflower is known as Yarrow, or Milfoil (Achillea millefolium).

This wildflower is Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). These are stunning blooms when observed close up.

These flowers are a young group of Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus).

This odd shaped wildflower is known as Everlasting Pea (Lathyrus latifolius).

This flower is Alpine Pink (Dianthus alpinus).

This flower is also a member of the Dianthus family, but I do not know what species.

This is Yellow Wood Sorrel (Oxalis stricta). It has clover-like leaves that aid in identification.

This wildflower is Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carota). It is also known as Wild Carrot.

This wildflower is Tall Meadow Rue (Thalictrum pubescens). This wildflower has no petals. It is made up of stamens. It is popular with bees and butterflies.

This flower is Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus). They are rather easy to find on the Blue Ridge Parkway right now.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Long Quest for a Lily

Hello friends. I apologize for the time span between posts, but I have been busy shooting and dealing with other needs. However, on this occasion, I must post a few pics, plus some history.

About 25 years ago, while I was working as a VIP for the Blue Ridge Parkway, I was told of a rare lily that was found in Virginia along the parkway. It is called a Gray's Lily (Lilium grayi). This rare lily is seldom seen outside of an area in the high mountain balds and pastures in North Carolina. It is found on occasion in other areas, but not very far from these high balds. This sighting was quite a bit north on the normal range for this wildflower. I went to where it was sighted, but could not find it. I decided that day, 25 years or so ago, that I would find the Gray's Lily in Virginia. I have been looking since, some times more intensely than others.

The other night, I received a call from a friend. He informed me that he had found what he thought was a Gray's Lily along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. He was not positive that it was a Gray's Lily, and asked if I could check it out and photograph it. I set out the next morning, and found it right where he said it would be. Sure enough, there it stood. Not one, but two (as best I could tell) Gray's Lily plants. The blooms where already starting to wither away, but I had waited 25 years to see this wildflower in Virginia, so I photographed it anyway. Even past its prime, it was a beautiful site. This endangered wildflower was right in front of me and my camera. It was a marked end to a long quest. Hopefully, it will return next year, and maybe spawn a few more plants. This beautiful flower is one that everyone should see.

I will not reveal the location of this wildflower to protect it.

Here it is. The Gray's Lily (Lilium grayi). It is past its bloom prime, but it is still beautiful to me.

The Gray's Lily (Lilium grayi), with a darker background.