WALK WITH ME

Through fields, down old railroad tracks and along the edges, where June makes and keeps a million promises.

 

1.

 

Bees, wasps, ladybugs – insects are busy everywhere.

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Grasses are laden with flowers that few people see, but look closely – there’s another world there. Above us, the Cottonwood trees have gone to seed, launching a heavenly mist of cottonwood snow that collects in everywhere nook and cranny.

4.

 

 

The late afternoon sun shines on foxglove flower spikes, and makes shadow play from the stamens and pistils inside each flower – amazing!  Horsetails have grown as tall as we are and these primitive plants are radiant in the bright light of a late spring day.

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On days like this, it seems the weather changes as often as the road curves.

 

8.

 

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10.

Animal life is everywhere – rabbits bound into the bushes, mother ducks herd their ducklings (fewer every day, as the eagles take their share), young, curious deer wander about, turtles bask in the sun, and look, there’s even a river otter – or is it a beaver? –  munching on marsh plants.  Speaking of beavers, that lodge is getting bigger again.

 

 

12.

 

13.

 

 

14.

 

Wildflowers are blooming and going to seed faster than we can track. Sheer heaven it is, sheer heaven!

 

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16.

 

17.

 

18.

 

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20.

The Photos:

  1. Moth mullein (Verbascum blattaria) flowers grow tall and straight along the railroad tracks in Woodinville, Washington.
  2. This close-up may be a little out of focus, but it captures the spirit as a fat bumblebee heads towards another drink at the foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) fountain.
  3. a.) A wasp (?) on a daisy   b.) Two Pacific forktail (Ischnura cervula) damselflies on Himalayan blackberry.. The Pacific forktail is a common, widespread species here, found from early March through November. The Himalayan blackberry was brought here for fruit years ago and isn’t from the Himalaya, it’s from Armenia and northern Iran – and now it’s a ubiquitous, difficult to control weed in the Pacific northwest.  c.) Here’s some “foam” from Spittlebugs, probably the Meadow spittlebug, which overwinters as eggs that hatch into nymphs the spring. Nymphs exude the foam to protect them from predators while they feed. In most cases, not too much damage is done to the plants.  d.) Nothing like a ladybug to brighten the day! This one’s an Asian multicolored ladybeetle (Harmonia axyridis), yet another introduction, brought over to control aphids. So far these little guys have not become invasive, as far as I know.
  4. An unidentified grass in full flower. If you get a chance to peer closely at a blooming grass, do it and you may be amazed!
  5. a.) Cottonwood seeds have fallen onto a fern frond. Female Cottonwood trees bear the seed catkins. An individual seed, little more than a ball of fluff with a tiny dark center, can travel for miles. I’ve watched young ducklings nibble them off the water’s surface, too.  b.) Cottonwood fluff collects in the grass on a city street.
  6. Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) is another common plant here that isn’t native. The beautiful flowers are from Europe. but have naturalized here and are often seen along roadsides and railroad tracks.
  7. Field horsetails (Equisetum arvense) can be noxious weeds, but their radial symmetry is quite beautiful, and en masse they make pleasing patterns for the photographer – not the gardener though! They are found all over the Northern Hemisphere and have been put to many uses, from polishing tool to medicine and food.
  8. On the road in the Snoqualmie Valley, an agricultural area just east of Seattle.
  9. Look up!
  10. A well-tended horse farm – excuse me, private dressage facility – in the Snoqualmie Valley.  Called River Run Ranch, it was on the market for $9.9 million a few years ago. The view here includes snow-capped peaks and rounded blue foothills of the Central Cascade Range, and it’s only about 20 miles from Seattle.
  11. a.) Two young deer, a doe and a buck, are curious about me, but at the last minute they decide to circle around, leaving about twelve feet between us.  b.) River otter or beaver – I’m not sure which. Both live in Lake Washington, where this poor photo was taken by an over-exited person – me.  c.) A prosperous looking beaver lodge in the Sammamish River at Marymoor Park.
  12. There she is, sweet thing, keeping a wary eye out. Heading towards the winery.
  13. A Great Blue heron watches for morsels at a shallow bay of Lake Washington.
  14. Nymphaea odorata, the American pond lily, will soon send up flower stems, but I think the leaves are beautiful too. What a striking composition they make with the tall, slender stems of cattails.
  15. The pretty little Herb-Robert (Geranium robertianum) is a common sight around here. Apparently this flower is native to Europe AND North America, at least eastern North America. Taken with the Takumar 50mm lens (see #20).
  16. This fun plant is called Manroot (Marah oreganus). It’s a sprawling, fast-growing, large-leaved wild vine that often bears delicate white flowers and these “cucumbers” (which are not edible) at the same time. A native plant, it has been pout to many medicinal uses.
  17. The California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) needs no introduction to west coast gardeners. The California state flower, this drought-tolerant poppy isn’t what you would expect to see in the rain-soaked Pacific northwest, but we are dry all summer, so the poppy manages pretty well.  Taken using an Olympus 60mm f2.8 macro lens.
  18. This lovely wild shrub rose, the Nootka rose (Rosa nutkana ) grows throughout the west. Bees, butterflies, birds, mammals – many wild beings depend on it as a food and shelter source. For me, the beauty is enough.
  19. Again, look up! Unless it’s pouring rain, it’s almost always a good thing to do.
  20. Another native plant, this is probably the Meadow lupine, Lupinus polyphyllus. There are many lupines in the American west, and they’re hard to tell apart, but they’re all wonderful to see in flower. The photo was taken with a vintage lens, the Pentax Super Takumar 50mm f1.4, which requires an adapter to fit my camera. The inexpensive lens has a soft, warm and sometimes ethereal look. A nice way to end a delightful June day of wandering through the unkempt edges of the county, here in the Pacific northwest.

34 comments

  1. Love the bit about June making promises – well here we’re being hit by an Atlantic storm, 70mph gales on Scotland, and even down here in Bristol the wind is whipping the trees arounf and rain is about! Anyway, good set of pics, and there are 4 which seriously shake my tree: 7 is a wonderful world of green, a swaying mini-forest; and 14 is just ohhhh!; 16 looks like something out if Alien; and 17 is simply simple and absolutely beautiful. A 🙂

    • That sounds like quite a nasty storm. We don’t get many big storms here, being between mountain ranges, the wind doesn’t have time to get up to that speed. I missed big storms at first but I’m used to a steadier drip now. 🙂 I’m always interested to hear what you think and I would have predicted #14, but not #7. I’m happy to be surprised. BTW, we’ve found a place finally, not in Bellingham where your old friends are, but a little south of there, on an island I’ve posted about before (Fidalgo Is. & Anacortes). Now the heavy work begins…..

      • Oh yes, 7, whatever they are, they’re swirling back and fore, and are just about to come out of the photo to have a closer look at me! VERY glad to hear that you’ve found a new home – and on an island too! A 🙂

  2. Thanks for taking us on your June walk, Lynn. I love those dramatic skies with the white fence curving into the distance. The dragonfly, the Manroot and California poppy, the Great Blue Heron, the shadows inside the foxgloves, the mixture of textures in #15. I love them all. It seems you’re enjoying summer. 🙂

  3. #1 – – I think mulleins are kind of a fun weed. A few years ago, there was a common mullein growing on the edge of a vegetable bed. It picked a good spot, out of the way, so I fertilized and watered it, and it grew taller than me, well over six feet, and kind of fun to have the blossoms open in succession for a long time. (The giant bull thistle also went over six feet, and looked like a beautiful Xmas tree when it blossomed, one of the neighbors came over to see where she could get one. But turned out to be a big mistake – it went to seed when I was away, and those spiny things were coming up everywhere)
    There’s just so much to compliment here. I really got a kick out of the little plump Manroot “cucumber,” and the lovely “Herb-Robert.” I’ve seen that last one in the NE woods all my life, but how did I not know that name! Much nicer than “Stinking Bob.” Once again, in 7 & 14, you’ve created beautiful pictures from stuff I’ve seen all the time, and never paid much mind. The last shot is just plain nice – – you attribute it to the lens, they should make sunglasses like that, seeing the world after a couple glasses of wine. And that pond composition is elegant and absolutely hypnotic.
    My parents love foxgloves, and always have some around the house, but your shot with the silhouettes through the petals makes it something alien (in the sense of unfamiliar and fresh) and interesting. Another terrific album!

    • Oh, mulleins are so cool, aren’t they? The one in the first photo is slightly different from the fuzzy-leaved one, both of which grow along the railroad tracks near here. I love to watch them bolt up, love the woolly-leaved one when it’s just a flat rosette, too. Great garden stories! I feel privileged to know I have a part in giving you another way to see plants. And the foxgloves – that’s an unusual view that will only happen when the light’s just right, and it sure caught my eye. I don’t think they make sunglasses that give a view like the last photo, but maybe certain plants, when ingested… 😉 I will stick to finding different ways of seeing without them though. 🙂 Thanks for your thoughts, Robert.

  4. Good to see your summer is as marvellous as ours here. Especially this year, it is warm and nice to live outdoors. The plants you beautifully show are quite the same that grow here in western Germany.
    This year I have started counting blooming flowers in my garden in spring and am still counting: up to 136 species by today. I never thought there are so many of them!

    • We’ve had warmer and drier than usual weather so far, and it promises to be the same through the summer. That may create difficulty with fires but for now, there has been enough rain to keep things looking happy. I think our climates are pretty similar.
      136 species, are you serious Ule? That is so cool! And is that a combination of cultivated and wild plants? I assume some things just appear in the garden.

      • Isn’t it cool?! I never thought I’d come up to such a number!
        It is indeed a combination of cultivated plants like tulips or phlox and wild plants: I let them be at least until I can see or find out the species, thus I learned the names of numerous weeds and wild plants this year, because it doesn’t make sense counting them without writing down the names. It is something that gives me peace and contentment.

  5. I enjoyed this post very much! Beautiful pictures of plants, landscapes and animals (the heron and the pond lily could be paintings). Several plants seem to be close to ours. Horsetail is a nice and funny name for the Equisetum. In German it is “Schachtelhalm” (directly translated it would be something like “box-spire/stem”. The box because of the stackable function of the spire – not so romantic, haha). The foxgloves are great with the shadows inside. I love this kind of fotos! I also love Lupines and your foto with the effect is very beautiful. We have a cottontree right in front of our house – always a “dusty” time of the year! And, oh wonder, I am a grasflowerfan recently 🙂

    • Not such a romantic name for Equisetum, but I like it – it honors the wonderful structure of the plant. Thanks for telling me! I smiled when I read that you like photos like the foxglove closeup, because that really makes sense to me. It’s a lot like things you do. We have similar sensibilities. The Cottonwoods make a dreamy snow on some days when a lot comes down – I love that. And for sure I was thinking of you when I took the grass flower close-up. I have been busy and will get over to see your blog soon – I bet there are wonderful treats there. Graslowerfan, I like it!

      • Thank you, I agree with you, we often look at the same things /details. Now you made me smile, because I was thinking of you thinking of me about the grass, haha 😉 Have a good time!

  6. They are all really wonderful….my faves are 6,10,and 14. I do have to say that it is difficult for me to see things in summer with all the constant green but you have seen so much here. It’s inspiring

    Since 6 is one of my faves I’d be remiss as a cardiologist if I didn’t tell you (though you probably already know) that foxglove is the plant from which the cardiac medication digitalis (digoxin or lanolin) was originally extracted and used. It has fallen out favor recently but is now synthesized as opposed to extracted from the plant. Like I said, you probably already knew 😳

    • Parsing the greens can be challenging! 🙂 But I’ve always been one to separate out the details and find patterns. And yes, I know about digitalis and digoxin, but I like hearing about it from the horse’s mouth, as it were. I thought of you BTW, when I saw a Medscape study today about the amount of time MD’s have with patients, internationally. The US was surprisingly on the generous end (20.5 min.) but in Bangladesh, (supposedly) the report said doctors spend an average of 48 seconds with each patient. I wonder if there’s any chance the trend will turn around in our lifetimes.
      Thanks for your input, I’m glad you enjoyed the wandering. 🙂

  7. Lynn, Lynn, Lynn… So many gorgeous photos! 🙂 Thanks for taking us with you on your walks, it’s such a joy to follow and especially to see insects and plants we don’t have over here.

  8. WordPress is being obnoxious again… another lost comment! Don’t know what gives with them, but I’ll try again!
    This entire post was sheer heaven and comes pretty damn close to capturing the glory of the season. Have to pick #18 for a favorite… I love the wild roses… far more than the cultivated ones. Hoping to get one going here! 😀

  9. So much to see and enjoy. It’s a long time since I have seen Mulllein. Horsetails I love, they are a wonderful sight when they are fresh. Adrain (above) was talking about the high winds that parts of the UK were recently battered by. Down south where I live we escaped the winds and the rain. We are really in need of rain – there’s hardly been a drop of rain for three weeks and the ground (clay soil) is very, very dry.


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