Sunday, October 20, 2013

Purple and Gold

Weather: Temperatures below freezing; last rain 10/13/2013; 10:32 hours of daylight today.

What’s blooming in the area: Silver lace vine, Maximilian sunflowers, Sensation cosmos.

Beyond the walls and fences: Chamisa, snakeweed, Hopi tea, Tahoka daisy, gumweed, broom senecio, native sunflowers, áñil del muerto, golden hairy, heath and purple asters. Cottonwood and catalpa leaves turning yellow.

In my yard: Fern bush, winecup mallow, catmint, calamintha, bachelor buttons, chocolate flowers, blanket flowers, anthemis, chrysanthemums, black-eyed Susan, Mexican hats. Spirea leaves turning orange-red, sand cherry leaves purple red, Siberian pea leaves yellow. Alfilerillo coming up in drive gravel.

Bedding plants: Snapdragons, sweet alyssum.

What’s blooming inside: Zonal geraniums, aptenia.

Animal sightings: Goldfinches on Maximilian sunflower heads.

Weekly update: Purple and gold are the colors of the season, here and in Michigan were I was raised.

There the yellow was golden rod that spread along the roadside in August.

Here, it is áñil del muerto, the yellow daisies with no common name. They were slow to sprout this year, but expanded after the weather turned cold. This week, of course, they too began going to seed.


Chamisa, broom senecio and snakeweed were equally late. Before them, there were the native sunflowers. And, before them it was gum weed, Hopi tea, and the ubiquitous golden hair asters.

In the midwest, white flowers are more important in late summer than the purple, especially Queen Anne’s lace

and common yarrow.

Here, all you see is an occasional heath aster.

The few purples there must have been asters. Here they are Tahoka daisies in August,

and purple asters now.

Their flowers are so similar, they are best identified by their leaves. The daisies are dense and ferny, the asters more scattered and needle like. From a distance, the one is more likely to be rounded, the other tall and thin. From a car, you use the calendar to decide.

The view from the car is most important. Many do not actually grow together. Instead, they bloom at the same time, in different patches of roadside. It’s our memories which combine them.

1. Purple golden hair asters blooming along the road, 15 October 2013.

2. Áñil del muerto blooming in field that was mowed in late summer, 15 October 2013.

3. Goldenrod near a village irrigation ditch, 12 July 2012.

4. Áñil del muerto in my drive, 15 October 2013.

5. Golden hair aster in my yard, 15 October 2013.

6. Queen Anne’s lace with alfalfa in my yard, 21 July 2013, started from seed.

7. Common white yarrow near my drive, 11 July 2013, started from seed.

8. Heath asters in my yard, 15 October 2013.

9. Tahoka daisy near my drive, 15 October 2013.

10. Tahoka daisy near my drive, 15 October 2013.

11. Flag ceremony at a Michigan day camp, 1959. I have no recollection of who’s in the picture, but I know the flower’s Queen Anne’s lace. The shape is forever imprinted in my memory.

No comments: