June 09, 2008

Texas Wildflower Story


We have a field near our house that used to be full of the most beautiful flowers. It is common for flowers to bloom and seed up until the middle of june when the highway department sends out the mowing team to keep things in order. They come that late for a reason: so that every wildflower that blooms in April and May has a few extra days to finish growing seeds before the grass is cut.

Not my field. The mowers came early this year. They came last week and whacked down my flowers - to the ground. I was so angry that I talked about the mowers and the evil developer of this property all evening the night it happened.

My husband likes to kid. The next morning at breakfast he calmly said, "Oh, I forgot to tell you that mowers came again today. I saw them when I went to the store. They are mowing the other field on the back side of the property." You should have seen me jump up in my jammies to grab the keys in a panic. I had to get out there to save my favorite flowers and their seeds!

"REALLY??" I said, about to spring into action.

"Yeah - really! The bobcat had a big sign on it that said 'DEATH TO WILDFLOWERS' and he was spraying the whole field with round up after he leveled it!"

I knew he was pulling my leg after that. He knows I hate round up. Good thing he was kidding because he saved breakfast, Saturday, some lawn-worker's life, and possibly kept me from being shown on local news lying in front of a bulldozer in my night gown protesting the untimely demise of my favorite flowers. That would be just odd enough to "Keep Austin Wierd", eh?

See? Not all conservative Christians are hateful to the environment.

We consider ourselves the neighborhood seed 'preservationists'. Being wildflower lovers, we went and gathered as many seeds as possible from the dead and crippled plants left behind by the mowers. Many of the seeds had been damaged and crushed by the heavy machinery. The prolific color show this last May is only a memory now. Left behind is a flat, dry, ugly swath of land that looks as if it deserves suburbia. I'm sure it will someday be infected with cookie-cutter houses and Bermuda Grass.

I would hate to see the lovely species of flowers on 'my' field disappear. That's why the kids and I spent hours picking through drying flowers... prickly, stickery, ouchie flowers... and now have three bags of seeds from our favorites. We even saved the flowers that weren't finished blooming so they could sit in water to finish making more seeds.

Our three favorites are Star Thistle (also called American Basketflower - but I call it Lion's Head Thistle... because that's what it looks like), Firewheels (also called Indian Blankets and very common in these parts), and Lemon Mint (also called Lemon Beebalm and sometimes used in teas).

There are a few flowers in the collage that aren't native to this continent! You'll find some from exotic places such as India, China and Africa. All of the flowers do super in the warm Texas climate.

I was considering selling a few little seed packets after all that hard work. Any wildflower lovers out there? Just for fun - and for those who actually READ my drivel - I'm going to give a sample pack of all three types away.

I heart flowers. If you don't believe me, check out some of my previous flower photos in the links below. Also stop in on my HUGE NATURE LINK POST. There's some great stuff in there. Be sure to check back in later this week for garden updates and unit study memories.

"Happy..." flowery "trails to you - 'till we meet again".

Quick Links:
Foto Collages at HSBA (botanical garden field trip collage)
Nana's Back Yard
The Coolest Purple Wildflower Ever
Purple Pineapple Weed

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Anonymous said...

I don't blame you for being mad. It drives me crazy here when people buy a piece of land and then bulldoze the entire thing, whether or not they intend to improve it in any way. Even if they're planning a home and garden, there's no need to raze the place first. Then the worst weeds around come in and take over. Don't get me started. Well, I guess you did. But good to take positive action.

The Excellent Adventure is.... said...

Okay, we've been online for at least 6 hours.(taking turns) Here goes.

White prickly poppy, liatris, woolly paperflower, pink bearded grass(velvetweed),Texas thistle, indian blanket,???, Texas bluebonnet, bishop's weed, wild potato, pink evening primrose, crimson clover, Mexican hat, blue mealy sage, prickly pear cactus, shaggy stenandrium.

That's the best we could do. That 7th one was a doozy. Still looking. One dd said, "mom, you must REALLY want those seeds." Its not about the seeds anymore, its the challenge. Thanks for letting us try.

Dianne - Bunny Trails said...

Wow, Mrs. Bee. You give really hard quizzes. No chance of me passing. Oh well. Guess the seeds will go somewhere besides my house. :D

Lauren said...

Oh geez! I can't even figure out the ones in my yard.

Beautiful, though! :)

Anonymous said...

I need to hand one of my kids a field guide and give them this assignment. :-)

We have beautiful wildflower areas here along the highway where there are signs for the DOT that say "Do Not Mow."

Sprittibee said...

OK, since 'the-excellent-adventure' took the most time and effort trying to come up with the answers, I'll ship you a baggie of seeds! Just get with me to share your mailing address.

I'll post the answers as an edit! Thanks to all who tried. I couldn't resist looking it all up myself. There were two or three that I wasn't sure on - one of them really took me a while... but I got it! Latin name and all! It is so good to know your local flowers by name!

mommyofmany said...

Oh... please wait! We're still working on it! :)

Sprittibee said...

Awww, MommyofMany - sorry I beat you to it! I didn't know you were out there working on it! :)

You can still get the seeds - but you'll have to do it the more expensive way... cuz envelopes, postage, and gas to the PO cost $$$!

mommyofmany said...

Thanks, Sprittibee...

It's probably best that you went ahead and posted the answers. I was spending way too much time on it. I learned a LOT, though. Now I have names for some of the wild things growing in my yard! I only missed 4 or 5 on the quiz, so I thought I did okay.

Sprittibee said...

MoM - I do the same thing. Blogging sucks the brains out of my head and I end up sitting here answering funny quizzes, commenting, and laughing with everyone's posts until I have to pry my eyes open with toothpicks.

It is nearing midnight... again...

Time for bed!



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