Where I struggle hilariously with plant identification

We haven’t had a random flower post in a while. I didn’t even have to scour the archives to arrive at that conclusion. But I did arrive at a big bunch of these wildflowers at the end of my evening run. The exercise was nothing to write home about, but the rain to the north meant we had clouds, which kept the recent 100-plus heat indices at bay. And the views were lovely.

There’s something that flowers like purple torch out there (Bartlettina sordida), but I don’t think this is that. The inflorescence is similar, but the rest of the plant didn’t fit the bill. Lovely flowers, no matter the species.

Some good old fashioned ironweed (Vernonia gigantea). It grows everywhere around here. They’re all blooming in their glory.

This is perhaps either wavyleaf, a thistle (Cirsium undulatum) or meadow blazing star (Liatris ligulistylis). I could be wrong about both of those. Embarrassing, I agree. But, simply put, I didn’t have that many horticulture classes in undergrad.

And the ever-present wingstem (Verbesina alternifolia). It’s just starting to bloom, and will be with us until October or so. Butterflies love it.

I saw three butterflies. And there were a few bumblebees out enjoying the pollen from the wildflowers, but not enough.

Maybe they’re off buzzing around some other stand of flowers, but I can count on one hand how many I’ve seen this month. The recent heat has been a part of that. We know they don’t like temperature spikes, but their general absence feels a bit disconcerting.

And the birds! Haven’t mentioned this, but in May and June there was a local bird die off and the state Department of Natural Resources asked people to pull in their bird feeders. Our three little feeders provide no end of amusement in the yard, but we can’t have that while the experts are working out this puzzle. Avian disease scientists are trying to figure out the cause. They’ve ruled out a lot of things — avian influenza, West Nile and other viruses, various bacterial pathogens and the always tricky Trichomonas parasites — but haven’t been able to solve the mystery yet.

And that’s the story of the flowers, the birds and the bees, all between the apple and the sycamore trees.

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