May in June

For those of you who have been here since the very beginning of Landing on Cloudy Water, you might remember my early attempts to learn and document the names of what I saw growing around me. First there was the snowdrop, then the Siberian squill, then the forsythia, then the tarda tulip, and finally the wild columbine. Well, a child came into my life a bit after all that, and naming him, I suppose, claimed my attention. I am happy to say, though, that he is now at the age where he wants to know what he's seeing, and that has given me new cause to do the same.

So, I bring you yet again, a series in wild identification: Plant Literate! (Although I seem to be always a month behind, and have no time for individual posts, so it will most likely happen in bursts. Ah, well. Better something than nothing, is my current motto.)

This is a doubly-sweet endeavor because what I've been learning these past months has been focused on the growing and blooming things in our yard, the edge along our driveway, and the marsh behind our house. Already most of these wildflowers are long gone with the light-blocking leaves, so who is to say how much of anything I'll document this summer, but that's half the fun, too: we'll just have to wait and see.

Here is what I've identified so far, following the order of the photos above. Please feel free to correct me if I have something wrong. I'm learning.
1) Wild ferns
2) Halberd-leaved violets
3) Early meadow rue
4) Wild lupine (this one I'm not totally sure of, as it was quite a bit smaller than most lupine I've seen, but it's the closet I've been able to get)
5) Garlic mustard (which, I've been told, spreads like crazy)
6) Sand violet (I think?)
7) Wild geranium
8) False solomon's seal
9) Dame's rocket
10) Jack-in-the-pulpit
11) Wild Columbine

We also have true solomon's seal, bloodroot, cleavers, a patch of creeping charlie along the driveway that I naively believed was just a lovely flowering ground cover (good thing someone smart advised me not to transplant it to a border area along one of the gardens), and a host of fast growing bushes and vines that I haven't even started to try to identify. I suppose that alone could keep me busy for much of the summer.

As always with these kinds of posts, I place this information here for me, so that I might come back to it next year when all these names evade me, but I hope it's helpful or interesting to a few of you, too.

It's the longest day of the year today, friends--9:42 pm just now and still light seeping in through the windows--so, let us welcome whatever this summer will be. Cheers to you all on this solstice. Isn't it incredible how much of the world bends toward the sun?


  1. I love the jack-in-the-pulpit. It was one of my favorites as a child. And I love that you're loving your flowers, and learning about them. I'm not yet obsessive about it, but I've fallen in love with our natives, too, and just spent a weekend in the Texas hill country, where the profusion was more than I've ever seen. It's wonderful!

    Beyond all that, it's a gift to yourself and your son, to learn these together. The world is a wonderful place, and knowledge helps to make it moreso.

    By the way -- I've just written about Emily Dickinson. Did you know that she was quite a gardener, or that there's a huge project going on, to restore her conservatory, gardens, and so on? I had no idea. It's quite amazing.

    1. I'm interested in learning more about this Emily Dickinson project.

      Emily, thanks for the identifications on the flowers. You took the time I wouldn't take to ID them. Beautiful images.

    2. Linda, I did know that Dickinson was a gardener, but I did not know about the project you mention. I will hop on over to your blog shortly to read a wonderful account of it, I'm sure. I love where your curiosity leads you...

    3. Audrey, you should check out Linda's (shoreacres) blog. It's a true delight. Hope you are enjoying your summer!

  2. Hi Emily:

    I'm glad you're back into Botany (with your son).

    1 could be a Lady Fern, or New York Fern - I'd have to see more.
    4 may be Gill-over-the-ground.
    5. People around here YANK Garlic Mustard every chance they get- it's invasive!
    9. We call this Wild Blue Phlox

    I love your Wild Columbine; one of my favorites. See my post: "Woodland's Royal Crown" -

    Great to hear from you again. Love your summer!

    ~ Richard

    1. Richard,

      I love your expertise here. Thank you! After a little digging, I think Gill-over-the-ground is just another name for what we call creeping charley. Isn't it interesting how so many different appellations exists for the same plant? And yes, we yanked all our garlic mustard, too. I rather liked the little white flowers and their strong scent, but I trusted those in the know.

      I hope you enjoyed your trip to Colorado!

  3. Beautiful pictures perfect for the solstice!


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