Thursday, August 15, 2013

Early Signs Of Autumn

Our choice remains to live in a region that sports four distinct seasons.  We find that the cycle of seasonal change adds spark to our lives lived in tune with nature.  The end of summer is expected but it was a bit of a shock to find red and yellow leaves alongside of the lane.  These colors are always present under the cover of the green outer layer and seeing them may mean nothing more than recent fallen leaves were seen.  Still, it was somewhat sobering to see so many colorful leaves this early.

Fall flowers are beginning to show in the garden.  The first Clara Curtis chrysanthemums blossoms are slowly opening as are the wild goldenrods.  Soon our untended fields will become a sea of bright yellow flowers.  Here is the first of what will become many.  Some believe that goldenrod is the cause of fall allergic reactions but its pollen is heavy and does not travel far.  A more likely explanation of the irritation is ragweed pollen lodged in the goldenrod.  Goldenrod and New England Asters can make a stunning floral arrangement but how common are indoor bouquets of wild weeds?

This photo shows Sweet Goldenrod, Solidago odora.  Its flowers are arranged along one side of the stem.  Leaves held up to the light will show small translucent dots on their surface.  These leaves are reported to make a flavorful tea that aids with flatulence. The crushed leaves give off a licorice scent.

When we first began to scour these acres to discover their secrets, Becky identified five different kinds of goldenrod growing here.  Long leaves and a rough stem help distinguish Stiff Goldenrod, Solidago rigida, from four other similar goldenrods.  We might have the identifications wrong.  We need to go a feel the stems and brew some tea.  These two are first to bloom.  Some of the more showy goldenrod  flowers have not yet opened.  It's not just the yellow flowers.  You can feel fall in the air!

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