A few weeks ago, I read a post by Angie of Letting Go of the Bay Leaf. She goes on long walks through woods and fields and takes the most amazing photos of plants and wildlife. I looked out at my drought-stricken field and thought there's no way anything is blooming around here. But the next time I had some free time, I drove down a few nearby roads, and this is what I found.
Farmers around here are complaining that the ground is so hard they can't plow for fall planting, so I didn't expect to find much, if anything. Imagine my surprise when I came upon a field covered with white blooms.
But it wasn't blooms. The upper leaves on this plant change to white in late summer. Snow on the Prairie, aka Snow on the Mountain, (Euphorbia marginata) is considered poisonous and a threat to livestock, so it's safe to say this field is not being farmed. The plant is a source of nectar for bees and butterflies and this time of year, beekeepers aren't collecting honey but letting their bees build up their hives for winter. The plant is a little plain here, but further north in the Texas panhandle, the plant leaves are showy, larger, and more varigated. Another Euphorbia you're probably familiar with is Euphorbia pulcherrima, the Christmas poinsettia.
Near every fenceline, I spotted the purple heads of False Purple Thistle (Eryngium leavenworthii). Again, not a true flower, but the seed head is purple along with the leaves surrounding it.
Then I rounded a corner and finally saw a bigger patch of them. These may be pretty, but take my word for it that they have nasty spines all over the plant that burn when they touch skin. Our front pasture was covered with these and I once made the mistake of trying to walk through them to get to the other side. Ouch, ouch, ouch!
Another curve in the road, and I found my first true flowers.
It might not look like much, but they are photo worthy because of their size. These false gaura, are about eight feet tall. The usual height is around two feet. There were honey bees flitting from bloom to bloom. Obviously, they appreciated these little flowers, no matter the height.
I'm linking to:
Mosaic Monday at Letting Go of the Bay Leaf