Creekside Wildflowers, 2011

wildflowers along a creek
Creekside Wildflowers

Autumn wildflowers aren’t nearly as showy as spring wildflowers, but their lacy forms create clouds of shape and texture and delicate color, especially along a water’s edge.

These wildflowers are growing right along Chartiers Creek in Carnegie, and that’s the neat thing about wildflowers—they’ll spring up anywhere they can find a bit of soil for roots.

Starting from the left…

The yellow flowers are evening primrose, a native biennial that opens as its name predicts, in the evening. The flowers are just opening here.

The deep violet flowers are purple loosestrife, an non-native invasive perennial that was popular in gardens but which has escaped and is very successful growing along the edge of any body of water. It’s not too abundant here, but in areas where it becomes established it crowds out native plants that feed local songbirds and attract native insects for pollination.

Near the center, at about 11:00, there is one stem visible from blue vervain, another native with tiny seeds that finches love.

The fuzzy pink flowers are joe-pye weed, a native annual, and can grow anywhere from one to six feet tall with curved umbels of soft pink flowers. To the left of the joe-pye you’ll see some white flowers as if the joe-pye is fading to white—this is actually boneset, another native annual.

On the right you can see a spray of pink flowers. I first saw this several years ago and simply could not identify it with any of my guide books. Then two years ago I saw a specimen in a conservation garden and thought I’d marked it in my book when I got home, but no. I’ll have to go out and find it again.

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