Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Great Wildflower Hunt

Mother's Day weekend was absolutely GORGEOUS!! Perfectly warm temps in the low to mid 70's, little wind, if any, glorious blue skies and lots of big, white, puffy clouds. .the kind just waiting for a mama and her babies to lay on the trampoline letting their imaginations run wild.
Blanket Flower (gallardia) and toothed evening primrose. I will have to go back next week to see what the grayish spiky flowers turn out to be. .my guess may be a lupine or a leadplant. .they were nearly blooming, but I couldn't quite tell what color they will be. .guessing purple.
Everyone enjoyed their own activities around our home.
Saturday afternoon, Devin, Cami, and I decided to take a four-wheeler ride through our pasture, scouting for wildflowers and wildlife. We so seldom have great spring rains like we have enjoyed this spring, that we don't always have the wildflower varieties growing that I have seen this year. From the house, we can't really see any wildflowers in the pasture. .
The lay of the land was exceptionally gorgeous Saturday. .with the different greens, yellow/gold, and pinkish lavendar. .quite a rainbow of color. Jeremy's shop is the first building, with the front of our house visible behind the large elm tree.
. .except for the liatris in the fall. But driving through the grass, we scoped out a nice handful of different varieties. .with others getting ready to bloom.
Here are some sand hill plums on the few little brambles that are out there. I have never actually picked these myself to cook up. .but I tell you. .they make the most DIVINE jelly you will EVER eat. .and it's not sold in your local supermarket (probably not, anyway-farmer's market, though. .that's another story!).
Devin and I used my Tallgrass Prairie Wildflowers handbook to try and ID the plants. It was a great workout for both of us. This Toothed Evening Primrose came down to us counting the petals on the real plant and comparing it with a couple different plant photos in the book. Some of them even seem to come down to the leaf shape, since the flowers are so similar. This guy blooms in late spring. .and is found on rocky or gravelly prairie slopes. .which is where we happened to locate them.
We found white yarrow. .
and Sensitive Briar. .the kids enjoyed watching the ferny-fronded leaves curl up when touched with your fingers. I even had to take Grant back later to show him the plant.
We found a few that we didn't take time to ID (because the natives were getting restless). .and now I can't ID because of the poor photo quality (by now, it was getting tiresome for me to jump off the back of the 4-wheeler around the 2 kids in the front-so photos were coming from the 4-wheeler, sometimes while it was still moving. .HA!)
Addendum: Thanks to Gaia Gardener. .this plant IS a prairire larkspur. It looks a little different than the one in my wildflower book. .but is nearly identical to the pictures listed on
And a few that I couldn't ID. .Anyone have any idea what this is?? Cami and I noticed it along our driveway on our walk Friday morning. I can't find anything quite like it in the book I have. It's pretty. .and in 14 years. .I have never noticed a plant like that around here.
Addendum: Gaia was correct twice. .this is a velvety gaura plant. They are found throughout Kansas. Unfortunately, someone mowed it off before it finished blooming here. .and I haven't seen it anywhere else in the pasture! Very pretty blooms!! Thanks for your help!
The annual cheat grass (or drooping brome grass) is just gorgeous right now, with it's golden lavender seedheads.  Unfortunately. .it will soon turn yellow and die, leaving little grass behind. .Jeremy noticed that the native grass underneath the cheat is very scarce and very short. .as a result of last year's severe drought. He is having Devin mow some of the pasture down, so that the grass can get some sunlight and moisture to survive.
I don't know what this little grass tuft was. .it had really fine blades. .almost like the ponytail grass sold in nurseries. .except that the blades were pinkish-purple. .wish I would have had my shovel!! And now I can't remember where we saw it at!
Nearly 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule. .our Kansas wheat crop is nearing harvest! The head are turning from the green to a golden color, signifying ripe grains!
I'm smitten with the stuff!!
Devin used my camera on our way back to take this photo that I think seems pretty iconic of our home in Kansas. .barbed wire fences. .big blue skies. .wide open spaces. .and the promise of what people here do the best. .FEED AMERICA!

The person that started the rumor that Kansas was flat and boring. .
Didn't see ALL of Kansas!!
Say a prayer for the midwest farmers when you eat your daily bread tonight!!
Have a blessed week!


  1. That's fun...getting out there and finding all those beautiful wild flowers! I love them! I have been wanting to take some pics myself but haven't done it yet. The wheat field is beautiful! I love the photos of it!

  2. Aren't they just beautiful this year??? LOVE LOVE going through the pastures right now!

  3. Looks like you've got some nice diversity in your pasture! I'm pretty sure that the white spiky flower is prairie larkspur and I think that the pink flower may be velvet-leaf gaura. Check and see if you agree with my tentative I.D.s - it's a great site to become familiar with.

  4. Enjoyed the pictures so much - the wildflowers, the PLUMS, the grasses, the landscape, the beautiful wheat ... all gorgeous. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Great wildflower trip and in your own back yard! I was eyeing plants along the road this morning on our bike ride. I'm guessing all the big milk weed plants are regrowths from last year. My sprouts seem sooooo small. I hope they get big someday.
    Spring has certainly been good to the wildflowers. It is crazy how far ahead harvest will be this year. Devin got a great photo!!

  6. I see Gaia Gardener identified your larkspur. There are a couple kinds of native larkspur, and I am hoping to find some seeds to plant here.