Tag Archives: Queen Anne’s Lace

Effusions and fields of aromatic lace.

The heavy and late rains that fell 2016-17
watered the Queen Anne’s Lace into a bumper crop.

It’s not as though this wildflower Daucus carota needs much water.
Even in drought years it faithfully decorates
the roadsides and paths all over northern California,
and of course many other places where I don’t happen to see it.

All of my photos here come from the paths near my house,
where I walk once or twice almost every day,
past these swaths of what I read is also called Wild Carrot, Bird’s Nest,
and Bishop’s Lace, though I’ve never heard those names in person.

One warm evening I began to notice that the flowers were giving off a scent
like cake coming out of the oven.

More recently, they evoke corn tortillas hot off the griddle.

When I encounter another walker who shows the slightest sign of being willing to talk,
I tell them to get a whiff of what my flower friends are offering for sustenance.

I never noticed these scents in the past,
when I had fewer blooms to focus on, more visually.
But this is a festal year for lacy Anne blooms,
and I happily look forward to several more months
of sensory overload.
If you breathe really deeply and concentrate hard…
can you smell them, too?

 

Breakfast by the creek.

It’s invigorating to get outdoors in the springtime, at least, when we aren’t having cold winds and cloudy days. Last Saturday when Liam and Laddie were here, they collected manzanita berries from my bush and made pies.

Every time I go to church lately, something new is bursting with color. A type of salvia I haven’t seen elsewhere has flowers that glow like jewels:

And the California poppies! I feel that own garden will not be truly complete until these orange poppies are blooming in it — but I am a little afraid to throw out the seed and have them grow like weeds.

This morning, I took a walk by the creek. You might guess from my shadow that I am shaped like a bug. But I assure you, I more closely resemble a human.

From the bridge I heard a toad croaking;
blue jays were busy about something, hopping around in the trees.
Many other birds were singing and chirping. I don’t know who they were.

blackberry flower

I had set out before having breakfast, or so much as a glass of water. Uh… forgot that I can’t do that anymore. The squirrel scrabbling up and down a tree contrasted sharply with my slowing gait.

Besides the many wild things growing along the path, there are the backyard plants that have climbed over the fences. Like this trumpet vine:

 

privet
honeysuckle

Oh, the banks of honeysuckle were sweet! But I’m afraid they didn’t make a proper energizing breakfast, no matter how deep the whiffs I inhaled. And I stopped so many times to frame pictures with my phone’s camera, my excursion grew longer and longer…

Salsify is opening its puffy blooms.

I think the Queen Anne’s Lace must bloom six months of the year. It is already bearing fully opened flowers, as well as these darling younger ones:

When I finally got home, it didn’t take long to satisfy my body’s need for fuel.
My soul had already had a full breakfast!

I offer a nosegay.

IMG_2687 grass & fennelWhen the first rays of the sun were hitting stalks of grass, I was there by the creek with my camera. You can see wild fennel in the background, yellow-green flower heads forming. When I walk this early, my joints are creaky and my gait a bit crooked, for the first while. So I don’t mind at all when the flowers get my attention and beg me to stop for a closer look.

On my first expeditions along this route (26 years ago when we had just moved to this town) I was pushing Kate in a stroller, with at least a couple of her siblings in our company, and I would tell my children whatever I knew about the plants and flowers along the way, sometimes making up a repetitious ditty to imprint the sound in their minds.

IMG_2698 berries

 

“This is juniper… and this is another kind of juniper… and here are blackberries!” When I did that last month with the grandchildren, we came home with lots of berry stains for Grandma to deal with. Today I noticed purple and black splotches on the path where fruits had been smashed.

I heard from Joy that Liam has remembered many of the plants that I showed him on our walks last week, and that he pointed out to her rosemary and kangaroo paws.

But now I am walking alone, and I like that very much, too. Right now it’s the Queen Anne’s Lace, daucus carota, that is at its peak.

IMG_2697 QAL

IMG_2695 Lace flower

A block from home this rose is poking through the fence as though giving itself as a ready-made bouquet. So I “picked it” with my camera and offer it to you, with hopes that your day is sweet.

IMG_2701 bouquet

Nature comes with sweets

Our city is pretty broke, and you can tell by the changes along the bike path where we often take our walks. Nothing gets pruned anymore. If a large tree branch falls across the pavement, it’s dragged off to the side and left to rot.

privet

Weeds grow up tall and threaten to become a fire danger. Then we notice that they were mostly cut down, apparently by some large machine that doesn’t get the borders of anything.

So to the eye, the landscape is less lovely than before. Not like the countryside, which is normally wild and ungroomed, but like a planted garden that is neglected.

It’s not easy to tell which shrubs were planted decades ago by the city, and which have come over and under the fences of the yards bordering the walkways. The privets are obviously man-planted, and there are rows of the big bushes with hundreds of honeybees drinking at them all right now.

On the last few walks I didn’t notice the raggedness so much because the higher temperatures have brought out the warm aromas of summer, and I was looking around hungrily to discover the source. Mr. Glad and I usually stride along at the fastest pace possible, and I’ve been wanting to get back there by my lonesome to meander with my camera. This morning I did.

There is a lot of this sort of thing, a messy mix of oak, privet, and foxtails. But those foxtails and other grasses are some of the sweetest smells filling the air.

The quietness is lush. Maybe all the children were enjoying the first days without school by sleeping in, or something less wholesome. Other than a couple on their bikes, and one woman walking her dog, I was alone with the songbirds and buzzing insects.

Sequoia sempervirens

Whatever cut the weeds, it threw layers of the cuttings to the side, on top of the desirable plants, jumbling up the scene even more.

But a flowering vine had escaped from a back yard and made a bright spot in the tangle, and the growing tips of redwood trees always look fresh and clean. There are lots of pretty plants I don’t know the names of; I’m happy they don’t pay any mind to property lines.

This is one that makes red berries for us, to decorate the house with at Christmas. Now is the time for it to make heady aromas. Potato vine was climbing over wooden fences…

…And honeysuckle – While I have to keep after the vine in my yard with clippers, so that it doesn’t take over, along the bike path it can do what it wants, and bless my nose every time I get near.

 

honeysuckle

Looking down toward the creek, you can see past the Queen Anne’s Lace the lower road running under the footbridge. I crunched through stickery stuff to get close to the flower.

I went down to that dirt path for a view of the creek, which is not noticeably flowing at this time of year. Horsetail grass and other more watery plants still grow in the mud.

horsetail grass
 

On my return loop I passed the park where our children used to play soccer, and where they claimed their own particular redwood trees to climb and perch in. There wasn’t much competition from the neighborhood children because it’s a prickly business, climbing a redwood tree.

Years after they abandoned their trees the city began trimming the lower branches. I don’t know if that would make climbing harder or easier.

All these soft comforts of a summer morning were better than breakfast. Next time I’ll try to get out the door even earlier for my sweet treats.