wild, free, spontaneous

6.8.24 ~ North Carolina Botanical Garden
eastern tiger swallowtail

These pictures are from another walk we took when we were still sick, the weather being so nice we pushed ourselves out the door. It was good to see even more things blooming.

wild bergamot
Canada lily (endangered)

We stopped for quite a while to listen to a Carolina wren loudly singing from a high branch just off the path.

Carolina wren

And I’m also glad we went because, finally, the lemon drop swamp azalea was blooming! It was back in January I first spotted the little buds and kept thinking it would bloom soon. I checked on it each and every visit, wondering what color the blooms would be. A lovely shade of lemon chiffon, perhaps.

‘lemon drop’ swamp azalea

I do miss my wild beach roses but down here I’ve happily discovered wild Carolina roses, also known as pasture roses. They look about the same to me!

Carolina rose with bee

For myself I hold no preference among flowers, so long as they are wild, free, spontaneous.
~ Edward Abbey
(Desert Solitaire)

spider flower
tall thimbleweed

The very tall (up to 8 feet!) giant coneflowers towered over me!

giant coneflower
beebalm
woodland tickseed
white-breasted nuthatch
house finch

The height of a patch of native woodland sunflowers also caught my eye. Since I’m only 5 feet tall I guess I’m easily impressed.

woodland sunflower

And now, the weather is hot and humid, with no break in sight. But lots of flowers out there in the garden are surely thriving in it.

21 thoughts on “wild, free, spontaneous”

  1. So pretty! Enjoying your flowers and nature while I wait for time to get out myself. In the final stretch, two more days of school, and then a lot of uncertainty not knowing where I will land this fall.

    1. Thank you, Karma! Living with uncertainty is so difficult, having no idea what lies ahead. I hope you will be able to take advantage of the summer months to get outside and connect with nature while you’re job hunting. Wishing you the best!

  2. The Canada lily is delicate and inspiring. I like the Carolina rose with a bee photo too. You have a gift for capturing the details in nature.

    1. Thank you, Ally! It’s nature that keeps giving me little gifts, every time I turn around I see something new and different. 🙂

  3. Oh, Barbara, you’ve got some beauties here! I’m swooning over that swamp azalea (what a delicious color!), and I’m a bit pea-green over the giant coneflower (especially since I can’t seem to get one to grow, despite giving it the old college try!). I’ve never seen a spider flower before (it’s aptly named, right?!), and I find the swallowtail so majestic. Don’t they use bergamot in fragrances, or is this a variety immune to that?

    1. Thank you, Debbie! It seemed like that swamp azalea was never going to bloom so that was a happy surprise for me that day. I don’t believe we had giant coneflowers in Connecticut so I had no idea such a plant existed. That’s too bad you can’t get one to grow up there. Yes, bergamot is used in fragrances and it is also the key ingredient in Earl Grey tea. I wonder if I’ll see the bergamot fruit now that I’ve seen the flower.

  4. Lots of great flowers at that botanical garden. I am fortunate to have one of those lemon swamp azaleas, which is the last to bloom, usually in July here. Such a wonderful honey-scent!

    1. I’m always learning something from you, Eliza! I never thought to sniff the swamp azalea blooms but next time I go I will see if I can detect the honey-scent. I’m also going to try to see when next year’s buds come in. It’s fascinating how our spring blooms a month or two sooner than yours.

  5. There’s so many delicate flowers here Barbara and you did a wonderful job capturing all of them, despite feeling poorly on that walk. You even had the fine threads of a spider web on the Canada Lily – that’s such a pretty flower. I like the Tiger Swallowtail – what a nice close-up. I’ve just been seeing Cabbage Whites, although I was getting into the car this morning and saw a Red Admiral flit in front of me and land on the ground, but it took off a second later. These flowers all seem so delicate to me, especially the Spider Flower and Wild Bergamot. I wish someone would suggest having bird feeders at our botanical gardens like you have at yours. Today I thought of you as I saw the first Seagull that I’ve seen this year. I don’t know where they have all gone and I’ve been to shoreline venues. Today I took the bigger camera for pics of the Gordie Howe Bridge and saw one Ring-billed Seagull.

    1. Thank you, Linda! All the little treasures I found that day made it worth the effort to get out there, tissues and cough drops in hand. The first thing to catch my eye was that swallowtail fluttering some distance down one of the paths. I followed it and couldn’t believe it when it landed and stayed put for a long drink of nectar. Most of the time butterflies take off on me, like the cabbage whites and red admiral did for you. Say hi to your gulls for me! I haven’t seen one since we went to Georgia in February. 🙁 We were seeing fewer and fewer of them, even before we left Connecticut, making me wonder if the population is in decline. The bird feeders here are nice but I prefer capturing pictures of the birds perched on the branches nearby. It looks more natural than a bird feeder.

      1. You had a lovely walk Barbara. I guess that does make sense to get the nicest bird photos in a natural environment, perched on branches, rather than feeders. As luck would have it for me, often I see a nice bird, but there is a twig or branch in the way … since I’m not a “pro” I just go with the shot, as it’s better to have the bird pic, than no pic.

        Today I saw more gulls but there was a reason. I was at Lake Erie Metropark and was walking across the parking lot to my car. Nearby a family had canopies set up and they were grilling … I could smell BBQ and I guess the gulls could too as I saw about 25 of them, some just hanging out in the parking lot, probably planning to swoop in for a sample. But I am amazed I don’t see them at the boardwalk like I always have. Very strange. I even Googled around to see if there were measures being taken by the DNR to eliminate them, though they are not considered an invasive species like our Mute Swans are. I found nothing. At least the Ring-billed Seagulls pose nicely and don’t bolt.

        P.S. Today I saw Mr. AND Mrs. Sandhill Crane – so she is okay, but no offspring. Also no fawn sightings either.

        1. Good point, more often than not the bird will have twigs or leaves blocking some of the view. But those pictures can be lovely, too, in their own way. 🙂

          I did a little research and found that some gull populations are indeed declining in number, although the ring-billed population is stable. It’s even worse in Europe:
          “Common gull numbers have decreased by 53%. Herring gull populations have also declined, with a 41% drop between 2002 and 2021. The Herring Gull has been on the Red List of Birds of Conservation Concern since 2009.”
          I smiled at your description of the family surrounded by gulls while they were grilling a barbecue. 🙂 I miss having to guard my hotdogs at the beach!

          Glad to hear your sandhill cranes are okay.

          1. I use those pictures anyway Barbara unless they are really bad. I was relieved to see both cranes, though I noticed one of them had a patch of feathers missing, but not enough to think it was molting. I took quite a few pics of the crane couple and I went through my photos this morning and saw I cut off the “bustle” as they call it on one crane, but I’ll use it anyway as it was difficult to get them both in one photo unless it was far away.

            I think I mentioned that at Bishop Park years ago we read in the local newspaper how the seagulls were swiping hot dogs right off the grills they have for people to use. They are big grills and if you weren’t standing there guarding your food, a gull would take it.

            That’s interesting about the gull numbers decreasing but not the ring-billed gull here. I seriously thought something was wrong because I always got lots of gull photos at both those boardwalks, so I wondered why not now? Maybe also with the price of food, people aren’t as likely to share their breakfast sandwich or donut with the gulls.

          2. There are all kinds of gull deterrent systems available online. I wonder if they might be having an effect. At our old beach they installed a system that kept broadcasting a gull distress call, designed I presume to scare the gulls away. It seemed to cut down on the number of gulls on the beach, but there were a few smarter gulls who sat there and ignored the sound. I disliked the whole idea. The beach was never the same. Sigh.

          3. They have that horrible noise (which I didn’t realize was a gull distress call) at Dingell Park. It goes off about every 10 minutes. But they have had it for awhile and I still saw gulls there, just not this year. I went to that outdoor watercolor painting event at Dingell Park a few Summers ago and because it was mid-day and hot, they put up a canopy over the tables and chairs right next to the building with the speaker. I thought I’d lose my mind during the 2 1/2 hours I was there. Your beach would have no longer been peaceful, listening to the waves rolling in and the gulls doing their regular screeches. Sigh – authorities don’t get it do they? Like the Park – I didn’t walk today due to the severe heat, but as of Tuesday, all the tree debris is still there – they could have started on that side last.

          4. What’s that old saying, you can’t fight city hall? The desires of nature lovers so often are ignored and dismissed.

          5. Yes, a very true statement. The screeching of gulls flying overhead is like a day at the beach and a far cry from THAT piped-in noise!

  6. Lovely Barbara! Even the flowers towering over you!! I couldn’t pick a favorite. ❤️🌸❤️🌻

    Please pass on a Happy Father’s Day to Tim from us. Are you getting to spend some time with your children and grandchildren?

    We are grateful that our AC is working. 😊

    1. Thank you, TD! Actually, the family was spread out far and wide in other states for this Father’s Day, but the kids did make contact with Tim. 🙂 ❤️

      I think of you every time I get a glimpse of a Texas weather map and see that ominous looking heat dome hovering over you. And looking up at New England today it will be as hot up there as it is down here. Scary times. AC is more and more often at the top of my list of things to be grateful for.

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