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September 03, 2009


Milkweed is a remnant of our tall-grass prairie past here in Oklahoma. A local universary-related nursery cultivates it and sells it. I know this because I've purchased from them things such as yellow queen gallardia, half-shrub primrose and spurred butterfly peas, all versions of plants that grow wild here. Just beyond our back yard, the wild sunflowers have grown so tall they're peeking over the privacy fence. Having grown up here, I don't particularly cherish the milkweed, but I understand why people do. There is a wild beauty to all of these plants, and they hold up to the hot, harsh Oklahoma summer.

It's good to hear from you.

Transition... loving the journey.

God, it's entries like this that make me love "The Cassandra Pages." Milkweed in September - haven't seen it since I was a kid. It grew on the playground fence of my grade school. We'd pick the magical pods after school, then drift on home.

And I loved the feather on the rusty rails!

Yes, I love these hidden wild places that surprise us in the urban settings, revealing the survival strength of wild plants, as you say. Love the top photo! I'm so glad you are enjoying this bounty, and that life is good for you.

Milkweed isn't the only one of these species that's good for native insects; goldenrod is superlative. According to the Pennsylvania native Plant Society, more species of lepidoptera are attracted to goldenrod than any other plant - to say nothing of the hundreds of species of coleoptera and hymenoptera.

These wild -- in the sense of unmanaged -- spaces are exceedingly valuable, especially since "clean farming" took over the agricultural areas and farmers plowed up hedgerows and old fields. For their anniversary last week, my parents spent the day traveling the back roads of central Pennsylvania. When they got home in the evening, Mom realized that our yards and field contained the first goldenrod they'd seen all day -- and it's the height of goldenrod season. At least towns and cities still have vacant lots and weedy rights-of-way.

What a fascinating photograph, the first one. White-Feather and Dried-Leaf seem to be talking to each other, while the Stones listen in, transfixed and silent.

Goldenrod is beautiful enough to plant in a flower garden. I'm planning to get some seeds this fall and have some in mine. And monarch butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed. I once had a crazy boyfriend who collected monarch pupae from milkweed in vacant lots and watched them hatch.

I love this post, so well written and so cheerful. I'm glad you have banished the moving blues.

Dave's right. And there's nothing like a railway line and its surrounds for nurturing wildlife. And if it's of what is perceived as the coarser kind, then maybe it's due for redemption.

I expressed grave reservations about a move from country to city: smug and sanctimonious of me, as this wonderful reflection on current circumstances demonstrates!

goldenrod would be beautiful there. and sunflowers, too. i do love montreal.

Anne, your crazy boyfriend and I have a lot in common - I plan to watch for caterpillars and bring some inside myself.

Thanks for all the comments. I'm abour to post a photo of the milkweed since so many of you seem to like it!

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.