Friday, September 07, 2007

Friday Flowers: September Gold

Woodland Sunflower

I was so impressed with Ruthie J's wild grape jelly that I went to the river trail after supper and picked wild grapes to make a batch myself. Our days are getting shorter, with sunset at about 7:50 PM, so I have to get out right away in the evening for a walk. I picked 3 pounds of grapes tonight and have cooked them, leaving them to strain overnight in the colander. So far, so good! I think I boiled out all the little spiders and earwigs that were hiding in the clusters of fruit. This is a truly organic experience. Two of our daughters came along, but they walked on well ahead with Dakota, leaving the strange middle aged woman with a camera around her neck and a bag of grapes in her hand to her own devices.
While things are very, very crisp and dry here due to our continuing drought, I did notice a number of cheerful yellow flowers along the trail.


Goldenrod is everywhere but is about half the height it grows in a year with more rainfall. I always thought Goldenrod contributed to fall allergies, but it gained this reputation only because it blooms at the same time a Ragweed. The Monarch butterflies love Goldenrod, as do many other insects.

Cultivated Sunflowers

One home that backs on the river had an entire side garden of sunflowers that were in full bloom. I was curious to find out why so many had been planted as this was not a farm, but no one was around to answer my questions. There would be enough seeds from that patch to feed a lot of birds in the wintertime.

Cup Plant

This tall plant is a native wild flower known as the Cup Plant. The two upper leaves surround the flower stalk to form a shallow cup. If it rains, water is trapped in leaves and birds and butterflies can be attracted to the stored moisture. There were dozens of Goldfinches in these plants even though they had no water in them today. Another very similar tall yellow flower was there, but the leaves were different. The Woodland Sunflower is another native plant that grows in shadier areas and booms from July to October in this area. Both of these plants can grow over six feet high.

I must leave the gold now and get back to the purple grapes which have stained my hands and my yellow shirt. A happy Friday and a good weekend to all!

Addendum- The wild grape jelly turned out well. Here is my modified recipe.


  1. Beautiful gold! Hope the jelly making was productive and fun!

  2. Anonymous8:12 am GMT-4

    I especially love the sunflower field!

    Ginger (Joyful Woman)

  3. Beautiful! There is a large cultivated sunflower garden I have admired on my way to work, owned and cared for by a couple who I would guess to be in their 70's. I had planned to pull into their driveway and ask for their permission to photograph their beautiful garden. Unfortunately, the last month of heat has pretty much killed their efforts.

  4. How neat that you'll be slathering the fragrant bounty of summer on to your toast - all winter.

    Lovely gold all there in the fields and beside the streams.

    Lovely pictures, Ruth.

  5. It's a yellow Friday.
    And that works for me, down here in HOT HOT HOT Pennsylvania.
    I had to water my flowers long and deep this evening.

  6. Jayne- the jelly is great!

    Ginger- I love that sunflower field. I drove there again to look at it today.

    Mary- That is too bad about the sunflower garden. I hope they were not counting on income from the seeds.

    Cathy- I am going to have to give some of the jelly away, but it will be a treat to have some in the middle of winter. I felt a little like a hunter-gatherer ;-)

    Donna- It is hot here too, a record 34C yesterday for the date (93F) That is not Canadian September weather. It is humid and smoggy too, but hopefully it will cool down next week. I am sure you are hotter than we are.

  7. I'm so impressed that you cooked your own wild grape jelly! Once I made "Oregon Grape" jelly, didn't put in enough sweetener, and boy, did that stuff pucker our mouths. But I enjoyed using fruit from native plants.

  8. Beautiful photos of the flowers!-I especially like the mysteriously planted Sunflowers.Good for you making that jelly!-I like grape jelly but Mrs. Welch makes it for me.

  9. Hi Ruth,
    Glad you've got some wild grape jelly now too.

    I love all your golden flower pictures. It seems most of the flowers now blooming in my yard are golden now too (except for a few purple and pink asters just starting to bloom).

  10. Africakid- Thanks. I felt like a pioneer, but was collecting wild fruit for pleasure, not for survival. These wild grapes were very sour too, but the sugar was sufficient in the recipe. I haven't had much success with artificial sweeteners in jams.

    Larry- Ruthie and Ruth could give Mrs Welch as run for her money! This jelly is really good.

    Ruthie- Thanks again for the idea. I like wild purple asters and haven't noticed many here yet. Even the wildflowers need more rain.


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