September Wildflowers In The Wild

It is in September when the drive through the countryside on the weekly visit to see family becomes more than just a way to get from here to there.

During the drive on the week before, it was noticed that the fields beyond the fences were coloring up with the fall display of the native wildflowers of east Tennessee. The next time, we would remember to bring the camera.

And pull off of the road and actually get out of the car. Appropriate footwear required.

Some of these are familiar friends, like the goldenrod, Solidago ssp., ironweed, Vernonia ssp., snake root, Conoclinum ssp. and wild sunflowers, Heliopsis ssp. This larger white flower is unknown, does anyone recognize it?

These areas of wildlings exist amidst established housing developments. The above photos are of a golf course that decided to become another subdivision at the worst possible time, 2008. No houses were ever built, not even streets. Wildflowers returned to stake their native claim to the land. This low lying area includes several creeks that flood the marsh during heavy rainfalls, there would have been no building allowed here. It therefore cannot be mowed, a good thing. The wildflowers adore it.

Moving along now, having to shoot while driving since there is no place to pull over and there is more traffic. Yes, I am a menace even when not capturing the images of the natural scenery for the beauty is breathtaking in all seasons and I slow down to drink it in. Where was I? Oh, this is a cow/horse pasture with a man-dug watering hole that has filled with cattails. Even the wild grass is beautiful to me. Anything en masse.

This used to be a very sparsely populated area, west of Knoxville, populated mostly with horse ranches. The land has become much more valuable as housing real estate as the city pushed out of its boundaries, but empty acreage remains as there has been a lull in building.

Beyond the stand of Vernonia, and the field that will be cut for hay soon, are the signs of civilization. We are almost to our destination.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, er Fairegarden, wildlife abounds. This groundhog was seen from inside the addition, standing on a rickety wire fence that is supported by the brushpile at property’s edge, feasting on pokeberries. Stay away from my garden beds, please. We have enough diggers with the squirrels and voles.

Please join my friend Gail of Clay and Limestone on the fourth Wednesday of each month to share your wildflowers. She has a Mr. Linky to hold your treasures.


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23 Responses to September Wildflowers In The Wild

  1. Wow – what a beautiful array of wildflowers, the countryside around you looks almost British – – love the way the wildflowers re-populate derelict or unused areas – just how it should be.

    Thanks Elaine. It is beautiful, but the plants are all native to this area of Tennessee. Being in a wetland does make it more like England than the droughty slope of my own garden.

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    The countryside is gorgeous now. I too hope that Mr Groundhog doesn’t fall in love with the neighborhood. Maybe he is just passing through looking for a new home.

    Thanks Lisa. The beauty of the untamed places will last well into winter, as long as no one decides to bush hog or mow. I always cross my fingers that the grasses and flowers will be allowed to stand and dry. They are beautiful even without color. The groundhog was seen right next to the doors of the addition on the deck! I ran out and waved my arms and yelled. I hope he was skeered enough to go elsewhere!

  3. Randy Anderson says:

    Frances what a beautiful assortment of wildflowers you have shown us today. I have to do the same thing but I end up seeing all the fluttering creatures that find even the lowly Dandelion irresistible this time of year. It’s hard to leave all the beauty behind and continue to your destination. Randy

    Thanks Randy. I love driving by these places, even if the trip is slightly longer that way, worth the extra gas! Sometimes I am on the lookout for birds and butterflies, too. That requires a different camera and the tripod. No drive by shooting for those.

  4. Frances,

    You make me realize how much these wild areas are disappearing. I don’t even see the ditch lilies anymore.


    It’s true, Eileen. This area at the far western edge of Knoxville was being built up so quickly it was scary. That has slowed to a stop, for now.

  5. Gail says:

    Frances, I love the country side when it’s in bloom with Vernonia and Solidago. We are still lucky enough to have fields a short drive away~I can’t imagine being in a huge city with them hours away! The pretty white flower is another Asteraceae~Verbesina virginica. Also known as Frostweed. This is the cool plant that has the frozen ribbons erupting from the base of the plant on frosty fall morning. xxoogail

    Hi Gail, thanks for hosting the wildflower meme. It helps raise awareness of these beautiful spots that we are lucky enough to still have here in Tennessee. May it always be so. Thanks for the ID. Maybe I can collect some seeds later.

  6. Layanee says:

    I do love a drive don’t you? Your wildflowers are somewhat different than those of New England. Don’t you love that sense of place they define?

    I do love a drive in the country, yes, Layanee. I would love to see your wildflowers in person!

  7. Valerie says:

    i love to see the wildflowers along the side of the road. Right now there is a splashes of gold from the goldenrod and purple from the asters. It is beautiful to see. Wonderful photos. V

    Hi Valerie, thanks for joining in. This is a great time of year, the wildflowers are tall and colorful and can be seen from the car. I love the look of them and have spots in my garden trying to copy that vibe. Too bad I am also trying to grow a kajillion other things there as well, so can never duplicate them.

  8. Lola says:

    Fantastic ride Frances. I love to ride around the country side & take in all the beauty of nature. All those gorgeous colors.
    Cute little furry friend. Like to watch them.

    Thanks Lola. I love a drive in the country. The furry guy is NOT the friend of my garden. They can ruin the whole thing with digging in a short time. I am hoping my yelling and arm waving put the fear into him.

    Frances, I didn’t mean in your garden or anyone’s. They are cute in the wild. I’ve seen them in fields by the old farmstead going into the mtns. Also on side of road by our place we had in the mtns. yrs ago. I do like taking a “ride” with you. Thanks

    Dear Lola, I am sorry if I bit your head off about the groundhog. After that shot was taken, I saw him, I assume the same one, on my deck, right by the back door. I ran out and was as scary as is possible for me. I don’t mind seeing them out in the country, and often do. But they are a threat to my garden, big time.

  9. N OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Not a groundhog. Oh, wait. A groundhog is OK in nature,, just not my beds! Might the white wildflower be white crownbeard (Verbesina virginica)?

    I hear ya, Monica!!!!! NO to the groundhog, stay out of my garden! I think you are right about the white wildflower, Gail said the same ID.

  10. VP says:

    Isn’t it ironic how the vacant lots which were earmarked for building are now much more richly decorated with wildflowers? It’s a bit like mother nature’s getting her own back for us daring to think about concreting over her land!

    Hi VP, thanks for visiting. I agree, nature’s revenge! And oh so pretty this time of year, too. I know people need places to live, but really hate when a pristine and beautiful wildlife area is turned into a subdivision. Wetlands are protected here, thank goodness, and there is no building allowed on them.

  11. Leslie says:

    What a lovely drive you have! How fortunate for you , and the wildflowers, that the building slowed. I can just picture you wanting to pull over and not having a space…how frustrating!

    Thanks Leslie, it is truly the most beautiful time of year for these areas. I am always scouting for places to pull over, for future reference when I am out with the zoom camera and tripod. Drive by shooting won’t work for birds and butterflies.

  12. Barbarapc says:

    I love the vernonia with the solidago. Almost feel like I want to be a Barbara-vernonia-seed and spread some out in the fields I’ve visited. And Frances, I love it when a fellow blogger risks life and limb to get a good shot taking photos while driving to illustrate a story and then gets back home in one piece!

    Thanks Barbara. I am a menace when driving where there are pretty flowers blooming. Vernonia-Seed Barbara has a nice ring to it. It does seed quite easily, too!

  13. Town Mouse says:

    Oh, poetic justice indeed! A golf course becomes a wildflower meadow. Love it!

    Ironic, isn’t it, Town Mouse. This was never a highly maintained golf course, no big budget for lawn chemicals, and much of it is in a wetland anyway. I love how the wildflowers have taken it for themselves.

  14. commonweeder says:

    What a beautiful collection. I only have one wildflower today – and even that may not be properly identified. I have to get better at IDs.

    Thanks Pat. It is difficult to ID the wildflowers. I only know a few of the genus names. There are so many Solidagos, I couldn’t begin to tell one from the other. Gail gave me a wildflower book that really helped. One for your region could help you, as well.

  15. Marguerite says:

    Funny, I found myself thinking thank goodness for a recession so wildflowers can have their place. Strange thought but I do prefer flowers to subdivisions.

    Hi Marguerite, thanks for joining in. We need houses for people to live in, affordable ones, that is, but I am with you on rooting for the wildflowers here.

  16. A gorgeous collection of wildflowers for so late in the season! Here everything is turning golden brown, and our wildflower shows have been over for some weeks. I am grateful not to have groundhogs though, but I do feel your pain on the vole front! Mr. Groundhog does look rather entitled sitting there in your garden.

    Thanks CV. The season of fall is just beginning here, most of the leaves on the trees are still quite green and intact, but changes are beginning. The voles are a nuisance, although the hardware cloth in the one bed behind a wall worked well, I am happy to say. No fence is high enough for the climbing groundhogs, I’m afraid. Those large animals can do real damage in a short time. Eeeek!

  17. Rose says:

    Thanks for taking us along on this scenic drive, Frances! I’m sure I’m not the only one secretly pleased that the planned subdivision never came to pass. I, too, can be a rather distracted driver this time of year–I need a bumper sticker that says “I brake for wildflowers”:)

    Thanks for riding with me, Rose. I am glad you weren’t scared by my slowing down to get a better look at the wildflowers.

  18. I just love this time of year, when the countryside is decked out in its finery of purple and yellow. I’m impressed the Financier agreed to stop the car so you could take photos. The cessation of building is one of the silver linings of an economic downturn.

    Me too, MMD. But it was me at the wheel this time, so I could do as I pleased! This economy did stop the breakneck pace of development in this neck of the woods, but I believe it is only a matter of time before it resumes.

  19. I am often kicking myself at this time of year for not grabbing the camera when I head out the door. It is just all to beautiful to be contained only in our memories.

    Lovely shots!!!

    Thanks WMG. It’s not too late, put the camera next to your purse and car keys! I am so glad I did.

  20. says:

    Hi Gail–I secretly stalk your blog since I discovered it two years ago after I bought my first house and started my first garden here in Knoxville. I get so much inspiration from your garden, but I was totally surprised to see you were inspired by some of my “home” today! The farmland that you took photos of–the cattail pond, the switchgrass fields…is part of a 2000 acre working farm that I partially lease. We keep our horses at the barn there and we enjoy every day the luxury of having gorgeous land to ride on and enjoy. This farm is truly special and it belongs to a great family who has taken wonderful care of the land. The switchgrass is grown as an alternative fuel and it, along with those gorgeous wildflowers, will be cut and baled in November, but at least the flowers will have had time to do their “job” by then. I’m so glad to see you in my part of town. Maybe some day you can stop in and say hello to me and the horses!

    Hi Katie, thanks for visiting, although I am Frances, not Gail, a common mistake for some reason. Anyway, thanks for fleshing in the details of this beautiful piece of land. I was not sure about the type of grass, but did notice that it looked to be planted rather than just a wild mixture. It has been a delight all season, that switchgrass. I am so glad to hear that the owners are such good stewards of the earth. I would love to say “Hello!”.

  21. Carolyn♥ says:

    Oh I’ve loved this! Thanks for taking us along.The colors are always more brilliant in the cool of Autumn, don’t you think?

    Thanks Carolyn, for riding along. The light in fall is so much softer, the angle of the sun so much easier on the eyes and the colors more brilliant. I love all of the seasons, but Autumn is special.

  22. I am wholeheartedly passionate about gardening indoors and out and I love everything about it — the dirty work as well as the outcome. However, nothing is a stunning as a vista of naturally growing wild flowers. The variety of colors, textures, shapes, sizes, etc. is astounding. That’s why I spend most of my weekends driving around the countryside.

    I attempt to capture it all through photography but my photos are never nearly as good as yours.

    thanks Hanna. I am completely on the same page with you, giving my all for my own garden, but knowing that the natural plantings are the REAL garden genius. About the photos, I am a point and shoot on auto, but take hundreds if not more shots to get a couple of decent ones. Keep trying!

  23. Hannah says:

    I feel for you with the groundhog showing up. I have voles, moles, mice, rabbits, squirrels, and deer, that’s enough. I had a lot of vole destruction last year, whole bean, squash, and cucumber plants nipped off at the ground, so I tried interplanting beans with tomatoes, peppers and eggplant this year and putting more lava rock in the planting holes and had very little damage, I was amazed. Lava rock is scratchy and doesn’t feel good on their paws, and it doesn’t dissipate or go away. I saved my daylilies with it too. I don’t know that it would have any impact on a groundhog though. Lovely flowers, I had been wondering about growing Vernonia.

    Thanks Hannah, for the sympathy. That is good to know about the lava rock, I will give it a try! We have horrible vole issues here, and squirrels burying walnuts. Vernonia is the darkest, richest purple, a mighty fine plant.

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