When I started taking road trips four years ago, I was propelled entirely by curiosity about the old roads. But with my camera in hand I slowly learned to see my surroundings – old bridges, historic houses, classic roadside businesses, neon signs, breathtaking views, and even the charm of the small town. But first I noticed the flowers growing along the roadside.
While I’ve learned to recognize some wildflowers, I still can’t name most of them. So if you recognize any of these flowers, please tell me what they are in the comments!
Fields full of flowers are hard to ignore, and are probably what caused me to notice roadside flowers in the first place. On my first US 50 trip this year, I came upon a field of these lavender and white flowers growing where Old US 50 splits from US 50 just east of Dillsboro. These flowers are small and were growing in a huge clump. It was hard to tell that the petals are of two colors until I got close to them.
I first noticed daylilies on one of my 2008 Michigan Road trips. They were hard to miss; I was standing next to a drainage ditch full of them while I photographed an old farmhouse. I was curious enough about them that I scoured the Internet until I learned what kind of flower they were. These were growing along a fence on US 50’s original path (now just a county road) east of Hayden.
I found a little Queen Anne’s Lace lurking next to a concrete arch bridge on a Putnam County country road. At least I think it’s Queen Anne’s Lace. I’ve read that this is also called the wild carrot. It has a long white taproot and is an ancestor of the domesticated carrot we eat.
My Putnam County bridge trip yielded the most flowers of any road trip this season. This blossom was a little weatherworn. I guessed that this might be thistle, but a little Googling revealed that I was wrong. Maybe you can fill in this blank for me.
I recognize this one, all right – Hybiscus siriacus, or Rose of Sharon. When I moved into my house, three enormous Rose of Sharon bushes were growing in my front yard near the property line. My neighbor, the master Hosta grower, complained about all the babies my prolific bushes were dumping into his gardens. When he needed to have a tree removed, he offered to pay to remove my bushes. I had no love for the bushes and wished to improve neighbor relations, so I agreed. Anyway, I photographed this flower next to one of Putnam County’s covered bridges.
This is another find from the Putnam County bridge trip. I feel kind of silly not knowing what kind of flower this is, because they are ubiquitous.
I found a bunch of these flowers growing on a county road south of Shoals that I’m pretty sure was US 50’s original route. Looking back through my US 50 posts, I promised that I’d write about this alignment, but never did! At any rate, as I framed this photo the bee flew onto the flower.
This is my favorite flower photo of the season. I like the depth of field I managed to get and the way the colors come together. Purple is my favorite color, too. These are phlox, and I don’t see them very often by the roadside. I like these flowers so much I wonder if I can grow them in my yard. I photographed these near the same Putnam County bridge where I found the Rose of Sharon.
Every year I find new (to me) varieties of flowers by the roadside. I look forward to finding more next year.