Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Pretty in Pink

After a week of tumultuous torrents, deluged with downpours, and rain that simply ceased to stop falling, the countryside was very, very green. And sodden. New shoots, buds, and sprouts had popped up everywhere, the landscape was like a continuous oasis, with mini waterfalls tumbling in places I'd never seen before, grass had grown a month's worth in a few days and I'd had to go out on to my patio every evening to empty the saucers from under the pot plants so they could drain.
Unfortunately this precipitation continued into the weekend. There was a Civil War reenactment that I wanted to see in Front Royal, but when I arrived the clouds burst open again to dump another couple of watery inches. From my warm dry car I watched sympathetically as confederate soldiers huddled together under porch roofs and shop doorways, collars pulled up high and their demonstration exhibits left to turn soggy on lawns and the roads, closed for the occasion. There were no spectators at all. I felt sorry for them and sat, happy to wait out the shower, but realizing after checking the forecast that this was going to continue through the day. There was supposed to be a battle reenactment at 1pm, but I hoped for the soldiers' sakes it would be cancelled. I left Front Royal and took the long route home through country lanes.
There were few cars on the roads so I pottered along slowly until I came to narrow gravel lanes with grass verges filled with a pretty pink, purple or white flower that reminded me of phlox. The rain had eased off a little so I took some photos with my jacket held over my head.
The Shenadoah River had burst its banks, muddy water spinning and tumbling down its course, with logs and other debris caught up in the current, eddying to who knows where. There were no fishermen along the banks today.
I looked up this flower when I got home, discovering that it is actually an invasive species, originally from Europe, but is also sold as an ornamental flower here. It seems to have escaped the confines of gardens and is now regarded as a 'pull-worthy' weed, taking over roadsides and woodland edges. It actually has a lovely fragrance and has been cultivated for its essential seed oil and used in perfumes. The young leaves are also rich in vitamin C and can be eaten in salads. When searching Google, most sites were bemoaning the plant's worth, encouraging people to yank it up and thwart its growth. But one site spoke of it only in favorable tones, but the published date was 1996...I guess Dame's Rocket has made itself a little too comfortable in the countryside, but I for one, was pleased to make its acquaintance today

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