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Queen Anne's Lace from WI DNR website

Queen Anne's Lace from WI DNR website

I have been riding my bike each morning for the past couple weeks. It is the height of summer, a very dry summer here in Wisconsin. These conditions have been perfect for what seems to be the most glorious crop of Queen Anne’s Lace I’ve ever seen. This flower has always been one of my favorites. It is technically considered a weed by some. I like to think of it as a wonderful perennial that blooms in fields around my house. I don’t have it in my garden, but have often thought of adding some. It supposedly will spread and take over, not sure about that, but what this post is really about is the experience I’ve had each morning on my bike ride.

I go for about an hour and there is a path that cuts through the middle of a field near the river. It is lovely and wild and I often feel I am an intruder here cutting through an area that should belong to the butterflies, bees, snakes, mice and whatever else might be creeping around or buzzing past. I have seen some amazing sites on this ride, which I choose to do the same each day because it changes each day. Some mornings there are yellow canaries clinging to the stems of the thistles, which also grow tall and wild around the path. The sweet scent of clover still wet from the valuable morning dew perfumes the air as I pedal by. But the best part is the Queen Anne’s Lace, it’s tall willowy stems supporting the exquisite lacy, white caps, which turn to greet the sun as it travels through the sky each day.

In one area of the path the Queen Anne’s Lace is so high that it feels like I am a visitor to the court of the midsummer’s fairy queen and these are her lacy sentinels guarding her court and welcoming me in to the kingdom. I ponder and day dream on this as I ride past each morning. One day however, I am horrified to see that the keepers of the park have decided to mow down growth along this path, cutting a 3 foot swath of prickly brown destruction on either side. The queen’s sentinels have been cut down, her minions further off in the field still visible, but not the tallest guards who watched over the path. I am truly appalled and mourn the loss as if a friend has died. There are no more canaries near the path, the monarch butterflies are far off in the field not up close where I can see them. I am saddened and then angered…should I tell someone? Call my alderman, the park ranger? They would laugh at me and say the park must be kept civilized for all users.

I must say since that morning I have hesitated on my ride, even thinking of going elsewhere. But I do have hope that soon the August sun and the two days of rain we had will help the late summer flowers spring up, the lacy blooms replaced by goldenrod and asters. This gives me something to look forward to. I wait eagerly!

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