The morning was pleasantly breezy. As I snatched a wildflower guide plus pen and paper, I could feel that I was in for an adventure or two. This would be my first wildflower hunt, and I was somewhat new to identifying them, although I am an avid birder. But it sounded like fun, so I decided to try it. Since my brother and dad were not at home, only Mom and I went on our quest for wildflowers.

Photo © Kevin Shank.


Slipping through the fence, we were met with a gorgeous view of buttercups, red and white clover, and…um…I consulted my guide…and…oh…fleabanes! I had never heard a name like that, but Mom had.


A nice-sized patch of trumpet-shaped bugleweeds surrounded by mayweeds met my eyes as we strolled through the meadow.


“Oh,” cried Mom, “I need some of those,” and she began to pluck the cheery purple and white flowers.


They were a lovely sight, but the most beautiful flower of all was the blue and yellow forget-me-nots that grew profusely beside our meandering stream. Mom just had to take a handful, so enticing were they. Beside the forget-me-nots was a patch of watercress that my ducks occasionally feasted on. The blooms are not so pretty as some, but, by taking a closer look, you can glimpse a subtle beauty hidden in every flower.


Now although I was searching for flowers, I kept my ears tuned for any unusual bird song. It was there on the banks of the creek that I met the Great-crested Flycatcher for the second time in my life. He was sitting in a birch tree singing his song with his lemon-yellow breast swelling with joy. We both thought he looked beautiful.

Great-crested Flycatcher
Great-crested Flycatcher. Photo © Kevin Shank.


When he flew and we resumed our hunt, I found myself face to face with a patch of tiny white flowers. Saxifrages? Rue anemone? I couldn’t be sure, so I unwillingly left them unidentified.
“Hey, what are these?” Mom asked. I hurried over and saw her looking at a fern-like plant with rows of small purple flowers on delicate stems.


“Hmm, looks like vetches,” I said after studying flower and guide for some time.


By that time we had reached the end of our land along the south end of our stream, so we had to turn around. Just as we started to cross the meadow, I noticed a brush pile half in and half out of the water. In the sunny patches, I noticed numerous black spots. We saw, to our great surprise, they were baby painted turtles. There were at least ten black-shelled red-and-yellow-sided turtles. They were no bigger than quarters, and I thought they had probably just hatched.


When I threw a stick into the water, every one of them slipped silently into some safe haven.


As we tramped through the meadow, we encountered Gromwells, wild roses, and milkweed. Cleavers and mouse-ear chickweed were in abundance along the fencerow.

Now we came to the woods. It is home to various birds and wildflowers. The chirping of the birds accompanied by the quiet murmuring of the stream bordered by a thick carpet of violets made it a peaceful place indeed. Surrounding the violets were foamflowers and jewelweed.


By now we were getting tired and hot, so we decided to take a shortcut through an overgrown field. I’m glad we did, for there we found morning glories, milk thistles, goatsbeard, crown vetch, mallow, common groundsel, white mustard, smartweed, winter cress, chicory, and yellow sweet clover.

It had been a rewarding day, and I am ever so glad I participated. I learned that not all of nature’s beauty hops in the treetops, but some is at your feet.


It was with a happy sigh that I plopped onto the couch awaiting one of Mom’s delicious meals. Meanwhile I began to read Nature Friend.