At Groundhog Hill, the Zinnia, Marigold and Sunflower may not yet be in bloom, but the Wildflowers certainly are: Black-Eyed Susan, Queen Anne’s Lace (aka, Chiggers), Daisy, and Corn Flowers dot the landscape surrounding the garden and nearby Nolynn Creek.
Since the County Fair is in June this year, I may have to cut a bouquet and enter it in the Floral Hall since nothing else is ready. (Although, I could enterPhotos of Zinnias, Marigolds and Sunflowers!) Next year, I am hoping Kentucky’s oldest continuous County Fair will be returned to its traditional August dates so I can actually enter some produce in the Ag displays.
Black-eyed Susan is also known as “Rudbeckia,” which is the Latin word for this member of the Aster family of flowers. One would think it would be nicknamed Black-eyed Becky, but apparently, Susan won out. The Research Department at Groundhog Hill (Employees: One Human, Two Cats) has concluded after extensive reading of old scrolls and parchments that the Susan for whom this flower is named was most likely Irish since another nickname is “Irish Eyes.” B-E Susan also goes by the name of “Prairie Sun” and “Gloriosa Daisy.” That’s a lot of aliases for one wildflower that is known for its ability to attract butterflies.
Naturally, I wonder who is this ancient Irish Susan, and did she have black eyes or was she given a black eye by a tyrant king (or some rowdy siblings), and if she was, well that’s a very politically incorrect name for a flower that might potentially celebrate assault and battery. So, we’re back to “Rubbeckia.”
I was surprised to learn that Queen Anne’s Lace is related to Carrots. Apparently, if you pull up this wildflower, the bruised roots emit a carrot fragrance (per the Farmers Almanac). Of course, I’ve grown up calling this wildflower by the name of Chiggers.
Chiggers are actually the tiny bugs, or mites, that like to nest in Queen Anne’s Lace and to wait for humans to pass by so they can then nest on them. Hence, Chigger Bites.
On second thought, I doubt I will pull up any QAL by its roots to check for Carrot aroma. However, I’ve always heard that spritzing the flower with hairspray will remove the bugs. (Note to Self: Ask sister if she has a can of hairspray from the ’70s I could borrow.)
Luckily, wild Daisies are just that: Daisies. Simple and beautiful. You can pick them and make a chain (again, probably best to hit ’em with some hairspray…sorry, Ozone Layer!).
So while the garden grows and the Zinnia fight the Johnson Grass for territory, I feel lucky to admire the other delightful flowers in the area. Just don’t get too close.