Ditch Weed

Recently I was out riding my bike on the dirt roads where I live. The great thing about riding a mountain bike on dirt roads is that you can cover ground quickly but still slowly enough that you can look at all the things that you are riding past.

Right now, there are many wildflowers in bloom. Flowers like fireweed, the milkweeds, bergamot, Black-eyed Susans, bluebells, Culver’s root, sunflower and many others. Being familiar with flowers, a small spire of pink flowers by the roadside is like a huge neon sign saying, “look here.” I quickly double-back to confirm the flower I rode by was a small purple fringed orchid. Typically with flowers where there is one there are others.

I continue on my ride but am now on alert, scanning the ditches along the road but it takes a quarter of a mile before I spot another one. This plant is much taller and not as close to the edge of the road.

I return the next morning and begin to photograph the second plant I spotted the previous day. Not too far away from this plant are two more only they are barely as tall as the nearly waist deep sedges that they are growing amongst.

As I walk back to my vehicle I spot several more plants in the opposite ditch. One of these plants has flowers that have just a hint of purple to them. I take many photographs of this flower but the building wind is making framing and focusing incredibly difficult.

It was a good first experience photographing this orchid and hopefully I will get back out before it is done flowering for the season.

-EAK, July 2014