Reaching Out

Season's End

When I think of tall grass prairie, I think of dense ranks of tall plants, all reaching straight up to the sun.  And often, that is exactly what you will see.  However toward the end of the season I have noticed that some perfectly sturdy plants sort of flop over.  My theory is that this is how they assure their seed falls as far from them as possible.  It is a way to colonize new ground, and over time, it is how a population of plants could shift north to cope with global warming.  Incidentally I learned recently that sea creatures and even freshwater fish are on the move, shifting to the north.  Fishermen are starting to notice that the fish they are used to seeing at their favorite fishing hole are not necessarily there anymore!  But I digress.

When I saw this particular compass plant stretching out, I was struck by how graceful it was.  I painted it on a short but very wide canvas to emphasize the strong horizontal, and threw in some splotches of color that would be new england asters to balance out all that yellow, and that seemed to lift the mood of the piece which was looking a little somber.

I have compass plant growing in my garden, along with a few others in its family.  It works well in the back of a bed, and the birds and butterflies love it.  Just know that at the end of the season things can begin to look a little untidy!

Now  I’m hearing  Miranda Esmonde- White  saying, “Rrreeaaaach!” so I’m off to do my exercises….


  1. The purple does really make that yellow and gold pop!

    I used to watch her and stretch with her but stopped when I moved. I don’t know if she’s on here or not. I should look to see what exercise and stretching programs if any are on here. Winter is coming and I doubt I’ll go outside much knowing how much my body dislikes cold.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, same here. Also, I noticed that simply walking my daily mile or so wasn’t doing it anymore. The stretches really are strengthening my joints and helping me live pain free. Walking commercial, that’s me! 🙂
      Thanks, Deborah!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. A different member of that botanical family, the Maximilian sunflower, is normally erect but sometimes shows a tendency to lean

    or to get horizontal

    That species also grows in your area, so I’m wondering if you’ve observed it leaning or growing horizontally or even ending up on the ground.


  3. Beautiful colors and graceful curving stems. I really like the cropped flowers/leaves around the edges. On stretching, I do yoga daily, and a yoga class once or twice a week. Maybe I’ll do a sun salutation now…


      1. Yes, I do yoga – it has a lot to offer the mind and body. I started doing it for posture and flexibility, and it’s helped a lot with posture. I’m more fluid with the poses now. I’ve got pinched nerves anyway, but the poses don’t especially tweak them.


  4. I don’t remember encountering your compass plant, although I might not have recognized it. Silphium radula is more common here, and the S. laciniatum tends toward the east, into Louisiana. I like the curvaceousness of the plant in your painting, although I don’t remember ever seeing our rosinweed lopping over like that. As I recall, they tend to keep reaching for the sky, even after they’ve dried and produced their seed. But now I’m not sure; I’ll have to have a look.

    The purple and gold is lovely. It’s taken me some time, but I finally have come to enjoy those as autumn colors here, rather than the red, orange, and yellow I associate with the midwest. At this point, I don’t care what colors arrive, as long as autumn gets here.


    1. Thank you. Yes, fall can be pretty muted on the prairie, too, and oaks are often more shades of beige and brown with just hints of red here. Rosin weed doesn’t flop over, probably because it is shorter. I even see cup plant flop, and that is surprising given its buttressed stems. Compass plant is neat and so named because its leaves are lined up North-South. We’ve had some strong winds and heavy rainfall, so right now my garden is a mess of fallen joe-pye and maximillion sunflowers. Tsk. They fell all over the asters. 😦


  5. Beautiful 😊. I love that sense of reaching out in the undulating stems and petals, like tentacles. I also love that the deep purples emerge from the deep greens and become lighter purples (which probably have a more interesting name than lighter purples!)… and then the purples and yellows and oranges get to play together in the green… the way flowers do so well!

    I’ve been a bit reticent to do yoga or other stretching exercises lately, so thanks for that extra little bit of motivation! I’ve been starting to do a little here and there after 3 months of none at all. My body parts feel a bit weird!


    1. Thank you! 🙂
      Ha, I know what you mean. If I miss a day or two, ok, but more than that it is really hard to get back to it. BUT, it is working!!! My knees work again, when I thought maybe I’d need surgery. And I just got into a size 12 again, something I was beginning to think was long past. woohoo!


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