Sunday, July 08, 2007

Sand Mystery

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

A few weeks back, Jo discovered this unusual Black-eyed Susan alongside our road out. We'd never seen a Black-eyed Susan with the red-brown color on the petals. After a bit of online research, we finally concluded that there is a great deal of variability in these flowers. The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center has a page of Black-eyed Susan photos that shows a wide variety of shapes, petal numbers and colors, including ones like "ours". This variation is normal if not common.

Even though we knew that seeds saved from this plant probably would not produce a new plant with the same color pattern, we decided to save the seeds anyway just to see what happened. Jo marked the plant with a stake with a bit of surveyor's tape wrapped around its top. She figured we'd collect the seeds when they'd dried. Little did we know that her marker would be interpreted as meaning "dump sand here".

I really don't know the whole story about why the sand came to be dumped on top of the wildflowers. All I know is this: Friday morning our neighbor's son, Halan Dean, drove down to ask if we'd ordered any sand. A guy with a dump truck load of sand was up at the top of the hill, but for some reason he wasn't clear as to who'd ordered the sand or where it needed to be delivered. Halan drove down to ask if it was ours in order to save the driver (and us) the hassle of getting a big truck turned around in our yard if we hadn't placed the order, which we had not. That's all I know. Why the sand was eventually dumped alongside the road in the woods, I don't know. I also know that the Black-eyed Susan with the red-tinted petals us underneath that sand pile.


BANDIT said...