Roadside Bloomery Begins in Blue

Chicory blooms blue on the backroads
Chicory blooms blue on the backroads

It’s officially summer when the ride to town brings the Blurred Botany of the season.

There never seems to be a place to stop and pull off the road when the good shots come along. And if you do find a place to park with the engine running, when you finally get your lens in position for a prize-winner, somebody’s dogs start  raising Cain at the uncommon intrusion  into their turf.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Well, who knew that chicory had such a lovely bloom! Incredible photo. Thanks for all the nature that you bring us in your blog….And, about the dogs, bring treats..(smile)

  2. Chicory, or cornflowers as I (wrongly) grew up hearing them called, have been my favorites for a long, long time. Sparse, scrappy, leggy weeds found in dirt heaps and roadsides everywhere, they don’t last long when picked, fading so quickly that I have to simply love them where and how they are. They’re still the most perfect, clear hue of indefinable-blue I’ve ever known. Thanks for the great picture capturing their hidden-in-plain-sight beauty.