An hour astride the ancient time- and water- and weather-worn rocks from which Rocky River derives its name is an hour of bliss for a lover of nature.
Among the many treats we experienced as we explored the river rocks were the wildflowers, not least among them the water willow, Justicia americana . Growing amidst the rocks, along the bank and even in the water itself, it seemed the water willow appreciated this delightful spot even more than we.
A member of the Acanthus family, just like the Carolina wild petunias we discovered last week, water willow's blossoms are as unique as they are beautiful. Growing in clusters at the tip of a spike-like stem, we found both double and quadruple blossoms, all with more buds poised to take their place when the time was right.
Blossoms a-beam in the bright sunlight, these lovely plants put on quite a show.
As we relished the spectacle, we had to wonder how we'd shared the earth so long with these fabulous creatures yet never made their acquaintance before...
In any case, we're glad to have set that wrong aright with this late spring Rocky River rendezvous.
As we depart, the willows and their shadows bid us adieu; see you next year? Sounds like a plan to me...