Monday, October 30, 2017

Summer flowers of Detroit

Yes, there are flowers growing in Detroit.

Last week I was reviewing my photographs from my 2015 urban exploration trip to Detroit and I discovered some flower pictures that I overlooked.

The scientific name for this resourceful orange and yellow flower is Linaria vulgaris, but it has several common names, which makes sense since it is native to a wide swath of Eurasia. Those names include butter and eggs and toadflax. I found this specimen growing out of a sidewalk crack on Russell Street next to the abandoned American Blower factory.

My friend Jennifer Nannetti, a former Detroiter, tells me that what you see here is a ghost garden. The old home is either in ruins or has been razed, but the bulbs remain. This Michigan-Martin home is now a burnt-out heap of rubble. Yet the daylilies persevere. As does a milkweed plant.

This daylily, a burgundy variety, was likely planted after the structure at Michigan and Trumbull in Corktown was torn down in 2009. If you are a baseball fan that street corner might sound familiar. That's because Tiger Stadium stood there for nearly 100 years. As I noted in a Marathon Pundit post two years ago, after what was originally Navin Field was demolished, volunteers built and maintained a first-rate ball field. But that's gone too, the new headquarters of the Detroit Police Athletic League is under construction on that hallowed ground.

As I noted in my Northwoods wildflowers post from earlier this month, I saw many wild sweet peas on the Keweenaw Peninsula on Michigan's Upper Peninsula. That trip was made this past July. Another name for this pinkish-purplish flower is the everlasting pea. This flower was found next to the forsaken C.F. Smith warehouse in Mexicantown. C.F. Smith was one of Detroit's largest grocery chains decades ago.

Back to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. I also saw a few bird vetch flowers.Cow vetch is another name for it. It's highly invasive--it even grows in Alaska. I came across this patch in Corktown too, next to the abandoned Michigan Central Station.

Of the flowers so far in this series only the milkweed plant in the second photo isn't native to either Europe, Asia, or both. But near the Packard plant, the largest abandoned factory in the world, I found a couple of American species. Woodland sunflowers have muscled in to this ghost garden. After all, it is a wildflower--acting wild.

As I've noted many times, the smooth sumac, although far more common east of the Continental Divide, is the only tree native to each of the 48 contiguous United States. That's a sumac drupe--I discovered this tree adjacent to railroad tracks behind the Packard factory.

These apples used to be blossoms. This apple tree grows across the street from the Motown Museum. The sign on the fence of this vacant home reads "attack dogs."

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