We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, and we respect and honor with gratitude the land itself, the legacy of the ancestors, and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

St. Peter’s Wildflowers

“You belong among the wildflowers You belong in a boat out at sea Sail away, kill off the hours You belong somewhere you feel free” – Tom Petty

These pictures were originally taken 3 Mays ago plenty of sunshine with a warming trend.The date was May 2, 2021. Time to look for some wildflowers beneath our feet…

Ajuga. Also known as carpet bugleweed. This plant quickly fills in empty areas, smothering out weeds while adding exceptional foliage color and blooms. It’s also good for erosion control. The flowers of bugleweed are normally bluish to purple but they can be found in white as well.

Geraniums and Cranesbills are perennial plants that belong to the genus Geranium and thrive in temperate climates with cool summers and cool summer nights. They are generally easy to grow and constantly bloom over the season from spring to fall though they require well drained and moist soil.

The Star of Bethlehem is part of the Lily family, and blooms in late spring or early summer. It is native to the Mediterranean region and is similar to wild garlic. Its foliage has arching leaves but does not have the garlic odor when crushed.

Vinca seems to thrive even in the intense summer heat. Like speedwell is comes in a variety of colors – grape, blackberry, apricot, cherry red, and tangerine.

They do well in full sun to part shade, and can tolerate some drought, although they flower best with regular watering. The stems frequently take root where they touch the ground, enabling the plant to spread widely. They may be considered invasive in some regions

Speedwell flower comes in a array of vibrant blues, pinks, and white. It prefers a sunny location with well draining soil. The common name ‘Speedwell’ (Goodbye) refers to the rapid fall of the corollas if the flower spikes are picked.

Speedwell can be used as a wash for irritated or infected skin and as a gargle for mouth and throat soars. Recent studies have shown Speedwell tea may be an effective preventative treatment for stomach ulcers. Speedwell can also be used in herbal salves for chronic skin problems.

(White) Clover. Before the widespread use of herbicides, most lawns contained white clover. As it grows, clover ensures healthy turf by adding nitrogen to the soil and choking out weeds. This white clover is well suited to lawns as it is a low-growing variety and has good drought resistance.

Dandelion – Like other members of the family Asteraceae, they have very small flowers collected together into a composite flower head. Each single flower in a head is called a floret. In part due to their abundance, along with being a generalist species, dandelions are one of the most vital early spring nectar sources for a wide host of pollinators. Both species are edible in their entirety. The common name dandelion from the French ‘dent-de-lion’, meaning ‘lion’s tooth’ is also given to specific members of the genus. The flower heads are yellow to orange colored, and are open in the daytime, but closed at night.

In part due to their abundance, along with being a generalist species, dandelions are one of the most vital early spring nectar sources for a wide host of pollinator.

After flowering is finished, the dandelion flower head dries out for a day or two. The dried petals and stamens drop off, the bracts reflex (curve backwards), and the parachute ball opens into a full sphere. When development is complete, the mature seeds are attached to white, fluffy “parachutes” which easily detach from the seed head and glide by wind, dispersing.

Buttercups. Plants of the commonly named buttercup family grow in many different variations but most can be identified by their yellow cupped flowers and free-growing habit. The plants often climb or sprawl, with leaves arranged in spirals. Some may contain leaves without stipules and flowers with many stamens. It is poisonous to eat for humans and cattle, but when dry the poison is not active.

Buttercups close up.

The acrid taste of the leaves keeps this plant from being eaten by most wildlife. Buttercups at some point acquired the reputation of causing lunacy and were called crazy weeds. Holding the flower up to your neck on the night of a full moon was said to drive you insane. An old country custom is to hold a buttercup under your chin. If your chin shines yellow, you love butter.

Paulownia. They are present in much of China, south to northern Laos and Vietnam and are long cultivated elsewhere in eastern Asia, notably in Japan and Korea where they are native.

It was introduced to North America in 1844 from Europe and Asia where it was originally sought after as an exotic ornamental tree. Its fruits were also used as packaging material for goods shipped from East Asia to North America, leading to Paulownia groves where they were dumped near major ports.

The tree has not persisted prominently in US gardens, in part due to its overwintering brown fruits that some consider ugly.

Paulownia trees produce as many as 20 million tiny seeds per year. However, the seeds are very susceptible to soil biota and only colonize well on sterile soils (such as after a high temperature wildfire). Well-drained soil is also essential.

Iris – It takes its name from the Greek word for a rainbow, which is also the name for the Greek goddess of the rainbow, Iris.

It was said that she wore robes of many colors, just as the iris blooms in many colors. Since one of the duties of Iris was to lead the souls of women to the Elysian Fields after they died, the Greeks often put iris blossoms on the graves of their women. The word iris means “eye of heaven” and was given both to the center of the eye and to the goddess.

Irises are perennial plants, growing from creeping rhizomes (rhizomatous irises) or, in drier climates, from bulbs (bulbous irises). They have long, erect flowering stems which may be simple or branched, solid or hollow, and flattened or have a circular cross-section. The rhizomatous species usually have 3–10 basal sword-shaped leaves growing in dense clumps. The bulbous species have cylindrical, basal leaves.

Iris – The three sepals, which are usually spreading or droop downwards, are referred to as “falls”. They expand from their narrow base, the “claw” or “haft”, into a broader expanded portion (“limb” or “blade”) and can be adorned with veining, lines or dots. In the center of the blade, some of the rhizomatous irises have a “beard” (a tuft of short upright extensions growing in its midline), which are the plant’s filaments.