poetry and prose about place

abandoned gardens: flowers, out of place

with 2 comments

A flower common in flower gardens is the yellow loosestrife (Lysimachia punctata). It is prized for its perennial nature and its whorls of bright yellow flowers. A closely related species, garden loosestrife (Lysimachia vulgaris), differs a little in the arrangement of its flowers and in other characteristics.


These flowers occasionally persist at abandoned home sites, or spread by the roots. As escapes, they look out of place, a bright spot in the green landscape.


We went for a drive in the countryside west of Woodstock in Carleton County last Friday and found two escaped patches of yellow loosestrife, one on the edge of a field along Green Road and one in the ditches in Watson Settlement.


16 green road lysimachi distance shot

a patch of yellow loosestrife in a field on the Green Road


large yellow loosestrife

Lysimachia punctata


slash of yellow

blooms in the crease

between sumac and hayfield

campion, Timothy, bedstraw and vetch

ladders of golden flowers escaped

from a garden now gone


10 green road lysimachia close-up

closeup of the patch of yellow loosestrife


At Watson Settlement, while I was photographing the flowers, a truck stopped to make certain we were OK. In the back of my mind, I was thinking about COVID-19 and social distancing, so although I chatted a bit, I didn’t ask the woman any questions. I could have talked to her about the history of the community and asked her about other garden escapes.


29 watson settlement road lysimachia

a patch of yellow loosestrife in a ditch in Watson Settlement


yellow loosestrife escape


In the ditch,

in the angle of two roads,

armloads of yellow loosestrife.


“Are you broken down?” she says.

“Hardly picked a cup

of wild strawberries this year.

But the Devil’s paint brush

is blooming again.”


I am afraid to ask,

in these days of social distancing,

about the yellow loosestrife,

about the community,

about garden escapes.


She smiles and drives on.

Unasked questions




28 watson settlement road lysimachia

yellow loosestrife in the ditch at Watson Settlement


 This work is supported by a Creation Grant from artsnb (the New Brunswick Arts Board)!


All my best,

please stay safe,


Written by jane tims

July 8, 2020 at 7:00 am

2 Responses

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  1. There is a patch of yellow loosestrife at the edge of my yard, and now I wonder how long it will live on after me. The orange daylilies came from the ditch in front of the grandmother’s house. Glad you are exploring abandoned places.

    Liked by 1 person

    Rose Burke

    July 9, 2020 at 2:52 pm

    • Some plants are very persistent. When garden plants are abandoned for any reason, they either die out, thrive in place or escape to a more supportive environment. Your yellow loosestrife may outlive us all!


      jane tims

      July 10, 2020 at 10:31 am

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