October. Autumn. Fall.
The season of harvest. And giving thanks for the harvest.
This little fellow appeared to be hard at work feasting and harvesting.
When I spied him at the local botanical garden, he impressed as a creature come to life from the pages of a children’s story book. And in case you can’t tell from the photo — he’s agile with a good sense of balance. The flowers he’s among vary in height from one to two feet. And they are on the edge of a lily pond.
One false step and he’s swimming next to a taro plant.
Nibble. Nibble. Stuff. Stuff. He samples the new flower fruits and pushes them into cheek pouches for transport to his burrow.
They enchant humans of all ages. A burst of color if you disturb them on a path. The flight from one welcoming blossom to another.
They don’t loiter at their work. Sip. Fly. Land. Sip.
It would be wise for us humans to pause in our own work long enough to notice them. Relax. Let them bring a smile to your face as they dance in the air on a sunny day.
These yellow flowers attracted delicate workers.
It’s the sort of thing her friends check for each spring.
Did she plant them again? Did last year’s crop reseed?
Either way, we all get an opportunity to enjoy. They begin, like most flowers, as tiny green things testing the spring temperatures. And then, if the spring rains cooperate, enjoy a burst of growth and stretch up, up, up.
Ah, they’ve reached it. Tendrils reach out and wrap around the wrought iron. Leaves expand. And to the spectators, it appears that overnight the porch railing becomes a living, joyous statement.
Glory not limited to the morning.
Quick. No serious thought. What’s your reaction to the photo?
When I saw this in person at the Missouri Botanical Garden — the first thing that popped into my mind:
POPCORN! You know, on the cob, lightly toasted.
I was wrong. It’s not popcorn at all. And I was a polite guest (I want to be welcome again) and did not nibble.
The name is: Anchomanes hookeri
Unless you live in Tropical Africa (or perhaps another tropical spot) don’t attempt to grow this in your backyard. But if you would happen to get it established, relax, it’s a perennial and will be back year after year.
Are you ambitious? Do you want to succeed?
Most people I know would answer yes to those questions. A few have achieved it. Others keep striving. And still others don’t recognize it in front of them.
You’ve heard about the steps. Get a good education. Work hard. Pay your dues in time and talent. Sometimes they leave out a step.
Do you enjoy your work? Can you imagine your life without doing ____?
Today’s glass and steel flower is exactly what you need…
Allow me to introduce PASSION.
Almost missed it. For the second year in a row. When I opened the notice Monday morning, the special Sunday night hours were over. But I wanted to go. So I re-arranged my day a little and went off to pay my respects.
One week can make a huge difference in some things. Children have a spurt of growth or learning. Construction takes a leap forward. And plants complete critical parts of their life cycle.
Our subject was growing faster than a teen boy on July 3.
One week later — oh, what a change.
Yes, it’s a Corpse Flower.
It was probably a good time to have a poor nose as I only caught a slight whiff of spoiled meat.
Three years as a 4-H member has given me many good memories. I also learned a lot in the projects I selected and in the whole club activities.
One year I selected a project called “Home Grounds Improvement”. As you can tell from the name, the emphasis was on doing items to make the outside of a house and the yard around it more attractive. We also needed to take an exhibit to the county fair — of flowers we’d grown.
Our family planted three trees in our recently expanded yard that year. The green ash died within the year. The Black Hills Spruce (the tree I claimed as my own) grew large, flourished, and survived past 50 years. The clump of White Birch (which I always referred to as mother’s) dominated the back yard as recently as 2015.
Then there were the flowers. Mother and I created a small flower garden – apart from the vegetable garden. It was a mix of annuals and perennials. And when it came time to sign up for the categories in the fair, I chose to exhibit a vase of perennials.
Did I say we had a puppy that year? Not an adult dog with enough knowledge to know their limits — no, this was an undisciplined canine youngster. He roamed free, like most farm dogs, every day.
And a mere week before the fair – well, he ROLLED, not just crashed through the row, but rolled over the gladiolus. We used Plan B – exhibiting our other perennial, the dahlia.
No puppies allowed!
You’ve heard the saying “Stop and smell the roses.”
It can be a polite way to request or advise a person to slow down and notice the world around them. When not moving at a blur…little bits of beauty (and scent)… have a chance to be noticed. And the beauty of the natural world, from either side of the building’s window, can have a calming effect.
On a recent vacation, I only took part of this advice to heart. I wanted to see more. A bus tour was great for an introduction to a new city. And while it didn’t really stop at he sight below — it did slow enough in traffic to capture an image.
Events happen fast. Good ones as well as the questionable experiences.
For example: last weekend. We had two beautiful, warm days without rain. Like hundreds of others, I paid a visit to the home improvement store. They were still adding items to the garden center while customers were loading up on some of the preliminary items – tools, patio blocks, paint, and outdoor furniture.
My own purchase — a new hose — fit right into the mix.
Clean out the old leaves and debris of the winter. Assess what will fit in the empty spaces between the living perennials. Plant the shepherd’s hook will the ground is soft. Figure out the hanging basket portion next week — or the week after. Check the current plants – azelea buds are looking good.
From bud to blossom.
The call to spend more time out of doors.
Not all invasions are negative.
Consider a patch of earth behind my building where “stump killer” was spilled. It’s powerful stuff. I’m not sure it killed the stump the person intended — but it killed all green and growing things in a several yard radius.
Mother Nature is tough. Leave her alone (or grant a little encouragement) and she can heal a multitude of wounds.
When the English ivy and another ground cover invaded — I smiled. We had plants. With roots which would at least slow down the erosion of the bare dirt.
I’m encouraging another invasion in my front flower bed. My favorite shade loving blossom is lily-of-the-valley. A co-worker gave me a few starter plants. Then several years later, a neighbor gifted me some lamb’s ears. They are advancing on each other.
Approaching plant battle?