One day when I was a young teen, and unacquainted with the title of this piece, I went to the neighbor’s woods.
These woods were close. From our property I crossed one road and one field. Then I was in a patch of woods which included a pond. In the winter I ice skated here. It was a great place to let the imagination fly.
This particular day was in the fall. I’m not certain, but I think I was looking for a frog to take to school. No frogs as I walked all the way around the pond.
But on the way home. Still in the woods, I saw a tree branch hosting hundreds, actually thousands, of Monarch butterflies taking a rest during their migration.
Recently I attended an exhibit at our botanical garden featuring glass sculptures. The artist captured my experience.
We all have our favorite colors. And often they are the ones which look best on us. Perhaps they bring emphasis to eye color. Or compliment a skin tone. And once in a while — they’re just cheerful and fun.
But what if you like a color that does not flatter? Perhaps confine it to an accessory? Or use it around the home. Pick that red you love for an accent pillow. Or a few dishes. Or a piece of artwork.
I like green. And it is one of three or four colors which flatter. But it’s not popular. At least not in the bargain stores where I shop. So I have a few things. And then I fill the house with plants in the winter.
New addition this year. A gift from a relative. In a beautiful green skirt.
One of my favorite places to visit in St. Louis is the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Often an afternoon excursion to this refreshing place is a reward for meeting writing goals. It took several attempts and a few “dead ends” to find a reward without calories.
The Garden contains several different sections, featuring plants and plantings typical of different areas of the world or historical times. Often this blog will feature either a particular plant or a piece of public sculpture (permanent or temporary) present on a visit.
But the Garden is home to more. Bees, butterflies, and dragonflies dart between blossoms. Birds and squirrels and other small animals seek shelter within the fenced grounds. And fish thrive in the lake dominating the Japanese garden. And they need to share the lake with these residents.
This basking red-eared slider posed with a dragonfly. He and his friends entertain both young and old.
Posted in Blog
Tagged animals, Garden
Yes, you read the title correctly.
Recently I visited a tourist site as part of a day trip with an out-of-state guest. So I’m not sure if I caught the words correctly. So this may be a recommendation or it may have been a requirement. Either way, gardens were part of life for the early settlers in Missouri. So when the German immigrants arrived after several years in an Eastern city, it was natural that part of the association “rules” would include each family to have a garden.
The surprising part to me was not the idea of a garden. It was the specific amount of a specific crop. In addition to the usual beets, carrots, and potatoes, this group requested one hundred heads of cabbage be grown for each member of the household.
No — they were not going to sell coleslaw to their American neighbors. These were Germans. The great majority of the cabbage would be shredded, salted, and fermented into sauerkraut. The people who organized the immigration society determined that this was the amount of cabbage which needed to be grown to sustain a person through the winter and early spring until the garden was producing fresh vegetables again.
A demonstration garden of the German immigrants. The actual garden would have been larger, with more of these defined square planted areas. And several of them would have been row upon row of cabbage plants. Their primary source of several essential vitamins.
Posted in Blog
Tagged Garden, History
With a little imagination and humor, you can find them all on my plant stand.
From the left: spider, cabbage, rubber.
Yes, spring has arrived and will soon turn into summer. So I’m enjoying this brief time when the windows can be open, no jacket necessary to step outside, and the houseplants get put into summer quarters.
Unless the little critters – real animals – enjoy digging in the soft potting soil too much, I expect in several months, when warm temperatures turn cool, these will be larger. And then the decisions about which plant to put where in my limited window space will begin all over again.
Don’t like the first trio? Try the second.
Yes, I’m aware the animal is fake. But getting a chipmunk to sit in place is beyond my patience.
Posted in Blog
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?
Spring. Hope. New beginnings.
When gardeners young, old, amateur, professional, talented, and uncoordinated share dreams of bright flowers on hardy stems and vegetables forming and ripening before their eyes.
It’s early for most of us to go out and “play in the dirt” here. But I found a community garden which with the aid of plastic over hoops (now removed) gave these beauties a head start.
The race is on! Quick start garden. Now to keep the hungry rabbits away.
Posted in Blog
Tagged Garden, Seasons
Our warm, sunny days are limited now. Each day the sun rises a little later and sets a little sooner. But between those two markers is enough time to warm some air and raise a few spirits.
Today I’m featuring a tiny, helpful animal who takes advantage of warmth, sunshine, and late blooming plants. You’ll find them flitting from one colorful blossom to another. They’re searching for drops of nectar, a last burst of energy, before they need to pass the cycle of life to the next generation. Or, in the case of some species, migrate to a warmer climate.
If you can find a sunny patch of blooms I advise you to stand (or sit) very still and wait for them to appear. They may bring friends – bees and dragonflies. But the star of the show is the colorful, always-in-motion butterfly.
The first time I noticed the fruit on this shrub — it was a WOW moment and I looked for a name plate at the botanical garden. Beautyberry. How appropriate.
If you want to find it in the wild look in the forests of the Southeastern US. You may find them as far west as Texas and north into Missouri. In the spring and summer you may miss them. The leaves arrive rather late and the flower — while attractive to butterflies and bees — is often missed by humans.
You won’t miss them from mid-September to early November. The violet to magenta berries are a real attention grabber.
Hungry? Your competition for the berries will be a variety of birds. Deer prefer the leaves or to bed down among a clump of the bushes. While you may not enjoy the taste of a raw berry, it makes a mild jelly. Or — you could take a hint from the Native Americans and use crushed leaves to repel mosquitoes and a tea from root or leaf to comfort a variety of ailments.
Me? I’ll admire. Want to join me?
Beautyberry living up to it’s name.
Immigrants are not unusual in the United States. If you shake nearly any family tree you’ll find an immigrant or two fall out of one, two, or perhaps five or six generations past.
Many came from Europe by choice. They moved to improve their financial, religious, or educational opportunities. Some came from Africa against their will to labor for others. Asians were imported to work in agriculture and build railroads.
Not all immigrants survived. They became victims of disease, poverty, and accidents. A great many managed to carve a place for themselves and their children in this new land. A few accumulated fortunes and power.
They continue to arrive to this day — centuries after Jamestown, St. Augustine, and Plymouth.
And just a quick reminder. Not all immigrants are human. Consider this lovely import.
Mexican feather grass