Monday, June 28, 2010

No apologies for plants

A few days ago some neighbourhood children asked if they could pick flowers from the plants that grow down by the road at my place. That was fine with me - I rather liked that they thought of the mostly groundcover plants as flowers. And it was funny that they asked while showing me the blooms already harvested into a small, green satin sac.

I took them 'round and showed them what to pick(or get scissors to cut) and what to watch out for.

We do have a rue plant out there. It has blue-green foliage that I love the scent of, but its stems exude a sap that, on the skin in sunlight, can cause painful blisters if you are sensitive to it. I am, but I keep the rue plants throughout the gardens because they are host to swallowtail butterfly eggs and larvae. I think I'll have to move the plant from the roadside, if children are going to be picking nearby. It had been planted there before I knew about the sap.

I showed them the oregano, which flowers white and is unusual for that. Lots of thyme, just coming into flower. Gorlden marguerites. And the soapwort is just about to bloom.

One little guy was a treat. When I pointed out the milkweed, he almost shouted. 'Hey! we learned about that in school!" So we talked about monarch butterflies.

All the children were attracted to the feverfew. Quite a few plants are in a sort of hedge and all are in bloom. I'm used to their sharp smell and like it, but when we went over I started to say to them that even though they had pretty white and yellow flowers they might seem sort of "stinky". And the little guy marched over, shoved his face into the mass of flowers and popped back up to say: "They aren't stinky, they smell fresh!"

Well, that'll teach me. I will never apologize for a plant. It is what it is. Never mind that a guidebook or provincial list says something is a weed (the milkweed - asclepias syriaca - will have clusters of pink flowers with a rich scent). Never mind that the cheerful feverfew blooms don't have a pretty scent; it is, afterall, a medicinal herb with leaves that are used to prevent headaches.

And anyway, the feverfew smells "fresh".

And I will never apologize again for a plant.

Best regards to all.

Why's woman

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