Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wildflower Memories

I've been feeling a bit nostalgic these past few days--not something I get too often, as a rule. Maybe it's Summertime; the hot, languid days calling back some feelings from long ago. I want to swim on days like these: to get in a pool and feel the cool water and be refreshed! I could see me floating around on a couple of noodles, just relaxing away!

Before becoming a mom, I also used to go on long bike rides on days like these. It always felt good to have the breeze cool me as I rode. On the lonely back roads I'd watch the butterflies flit silently among the flowers which crowded the edges of the road.

The other day my son and I were back on one of those roads.  The flowers were there, as they always were.

I've loved this pretty little flower for years.  I used to call it "cornflower" in my mind, because in the big big box of Crayola Crayons (what an exciting moment, to open a new big box of crayons--all perfectly pointed, wrappers pristine...with that unmistakable smell!) there was a beautiful shade of blue almost that color called Cornflower.
So I finally learned that my pretty blue flower is actually Chicory.   I never knew!  Many years ago, I had a chocolate milk substitute, made by a friend's mother who was an early naturalist. She used fresh goat's milk, honey, and ground chicory to make a rich and flavorful drink.  It was nothing I was used to, but it tasted pretty good!  Trying chicory has crossed my mind over the years as a result.  If I dig some up and roast it, I'll let you know!

Also on my rides was another common flower I remembered from childhood.  Queen Anne's Lace, a lacy white flower many people probably know.  I remember it because when I pulled it up, the leaves looked and the root smelled like carrots--I could not get over how much it smelled like carrots when I was young.  Now, come to find out that Queen Anne's Lace and the carrots we eat are both  Daucus carota.  I knew they were related! 
I love how the light blue and white flowers sprinkle the edges of the road subtly--not blaring with color--understated, quiet, unnoticed by many who rush down the road.
Another of my favorites is the trumpet vine, or trumpet creeper, which grows wild along the back roads here.  Sometimes you can see a hummingbird visiting the flowers, poking a tiny beak inside for nectar.  I have wanted to grow it at home, but I just read that the vines can cause a rash.  I hadn't heard that before--does anyone have any experience with that?

I'd love to attract hummingbirds, but my sensitive skin would probably not handle an irritant vine.  I need to find that out before trying to grow it. 

Thanks for taking a little walk down memory lane with me!

1 comment:

  1. Trumpet vine can be very invasive sending up new shoots from an extensive root system.

    It seems enough people are sensitive to the plant for it to get another name - cow-itch. From what I've read most people suffer rashes after pruning the plant.


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