Friday, April 20, 2012

Medicine for a Weary Soul, A Walk in the Woods

Finally got a chance to walk in the woods last evening.
 It felt divinely wonderful. The sun was going down and the woods were cast in twilight.

Not what one expects to see in the woods, a black cat peered out at us as we walked by. 

A baby oak maple seems to glow in the colors of its new growth. 


Walking the woods is a balm for my soul. 

"A woodland path is good medicine for a weary walker. Soft, rolling steps along the path do not interrupt the harmony of the woods. Even the snort of the doe before she bounds away is to tell her fawn to lie low. Many pauses give time to hear and see in detail the call of a busy titmouse and the high-pitched whistle of the finch. This is Cherokee paradise - to stand quietly in aged timber and be so much a part of it. Even the tiny creek plays water-harps as it winds its way around clumps of dried leaves and slips over round stones that are a part of its past handiwork. This is a green cathedral with shafts of sunlight cutting through thick foliage to turn droplets of water into prisms of color. Nothing is out of place - not even the walker."


Mayapple Trail

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Faith,Hope and Charity, a Plant named Lungwort, Thou art my Life


I had thoughts of limiting my growing instincts this year; maybe letting some of the garden beds go back to lawn. That all changed the day the leaves flushed out on the maples and softened the skylines with a green/yellow mist like a watercolor. In this watercolor the dogwoods wore wreaths of white flowers and danced like graceful ballerinas alongside purple studded red-bud trees. All this beauty prompted me to take a country drive on my way back home from town. 

It seemed like the end to a perfect afternoon when I saw a sign in front of a garden that I have always admired that read, “Free plants, you dig.” I could not resist, I slowed down, stopped and got out. The gardener handed me a shovel. I dug. She is downsizing. I know that she is just a little bit further down the trail than I and for her, sanity has won out. 

I might join her in a year or two but for now insanity still reigns and I will make another go at it. Everything seems possible in the spring, even keeping an acre and a half of garden, weed free. I can do it!
The lady of the garden disappeared before I could ask her any questions. I became puzzled out in her garden and at one point I was trying to decide if a certain plant was a poppy or if I was digging up a slew of plain old thistles. There were lots of lamb’s ears, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, day-lilies, bee balm, yucca and hostas but what I found most interesting was a plant that I didn’t recognize at all. From a distance it seemed the color of bluebells. 

On closer assessment I found that they were not bluebells at all. They are shyer than bluebells and shorter. The entire plant is very hairy. It has splotched leaves and the flowers are enchanting little blossoms of blue, purple, raspberry and pink bells all tolling together in harmony.  I had never seen anything like it. I posted my picture to some gardening friends and sure enough one of them came up with the answer. Lungwort. Pulmonaria.
What a strangely named plant I thought and then spent some time looking up more about it when I was not nestling plants of it into my yard. It did not take too well to being moved and I had to coddle it. It begged to be planted in the shade and drooped if I didn’t keep its feet wet. I found out that this little beauty has other common names that are not so ugly sounding. One name for this little plant is Faith, Hope and Charity in reference to the blend of colors. Many of lungworts local names are biblical names, such as Mary’s Tears, Sage of Bethlehem, Jerusalem Cowslip, Lady Mary’s Tears, In the language of flowers this shy little plant means, Thou art my Life. Thou art my Life, how poetic!


Lungwort Article