Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ode to the Plant Kingdom


Years ago I worked as a traveling photographer driving to various cities in California and Oregon. Before or after my assignments I'd go to the local nurseries just to look at the plants. I'd stroll up and down the aisles soaking up the colors, shapes, and fragrances of the various plants. Sometimes I'd take my hand and lightly brush against the foliage of a plant I found interesting. If I saw a plant I didn't recognize I'd read the label and think about how the plant would fit into the landscape. Oh how I loved visiting nurseries just to be close to all the different plants.


Before that job I worked as a landscape contractor and I studied and used plants from that perspective. I'd search for just the right plant for a particular spot in urban and country gardens. I particularly liked finding a little used plant which might make the landscape design even more interesting. There were always the challenges of finding a plant which needed shade or sun or one that didn't grow too tall, or perhaps didn't need much water. And yet there were always several choices I could find to fit any location or style of garden. Years after designing a landscape I was always amazed at how the plants rewarded the owners by enhancing their surroundings.


Still earlier in time when I worked in various office settings, I'd walk to parks at the noon hour and eat my lunch on a bench just to be surrounded by some greenery. It struck me as almost a miracle how the plants could survive in what seemed such a harsh environment. Tall buildings were blocking the sun, and concrete and asphalt pavings covered much of the ground around them. On weekends I'd visit botanical gardens and arboretums admiring plants from different parts of the world. All over the world the plants made the earth a better place to live.


As a young child playing out of doors I'd have my imaginary tea parties and serve oaxalis on small aluminum plates to my brothers and sister. I'm not sure how I knew the plant wasn't poisonous, especially since it was so sour to eat, but I just knew. I'd hike in the woods surveying the shrubs and flowering plants growing in the different seasons. One year I remember I admired the lowly violet and brought one home to pot up in the Autumn. I put the plant in a window sill and it rewarded me by out growing it's container many times over. I had to divide it constantly over the winter. By Spring every window sill was filled and my mother told me we'd have to start giving the plants away.


Today I was going to tell you about a few more herbs I purchased to put in my garden; guess I'll save that for another time. Somehow I started thinking about my love of plants and how they've rewarded me through the years and just had to tell you about that. They've provided me with relaxation, food, medicines, perfumes, shade, beauty, and more. I never really thought about how much I've received from the plant kingdom throughout my life. So today I'm paying homage with this ode to the plant kingdom. The photos you see here are plants I've grown and admired over the years. Strange they're all purple, even the violet and wood sorrel have purple flowers. I do love the color purple. I can't imagine a world without plants surrounding me, can you?

21 comments:

  1. Lovely post, and it brought back memories of the time when I served up petals on doll's house plates. We are too old now to do much in the garden, but yesterday, with our four days of sun that is probably going to be our summer, we sat outside and I actually dug up a flower, a Christmas Rose we call it, and planted it somewhere else to help it survive. Felt like a great achievement. :0)

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  2. loooove those such amazing spring colours!!!

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  3. Hi Carole, thanks, I had forgotten about that tea set or eating the oaxalis till today. Ha. I'm not able to do much in the garden like I used to but luckily I have some raised block beds where I can plant the vegetables and herbs and harvest them easily. Only four days of sun, Oh I couldn't bear that. Would have moved to Oregon, but the fog would have me down too much of the time.

    Hi Elena, thanks, yes I love these purple colors especially the morning glory which is so soft looking.

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  4. you have many talents Linda!

    Have you watched the program about a Man named Pearl in SC who has a yard that he built from tossed out plants? Check it out on net flicks when you can.

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  5. So nice to learn more about you. The pictures are beautiful. In my garden I have mostly white and purple flowers and a life without plants NO. Have a great day.

    Hugs
    Elna

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  6. WOW! I so enjoyed reading this. Your artichoke is amazing! I've never seen one before. I love to visit botanical gardens and public parks too. I sometimes eat lunch there. How fascinating it was to work as a landscape contractor!! It must have been very rewarding and fun!!

    PS I love the colorful happy Buddha! I'm sure he brings happiness to people!!

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  7. wow Linda what a diverse and interesting time you have had. I love plants but I'm not a great gardener, unlike my parents who both were great gardeners and even ran a market garden for many years - the skill seems to have skipped a generation :^) thanks for your story and photos..

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  8. I once thought of RV'ing full time till I realized I would be unable to garden. It does give so much pleasure.
    The artichoke surprised me. Who knew such a homely plant could have such a beautiful flower.

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  9. Your love of nature always shines through your posts - so nice to learn a little more about the young Linda and how that love was there from the start. The artichoke flower is very surprising and beautiful!

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  10. So many people who work with clay also love to garden, it seems like a natural connection. Thanks for the insight into you and the beautiful pictures.

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  11. Good timing...I was just wondering how you brought "blue" into Blue Starr pottery, and now I've enjoyed many shades of lavender, purple and blue flowers. Yes, that's your color scheme definitely. Thanks for sharing beauty!

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  12. Lovely post and beautiful photographs Linda! I would love to pick your brain about which herbs I should grow here for natural wool dyes.

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  13. beautiful post! it reminded me of when i worked at a community school in one of the larger NH cities... I parked in the same spot behind the building everyday. One morning I noticed a plant growing in a crack in the pavement. it looked like a tomato plant! Sure enough it was and by mid-summer it grew one nice big red tomato. Totally amazed my with it's tenacity.

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  14. Thanks for the lovely pictures and memories. There was a small wood behind a plant where I worked. I found jack in the pulpits there. When they went to dig it all up for a plant expansion I tried to rescue some of the little fellows, but they were just too fragile for my clumsy transplantation efforts.

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  15. I love reading your site so I've nominated you for the Illuminating Blogger Award for illuminating, informative blog content. You can check out the details at my site ... http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/ ... Have a great day!

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  16. I love reading your site so I've nominated you for the Illuminating Blogger Award for illuminating, informative blog content. You can check out the details at my site ... http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/ ... Have a great day!

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  17. Hi Meredith, thanks, no I haven't seen a man named Pearl, sounds interesting; we don't get net flicks, but maybe we will one of these days.

    Hi Elna, thanks, what a garden you must have with those two colors together, serene for sure.

    Hi Sapphire, thanks, I wonder if the plants know we love them so? It is a pleasure to be able to go to the gardens when working in a city isn't it. I used to work in San Francisco and there were always little places to steal away from the hustle and bustle of the city; I'll bet the same is true for you there in Japan.

    Hi Anna, thanks, but you have posted so many flowers on your blog I would have thought you were an avid gardener.

    Hi Patti, thanks, I planted artichokes in Springville and forgot about them and got one flower so I never did harvest any more of them, I just let them flower because they were so beautiful I couldn't bear to stop them from flowering.

    Hi Elaine, thanks, I was truly amazed at that flower the first time I saw it too. the artichoke is a very strong structural plant, one of the things I love about it.

    Hi Lori, thanks, sometimes when I write here I get some insight into myself too. Ha.

    Hi Barbara, thanks, if you do a search on my blog you will find a post about Blue and that is where the name came from - Gary's and my first dog had that name.

    Hi Julia, thanks, I know madder, indigo, larkspur, beets and onion skins make dye but not sure of others; I have a book around here somewhere about natural dyes, but I bet a search on the net would garner more than I could provide.

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  18. Hi Michele, thanks, amazing that tomato survived, plants are truly amazing for sure.

    Oh Joanne, thanks, jack in the pulpits, too bad some conservation group didn't learn of that they might have been able to rescue them, I am supposing that they are rare indeed, I have never seen one in the wild, perhaps one day I will.

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  19. Hi CJ, thanks for the award, I'll stop on by; be sure to click the tab for recipes on my top bar so see some more illuminating foods. Ha.

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  20. Linda your photography is gorgeous. Wonderful shots you got here!

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  21. Hi Denise, thanks, I love taking photos, the more I take the more likely I get a few good ones. Ha.

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