Beloved Botanicals

My favorite flowers are in bloom. I'm so happy!

Living gems with cute parasol leaves. There's nothing like nasturtiums. And you can eat them! (My daughter keeps volunteering to eat these, but I won't let her yet. They're too lovely and cheerful!)

My brain is pretty fried these days from parenting and work and paying bills and generally being a grown-up. But one thing that has always made me happy, and still does, is checking out the amazing plants that happen to be growing where I live. Taking a tour around the garden never fails to cheer me up and get me excited. (And I say "happen to be growing" very seriously. I love weeds just as much as cultivated plants, and am not a great gardener.) I like to get out my Peterson Field Guides and do some on-the-fly plant research. I did it today just before dinner. That's how I roll.

This is purslane, which usually shows up in our herb garden--this is the first time I've seen it in 2012. Yay! Purslane is an edible succulent with cute paddle shaped leaves. I can't wait to sneak some into a salad someday soon.

This is a wild lettuce. My Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants says you can eat the young leaves boiled or raw, but even when young they are a little bitter. What I like about wild lettuce is that it's a monster--this one is almost to the top of a 6-foot fence. The guide says they can reach 15 feet tall. !!!

I decided this was pokeweed, and was very pleased to find I was right. Those whitish flowers will turn to sprays of blue-black berries in the fall. (Mom, these are the things growing by your herb garden.) This is another tall plant.

My beloved mugwort is just starting to bloom, these are her tiny, luminous buds. This is a midsummer bloomer (like St. John's Wort). And another TALL plant--she is already taller than my head and not done yet. I planted her from seed back when we lived somewhere else, and returned to dig up part of the plant for our new home. She is thriving and spreading and I believe has a protective, benevolent influence over the whole property. Big ups to Mme. Mugwort!!

How adorable to find a purple twist of morning glory climbing among the mugwort. I adore this photo. I took it with a phone!!

Do you have strong feelings about weeds? How about Field Guides? I find Field Guides fascinating. They are so organized and full of neat facts and images. I wish more information could be presented this way.

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