Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Spring Gift

up the
in the
wagon any
time of year
is wonderful,
but Spring
has a special
way of
bringing all
of your
senses alive.

It is a short half mile walk down our lane out to the main road, and we rarely venture across the road on foot. So it always astounds me how many things there are to observe, collect, and study here on our eleven acres. I think it helps that all of our neighbors have at least ten acres, with one having forty, and another a little over one hundred. We are more wild than most places I would think. It seems like just about anything you place in the ground here grows, and even so called annuals decide that they would rather belong to the perennial family here in the Ohio River Valley. A few days ago we decided to walk up to my Mother in Laws herb garden which is now ablaze in bulbs. We do not yet have blooming tulips here at Hawk's Run but Nanny does and Wren loves their cheerful colors and full blooms. We stopped at our usual haunts along the way looking for our huge snapping turtle in the creek bed that runs between the two lakes. He was no where to be seen. We saw the crayfish mounds but, alas, no crayfish. The lakes always promise good clear views of large fish which the kids like to watch.Canadian geese and our Great Blue Heron are always on hand. When we arrived at the herb garden, the tulips had just fully opened. Daffodils and Hyacinth were a plenty too in bright shades of yellow and purplely pink. Something caught my eye at the corner of the fence rail in a place where one of my favorite plants is always in bloom during summer. I have never known its name. I went over for a closer look because I had never noticed its magnificence in Spring. It had what can only be described as great under structure, just the kind of plant that allows a winter garden to still look amazing in its quiet sleep. Wren's fingers reached out and all of a sudden we heard the most wondrous rattling. Hundreds of seed pods were all going off at once.

Right about this time came along our good friend and most amazing potter who works his own kind of magic at my husband's family business. Always keen to talk gardening and clay, he asked if I knew what we were rattling. My puzzled look gave away my ignorance. He explained that it was False Indigo, and the plant itself could be used to dye wool or cotton. This further peaked my interest. He showed me how how to open the pods and obtain the seeds. Sure enough, a few pods contained enough seeds to grow a pasture of these beautiful wildflowers. He mentioned that it was too bad I didn't have anything to put the seeds in. I immediately procured from my pocket a small cardboard container- after all this is what being a mom is all about right? Be ready for anything!

Like a small bush, False Indigo reaches a diameter of about three to four feet so they need quite a bit of room to grow well. We are trying our hand at growing this wildflower for planting out at the end of Spring. I cannot wait to watch them grow to full height. I may have to wait a few years to see it in bloom but I feel it is well worth the wait. And in the meantime, we can still visit our trusted plant at the herb garden down the lane.

Pictures of Baptisia australis, or False Indigo, flowers and seed pods from Easywildflowers.com. They offer lots of good growing advice and you may also purchase seeds from them directly.

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