I am off on my trip. I do not want you to forget me, so I have scheduled some simple flower "paintings" to go up every few days just for 'remembrance' until I return. I appreciate your tolerance with my Haiku.
If you have read the books or seen the series of movies of Harry Potter and his introduction into magic, you may remember the class where they are learning about the magic of plants. This has stimulated a little lesson plan for when my 10-year-old comes to visit this summer. I have a volunteer Podophyllum peltatum L. growing at the edge of my woods. It has common names such as Mayapple, Devil’s Apple, Hog-apple, IndianApple, American Mandrake, American May Apple,Racoonberry, and Wild Lemon.
In the book Harry takes a class on how to transplant the mandrake root, which (in actual folklore) has the reputation of screaming so loudly that it will drive humans permanently mad.
It is called May Apple because it blooms in May...duh!
It grows in shade areas rich with humus and seems to spread by runners, but I also understand you can grow it from seed (which I may try next year.) Since my plants grow in a rather innocuous place where an aggressive weed-eater or lawn mower can damage them, I have enclosed the area with a knee-high plant support fence! I may top dress it with more humus laden stuff this fall. Other than that, I do nothing for this plant. It is hardy and is found on woodland walks if you look carefully.
The simple flowers hide beneath those large palmate leaves, so you have to stick your nose down to see them. Later they form an edible fruit, and I hope to remember to take a photo of that when I return from my trip if the fruit is still handing around. According to botanical articles the plant is poisonous in some parts, used by herbalists with other, and the fruit itself is edible and was eaten by the American Indian. Here it probably is eaten by my box turtles! Check out your yard because it grows in many areas and there is a version on the European continent as well.
This day was a very windy day. Living in aged woods means that wind can grab and toss a large stick toward your head maybe wondering if you are good at fetching. I had spent the morning weeding chickweed which overpopulates my yard in the thousands, but is easy to pull. The wind was gusting strongly and I had to be aware if I was under a tree. Sometimes the branches would groan ominously. There were torn spring tips of the oaks and tulip poplars flung across the lawn. My two new roses were wilting with their baby growth as the wind sucked out all of the moisture from their tiny shiny green leaves.
In the later afternoon I decided to take a break and read on the deck with a glass of wine. The wind was cool, not cold, and intermittent. It sometimes got so strong and loud I watched my wine glass dance in fear. It drowned out the songbirds love calls, but not the osprey's challenge. The male osprey sat face to the wind and threw a piercing call as if challenging the wind to a duel. He was very strong in his opinions and try as it might the wind could not bend the sharpness of his cry. His loved one is now sitting on eggs and sat tucked tight in the nest missing the brunt of the breeze. The vultures that fly over my house were in heaven as their wings could catch these waves of strong air and thus soar faster than they could when they were just riding the warm rise of air on the milder days. Their shadows came across my book's pages distractingly as they turned toward the house and front yard in repeated circles. The wind even rocks the tops of the trees that do not yet have a full compliance of leaves. I wonder if it is shaking them down to their toes so that the roots loosen the soil and begin to lengthen. It is awesome to see 100 foot masts wave back and forth above my head. Most of the yellow petals of the tulip poplar have fallen like confetti to the ground all around. For a brief time bits of purple clouds held back the sun, but the wind shook them hard and they were compelled to release just a bit of rain and a few drops would fall on my bare feet and the deck and across the pages of my poetry book. Then the wind tore the purple cotton into mist and apart until they were just cotton tufts. Clearly on this spring day, mother nature, was not eager to let me read. Her goal was to break my concentration at every turn. " See," she seemed to shout. "See the robins egg blue sky against the purple clouds. See the yellow party confetti falling into your hair. See the vulture tip his wings back and forth as if signalling the war is over and he is returning home. Listen to the rush of air as it sails through the spring woods. Don't miss it. You can read some other time."