I wonder if long-time gardeners and nature-lovers ever get jaded. Every year, the same flowers blooming. The same tree leafing out.
Does a gardener ever walk into her garden and say, “Oh, yeah. Another Penstemon blossom. Ho hum.”
“Look. Another bloom on my Sun Rose. Yawn.”
Could we ever get to the point in our lives when there are no thrills or surprises in the garden or during our hikes and walks through our communities?
I shudder to imagine. I like to think the majority of us who garden and hike have an ever-renewable reservoir of delight. What a sad thought that any of us could reach a point where flowers and plants lose their appeal. We'd rather eat a worm than see yet another blossom.
Even though I’ve seen millions of Bachelor Buttons and Salsify blooming in the foothills, each year when they come back, that little spark of enthusiasm ignites.
This past week, while taking the dogs for a hike, I passed by a concrete wall separating the city's flood drainage system from the road. Suddenly I stopped. I stared at it.
There in front of me was a Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) in bloom.
It was the first time I’d ever seen one in the foothills in Boise. Ten years of hiking all over the foothills here and one pops up just a quarter mile from my home!
In case you might not know, milkweed are the champions of pollinator-friendly plants. They support the monarch butterfly as well as other species of insects. The leaves of all milkweed species are the ONLY food that the caterpillars of American Monarch butterflies can eat. They’re not really a weed and they’re not invasive. Other myths about milkweed are dispelled on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service News website.
Sadly, the widespread use of herbicides to kill weeds in crops also kills off milkweeds. Statistics show that since 1966, the U.S. has lost enough milkweed habitat to cover the size of Texas.
Milkweeds are a marvelous plant with gorgeous flowers. Take a look at these twelve different types of Milkweed. Incredible! I’ve got a Butterflyweed (Aslepias tuberosa) just about ready to bloom in my backyard garden.
Here’s a great site to look at if you’re interested in growing milkweed from seed. And you can purchase milkweed seeds from the Xerces Society whose mission is to protect wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitats.
If I ever lose my capacity for joy and wonder at the gifts that nature brings us each year, I might as well pass on. Do you agree? What plant or flower has excited you recently?
My wildflower print design inspiration for this week, of course, is the Showy Milkweed. I created a lush, vibrant pattern that almost has a tropical vibe. And it's now available printed on a new Snoring Dog Studio outdoor pillow.
I also created a new Snoring Dog Studio canvas wrap, titled, "Showy Milkweed." It's available in two sizes.