Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Color Purple

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Shug: “I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field and don’t notice it.” Ground Ivy in the backyard This quote came to mind as I surveyed our backyard this weekend, which desperately needed to be mowed. A carpet of purple covered nearly 2/3 of the open space. Kelly was amused, “What is it?” he asked me. I recognized it as one of the flowers identified in my Wildflowers of MN book by Stan Tekiela, but it had been years since I had looked up this particular diminutive wildflower. So I dug out my little book and flipped through it. It just so happened to be on the second page, in the blue/purple section. Ground Ivy, a member of the mint family. Square stems, leaves that smell like mint when torn or crushed. Spreads by rooting from the leaf nodes. Its leaves were once used to ferment beer. It is known to be an aggressive spreader, like many members of the mint family. Ivy I do not remember seeing so much of it in the backyard before. Then again, I have never left the back yard un-mowed this late in the season, either. Kelly had managed to get the front lawn mowed while I was stationed in CO for three months, for which I was grateful, since that was the green space that is open to public scrutiny. Nobody can see our backyard, surrounded by woods so thick even the next door neighbor can’t see through the foliage once the leaves are out. It’s possible most of the green that passed for grass in previous years had also been the ivy, but kept mowed, it had not had a chance flower. Ain't it perdy? I thought the purple backyard was delightful. Bumblebees buzzed around in it. Tiny toads and frogs hopped through it. After I mowed the front lawn and had handed the mower off to Kelly to do the back, I asked him if he would mind mowing around the patch of ivy, at least until it had finished flowering. It was just too delightful to mow down. Mowing around the ivy Kelly agreed. And so, we have a large spot of purple still gracing our back yard today. To many, it would be considered a patch of weeds worthy of a dousing with an herbicide. To us, it is delightful. And I think, God must be delighted, too. What colors are you noticing today? Cheers – Victoria

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