Monday, April 5, 2010

I love pasqueflowers. The native crocus, I always thought... a short plant with a purple flower, over an inch long, that blooms early, at a time when your soul desperately needs to see something blooming. And, of course, Aldo Leopold immortalized them in A Sand County Almanac, giving their appearance in spring a new, almost patriotic dimension.

"Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher 'standard of living' is worth its cost in things natural, wild, and free.
"For us of in the minority, the opportunity to see geese is more important than television, and the chance to find a pasque-flower is a right as inalienable as free speech."

It was with that in mind that I sought out pasqueflowers for my own yard. It wasn't easy. The genetically native ones aren't that common even when you do find purveyors of native plants, and they're not growing plentifully so that you could go and dig one up someplace. I went to countless native plant sales... some had plant lists available, with pasqueflower on them... and then I arrived (right at the beginning, to be sure they didn't sell out, because I was certain that everyone else wanted these gems as much as I did) and found out that they never had pasqueflower in the first place. They thought they were going to, but... and I went to sales with no lists in hopes of finding one. In the end, over the years, I got 5 native ones and one from a garden center that was a little different. Some of them came back for a second year, but clearly, my place isn't good for pasqueflower. I have put them in 3 different areas, places that are sunny and shadier, and this year... none came back. I am a bit sad. I was still hopeful, see? I went out and looked each day at the spot where the nursery tags still poke out of the earth. I thought at least that not-quite-native one would come back, it was probably bred to live in a garden-type place. I thought maybe they were late and I really hadn't given up on them... until this morning. Returning to school, I saw this:
Not only has this pasqueflower emerged and bloomed, but the flowers are starting to brown! So I'm thinking mine are all dead. (It's probably partly due to me, though... I let things get too crowded; I can't bear to cut back the native plants I put in myself, even when they spread and make babies and get in the way of the other native plants. So I blame myself. Anyhow, I'm done with them. After 5 years, 6 plants, and many hours searching, I have resigned myself to the fact that pasqueflowers are among the plants that don't want to live in my yard, of which there are several. Oh, well.)

I'm sure I missed plenty of other things at school in my week away. One of them is the flowering of the little elm trees, which have apparently already shed their reproductive parts and are beginning to make seeds.
Here, almost-ready-to-do-something-exciting Juneberries and lilacs.
I'll let you know what else I've missed...

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