Sunday, April 25, 2010

Meeting Old Friends on the Way

Walking to church on this warm sunny morning, I met so many old friends on the way, I almost was late for Mass. Even if I had been, I don't think God would have minded, since God knows how much I love the little works of His creation, even if other people call them "weeds."

Field Chickweed is one of our few native chickweeds, and also a quite showy one. Relatively speaking, of course. Today they were spangling the grass below a huge White Oak in Congress Park.

Dear little Common Chickweed grows where little else will, even between the cracks in the hot dry sidewalk. Did you know that the young leaves of this chickweed are good in a salad? I wonder if they got their name because chickens love to eat them?

Thyme-leaved Sandwort loves the hot dry spots, as well, but opens its teeny tiny flowers for only an hour or so mid-day. And never on rainy dark ones.

Common Groundsel never really opens its yellow flowers, until they go to seed and then look like miniature Dandelions. But the color is bright enough for me to notice them in a flower bed and greet them before a gardener weeds them out. I have read that this plant contains alkaloids the cause liver damage to horses and cattle, but that smaller hervibores such as sheep, rabbits, and goats can consume them to no ill effect.

Crossing Congress Park, I was glad to see that the mowers had not yet slashed down these beautiful Cuckoo Flowers, sharing their spot of turf with purple Ground Ivy and sun-yellow Dandelions. The open flowers look snowy white, but the buds are a pretty pink.

The planters in front of St. Peter's Church have not yet been planted with summer flowers. That's how this almost invisibly tiny Purslane Speedwell managed to find a foothold. For the moment, anyway.

Most speedwells are some shade of blue with darker blue stripes, but this one is snowy white with no stripes at all. Or maybe just invisible ones that only the bees can see.


Ellen Rathbone said...

OH, Jackie, your photo of the common chickweed is soooo beautiful! I just might have to print it out.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Why thank you, Ellen. My camera was actually behaving the day I took this, and zeroed in clearly on even the naughty bits. Remember, this flower is maybe a quarter inch across. You're welcome to grab the photo off my blog, but I have a higher rez one I could mail you if you prefer.

troutbirder said...

Oh my. These close up views certainly show their beauty. I, however, must confess to a less tolerant view in my vegetable garden.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Hi troutbirder. The solution to Common Chickweeds in the vegetable garden? Eat them! The young leaves are delicious. The Mouse-ear variety may be a little too furry, though. Thanks for stopping by.