Northern Michigan Garden Maintenance, Renovation & Design
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09 May 2014

Daffodils

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I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
-William Wordsworth

18 Jun 2012

Insect World

Insect World
by Edgar A. Guest

We know so little. That whene’er I pass
I think I hear faint whisperings in the grass
From tiny creatures I can scarcely see
Out of their wisdom making fun of me.

Theirs is a world in which I cannot go,
A knowledge never given me to know.
Theirs is a purpose, baffling unto man,
And yet the ants appear to have a plan.

Earth is their home and I am sure they find
Charms and delights to which man’s eyes are blind.
Ants no doubt wonder why men never stay
To gaze on tiny splendors, just as they.

Nor do I think they envy us at all,
But count it God’s best blessing to be small,
For they possess within a patch of grass
A world of beauty mortals blindly pass.

20 Mar 2012

March

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March
William Wordsworth
The cock is crowing,
The stream is flowing,
The small birds twitter,
The lake doth glitter,
   The green field sleeps in the sun;
The oldest and youngest
Are at work with the strongest;
The cattle are grazing,
Their heads never raising;
   There are forty feeding like one!
					
Like an army defeated
The snow hath retreated,
And now doth fare ill
On the top of the bare hill;
   The Plowboy is whooping-anon-anon:
There's joy in the mountains;
There's life in the fountains;
Small clouds are sailing,
   The rain is over and gone!                    
20 Mar 2012

Chicory

 

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Being so plentiful, common even, chicory is often overlooked. Spotted along roadsides in Germany, it is known also as Wegwart, or “road plant.” It has many under appreciated attributes, here are a few:

The Flowers: With flowers the size of a silver dollar, chicory is most commonly appreciated as a colorful wildflower. At some stages sky blue, and at others pinkish, then white. The flowers were used as an unexpected yellow dye. A tea was often made from the flowers for medicinal purposes.

The Leaves: Chicory’s basal leaves have been eaten for thousands of years and still are. A Composite, part of a family of wild plants that are often used for salad greens. (Other members of the Composite family include endive, wild lettuces and the infamous dandelion.)

The Root: Especially useful, the root is in fact prized by the English and the French, who roast, grind, and flavor it with burnt sugar. This makes a coffee-like drink, or is added to coffee to enhance its flavor. Chicory was often used in place of coffee during both world wars. (Even Jubal Sackett, in the western by Louis L’amour, drank chicory!) Chicory has been called a contra-stimulant, correcting the effects of coffee. The young roots, which resemble carrots, can also be boiled and eaten as a root vegetable.

The Seeds: If the previously listed characteristics aren’t appealing enough for you, think of the appeal of the unsung chicory to the birds; goldfinches love chicory seeds!

 

Not in Ladies’ Gardens

Oh, not in Ladies’ gardens

My peasant posy!

Smile thy dear blue eyes,

Nor only– near to the skies–

In upland pastures dim and sweet–

But by the dusty road

Where tired feet

Toil to and fro,

Where flaunting Sin

May see thy heavenly hue

Or weary Sorrow look from thee

Toward a more tender hue.

–Margaret Deland (1857-1945)

We enjoyed reading “The Secrets of Wildflowers,” by Jack Sanders, in which we attained most of this information on chicory.

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