Northern Michigan Garden Maintenance, Renovation & Design
7100 E Traverse Hwy Traverse City, MI 49684
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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08 Mar 2012

“Return” by Edgar A. Guest

Christmas Rose
Hellebores, otherwise known as Christmas Roses, love shade and often bloom in winter or early spring.

Return
written by: Edgar A Guest

The robins soon will call again,
And high upon the wall again
And up and down the window frames,

We’ll see the ivy creep.

It’s getting on to spring again.
The birds are on the wing again.
Old Mother Earth is yawning now

And stretching in her sleep.

The tulips red and white again
Will make a lovely sight again,
And in between the shrubbery

The daffodils will gleam.

The daisies soon will grow again
Wherever mortals go again
And flower and fern will grace the banks

Of every running stream.

The skies will soon be blue again.
The trees in garments new again
Will cast their shadows on the grass

Where little children play.

As April warms the earth again
The flowers will come to birth again
Like smiles that follow all our fears

When trouble fades away.