HORT travels

Exploring the horticultural beauty in every adventure.


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Defense

“No matter how intently one studies the hundred little dramas of the woods and meadows, one can never learn all the salient facts about any one of them.”

― Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There

green briar

Prickles and tendrils of our native Greenbriar (Smilax rotundifolia) along the Appalachian Trail on the way to the Pinnacle.

With the many types of media that surround us, the goings-on around the world filter into the everyday, and sometimes the every moment. Heartache and heartwarming happens with stories of how humans decide to interact with the world and people around them. Rarely do stories making the news include tales of people-plant interactions, yet these stories happen every day as well. Each second plants are interacting with the world around them whether it is with animals, humans (we are animals, yes?) fungi, or other plants they are constantly on the defense. Sort of like people lately, it seems.

Unlike people, plants cannot just get up and remove themselves from a situation (makes me wonder since people CAN do that, why don’t we do that more often?). But just like people, plants have developed a variety of ways to protect themselves from harm. And other residents in nature have found ways to exploit these defenses for their own survival.

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Violets

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One of the many violet color variations.

Once again I find myself on my local rail-trail. I am trying to get my heart-rate up so this meander will count as some form of exercise, but I keep stopping to look very closely at tiny little wildflowers blooming everywhere. It is truly like I stepped into a jewelry box. Virginia Bluebells coat the hillside in blues and pinks. White saxifrage, rue anemone and Dutchman’s britches dot the trailsides like scattered pearls. Various shades of jade and emerald are starting to appear on gray branches. The creek along the trail, very high after all these rains, slithers through the color like a gold chain. I should just go to a boring track, who can focus on fitness with all this beauty around?  Each time I squat down to investigate, that’s a rep…right? Today I am enamored by the violet. If I am going to take the jewelry box analogy just a little too far…these are the amethysts.

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Crocus

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Crocus

Not gonna lie – I was excited to see these little ones blooming along the Perkiomen Trail. I took this photo Tuesday March 11, 2014 while on a 6 mile walk on this 20 mile rail trail in Southeast Pennsylvania. Anyone who knows me knows I love winter and snow. We all know how snowy it has been in the northeast and mid atlantic. I have snowboarded, snow tubed, snow shoed and even turned my back deck steps into a sledding track, but I am running out of things to do in the snow. I am ready to plant my peas. I am ready to sift compost. I am ready for the skunk cabbage, which should be up already around me but isn’t yet. So when I saw these petite beauties blooming along the trail, I giggled and did a little dance (really!). Honey bees were as excited as me, floating in and out of pollen-filled flower after flower, in this sunny little haven. Ah, signs of spring, signs of life, signs of what’s next.

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