I read an article a couple months back about a library of hundreds of hand-drawn images of plants and their root systems maintained by Wageningen University, Netherlands. I followed the link to the library and was fascinated by the intricacy and detail of the drawings. You can check it out here. What struck me most was the fact that in order to get this level of detail on the root systems they actually excavated around certain plants to get the drawings as accurate as possible. That is mind-blowing…
The reason I bring this up now is to contrast those beautiful black-and-white drawings with what I’ve seen over the past couple weeks this spring–crazy colors! I was driving backroads in Bedford County the other day and was amazed at the spring colors exploding from our natural surroundings right now. I know fall usually gets the most attention for the ‘colors of the season’ but at that time, things were so colorful I had to stop and make a note to myself to tell someone about it.
The best part about it is that all that color is truly of the natural world, not planted, landscaped or massaged to death by those of us who think we know what beauty is. The yellow flowers of wild mustard, the purples of red buds and wild violets, the whites of dogwoods, serviceberry and many fruit trees and the multiple shades of green from young deciduous leaves, old evergreens and pasture grasses waking up from winter stopped me in my tracks…literally. None of that was planted for the purpose of providing color in the landscape, but wow, it surely does just that. It was one of those moments that made me take a deep breath and soak it all in, holding that energy for as long as I could.
Those that use the flowers on these plants have taken notice as well. Our fruit trees at the farm are already buzzing with bees and birds, the swallowtails are flitting and flying and our family of bluebirds have moved back in to the house right outside our kitchen window. That means it’s time to share love: prep those beds, mow those cover crops, spread that compost and start moving animals to fresh grass so they can enjoy these colors too!
Happy Earth Day!