July 28, 2015

Behold I show you a great mystery...

Baby robin found my "secret" birdbath!
So I had this little mystery going on right under my nose!  Earlier this summer, nestled in amongst the honeysuckle and the cone-flowers was a little plant I didn't recognize.  Since I've been known on more than one occasion to plant a perennial and then promptly forget about it, I thought it best to leave the poor thing alone and see what it became.

But I didn't expect that, like Jack's miraculous beanstalk, it would grow...and grow...and then grow some more!  I tried to identify it online, but couldn't find anything that looked quite right.  I felt a little silly, because the more it grew, the more I was sure I was watering and giving shelter to some particularly vigorous weed!  I sent this photo to my mother, who wondered if it was some sort of rhubarb plant.  No...that didn't seem quite right.

Then a colleague of mine mentioned a plant in her garden that she was worried about...evidently it was quite large and rather nasty.  And by nasty I mean dangerous--evidently touching it and then rubbing your eyes could lead to permanent blindness!  What??!!  So of course I "googled" some more and discovered that perhaps it was the plant featured in the book I was currently reading!  Don't you love it when things like that happen?

But was my plant a giant hogweed?  I'd never heard of one before, outside of the English frolics of Professor Shandy et al (see the book above) and while Google insisted it existed in Wisconsin, my county wasn't listed.  Google also assured me that claims of blindness were correct, so I decided to not touch it until a definitive identification was reached.

Then on our last trip to Door County, during a hike I came upon this plant, which the ranger I identified as cow parsnip.  Hmmm, it looked a close cousin!  Maybe this was my plant?  The blooms were pretty, but evidently it still can cause skin irritation so I continued to give my monster plant a wide berth at home. 

And then this happened...

Followed in short order over the course of last week...

I am filled with chagrin.  I lived in Kansas for seven years during college and my first teaching job, and somehow failed to recognize...

a sunflower???  Take that, Curse of the Giant Hogweed!  Hello, Mr. Sunshine!  And special thanks to the little bird that kindly shared a seed in my garden...may you multiply and bring me all sorts of sunshine in my garden! 


No pitying/“Ah” for this one
—Alan Shapiro
No, nor a fierce hurrah
for what it does without choice,
for following the light
for the same reason the light follows it.

Just a thing rough to the touch, a face
like a thousand ticks turning their backs,
suckling at something you can’t see,
and a body like a tag off the earth

so that my child hands couldn’t tear it out
from the overgrown lot next door.
             My palms raw with the shock
of quills and spines. Its hold like spite, and ugly

except when seen from a distance—
a whole field of them by the highway,
an 80-mile-per-hour view
                           like a camera’s flash.
All of them like halos
without saints to weigh them down.

May your day be filled with sunshine, and a small mystery or two to keep life interesting!

1 comment:

  1. Love, love this! Another gorgeous mystery plant! Yours is a beauty, Martha.