In search of inspiration this spring I visited a few very special spots for wildflowers. Luck has been with me and pretty much everywhere I turned a botanical show was just popping off. For me the best medicine to feeling out of sorts has always been to go out into the world away from the busy town and take in what is growing. In an opinion piece by Oliver Sachs in the NYT (published 4/18/19 but written in 2015) Sachs confirms the feeling that many of us share. “All of us have had the experience of wandering through a lush garden or a timeless desert, walking by a river or an ocean, or climbing a mountain and finding ourselves simultaneously calmed and reinvigorated, engaged in mind, refreshed in body and spirit. The importance of these physiological states on individual and community health is fundamental and wide-ranging.”
Seeing great swaths of goldfields, a tiny rich yellow daisy seems to be good medicine. This sunny member of the aster family blankets places where the soil is quite thin and the land has been wet. As the soil dries the tiny plants put on their out-sized show signaling pollinators to partake of the nectar bar. This great painting technique draws you in to see the strokes. Looking more closely you are rewarded with seeing other nearby plants. If you look close perhaps there will be a lighter colored yellow flower, say a small swath of butter and eggs intermingled. At a slightly different elevation or aspect there may be patches of owls clover, lupine, tidy tips, red maids – oh the things you’ll see! The time of writing is the first day of May and many places have passed their peak. But do not despair, there is still plenty to see. As the ground dries and the goldfields go to seed there will be other species to appreciate all they way through to the driest months of the year. “Clearly, nature calls to something very deep in us. Biophilia, the love of nature and living things, is an essential part of the human condition. Hortophilia, the desire to interact with, manage and tend nature, is also deeply instilled in us…..” O. Sachs. So nice to have validation from such a humanitarian thinker, an “ah ha” moment. YES must grow plants. Hope you all feel the same.