plant birthdays

“Dandelions” by Jean-François Millet

During every week from April to September there are, on the average, ten wild plants coming into first bloom. In June as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day. No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them. He who steps unseeing on May dandelions may be hauled up short by August ragweed pollen; he who ignores the ruddy haze of April elms may skid his car on the fallen corollas of June catalpas. Tell me of what plant-birthday a man takes notice, and I shall tell you a good deal about his vocation, his hobbies, his hay fever, and the general level of his ecological education.
~ Aldo Leopold
(A Sand County Almanac, and Sketches Here & There)

14 thoughts on “plant birthdays”

  1. The painting takes my breath away – I wish I could enter the canvas – I’m sure there are special beings flittering amidst the dandelions. I try to notice all the wildflowers, but know I miss many. Here’s to natural beauty and delight.

    1. Amen! Natural beauty and delight are some of the simple pleasures that make life so sweet and precious. Sometimes it’s fun to put the camera on the ground and capture a bug’s eye view of the world. Maybe this artist spent some time lying on the ground, too.

  2. New buds, new blooms. Plant birthdays, how can anyone ignore! That’s a thoughtful message..I like the painting too. Such treasure! Thank you, Barbara.

    1. You’re welcome, Sonali! It seems like there must be something blooming somewhere at all times on this planet – so many blossom blessings (and curses!) to enjoy… 🙂

  3. Love love love the painting and the quote is brilliant – especially the last sentence… “Plant birthdays”.
    I know Millet – we have a few of his paintings in our museum – but I’ve never seen this one before.

    hooray to see the celebration of dandelions. Have you ever eaten them? They have a bitter taste but are really healthy and well worth trying. I cannot imagine why we decided they were weeds and had to be eradicated.

    1. I also think that this painting and quote are wonderful. I love the taste of dandelions–and had them twice this year. Now they are blooming and past their prime for eating. The season is often so fleeting for wild food delicacies.

      1. Sheryl, did you have your dandelions in a salad? Did you buy them or pick them wild? I’m happy you enjoyed the painting and quote. It does seem that the best foods are seasonal and it probably makes the most amount of sense to eat them while they are in season – nature’s way of giving us variety so we don’t get into a rut and become dangerously dependent on a monoculture food source.

    2. Rosie, it’s fun stumbling across the lesser known works of otherwise famous artists. I’m looking for a quote to go with another Millet called “Narcissi & Violets.”

      Every once in a while I will sample a bit of dandelion, but I usually hesitate because I’m never sure if there have been pesticides sprayed in the areas where I find them. They are bitter but would be delightful mixed with other things in a salad.

      My parents used to pay us a nickle a dandelion if we pulled them up with roots intact, out of the lawn. I bet if they had known how nutritious they were back then they would not have regarded them as weeds!

      1. I buy dandelions at the farmer’s market. I’m sure you’ll be able to buy some at your local market. I cooked some last night with kale + onion, garlic, ginger, olive oil

        1. Oh my, Rosie, things have been so stressful here that we haven’t even been to a farmers market this year. We’re hoping to get to Whole Foods this weekend so I will be on the lookout for dandelions. The combo of veggies you describe sounds very good!

  4. What a very interesting passage that is Barbara. I’m pleased to say that I never overlook a dandelion, in fact I take photos of them as they look so pretty. I love the painting too, it has rather a moody air to it, almost misty.

    1. To me the painting looks like what the world must look like to a bug on the ground. 🙂

      Do you have different allergy seasons for different plants over there in Australia? In August I am affected by ragweed pollen, from August until first frost, if I don’t stay inside most of the time I will wind up with a sinus infection. 🙁

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