By JO ERBSKORN
Ever go on a nature walk? When I could walk better I loved to hike, especially if beach trails were involved. Art and I have hiked many simple trails, nothing too complicated. Each time we hike, Art takes pictures and I check out the plants and if it’s a forest I get poison ivy.
Since our son moved to Traverse City we have seen a bit of northern Michigan and its forests and hiking trails. Beaches, beaches, beaches everything a nature lover loves all in one. I know very little about wild plants. The only person I know who is very knowledgeable is my friend Mary Lampe. I have never met a person with so much knowledge about so much. Someday I hope to be that knowledgeable.
I love the little wildflowers popping up everywhere, including in the sand dunes. It just goes to show that beauty is everywhere, in the harshest as well as best conditions.
Art hikes with our son and his girlfriend snapping beautiful pictures for me to look at later. I try to identify the plants by looking them up in a book given to me by Mary and using the internet. We went to a farmers’ market the last time we visited and a vendor with a permission slip from the state was selling wild plants. He explained each one to me and how to meet its needs, how big it would get, how easily it would propagate. I found this wonderfully interesting.
If a plant is protected or growing on government land it is a big mistake to decide it needs to go home with you, as there are huge fines and possibly jail time. So this gentleman had all the papers showing he had permission to sell these plants legally and since the profits go to the forestry services, I bought one. None of his plants are on the endangered species list or even the watch list. The one I purchased is a wild rose. I can’t wait to see what happens with it. Art’s grandmother used to have yellow wild roses growing in the front yard of her farm, so when he told me what the plant was I knew it was the one.
My son lives in a very nice condo complex with a small private patio. He and his girlfriend are huge fans of healthy fresh eating. They have turned the patio into a little garden with lots of totes planted with all kinds of vegetables. They treat their garden and cat the same, like they are their children.
When it comes to container gardening these kids could write a book. It’s beautiful and tended with an obsessive tenacity. In a part of Michigan that just stopped getting snow a few weeks ago, they are harvesting lettuce and greens. I love fresh lettuce and ours is not as big as theirs so yes there is garden envy on my part even though there is pride also.
I don’t know how other people’s roses are fairing this year, but mine are rocking the blooms. It’s going to be a riot of new blooms next week or even the end of this one. I can’t wait. The weather has been perfect for the roses and peas. The whole garden is doing well. The potatoes are a foot above the ground and Art is ready to put the second stacker over them. It won’t be long now until creamed fresh peas and new potatoes.
I love the summer when all the plants are producing and dinner is straight out of the garden. No meat needed, just fresh veggies and fruits. A bountiful harvest is in the future this year, I feel it. I hope you can, too.