The Scene of the Crime

Conventional wisdom claims people return to the scene of their crimes.

Personally, I think it depends on the crime.

Littering? Yes, I’ve returned to the same site over and over where either I or my fellow humans have dropped trash and been too distracted or lazy to pick it up for proper disposal.

Theft? I can imagine a thief returning to a previous site where he was successful. After all, he’s familiar with the geography and hazards. And shouldn’t a new replacement be as easy to fence as an older original?

Murder? Sounds foolish to me. However, sound reasoning doesn’t always enter into the incident.

Would you walk into a murder site? (As a non-criminal.) How would you know? What if????

Anything can happen in a Big Red Barn.
Anything can happen in a Big Red Barn.



Up, Up, Under

Quick, name a plant beginning with the letter “U”.

Yeah, I paused also. Then I went poking around on a botanical web site and found this beauty.

Umbrella tree
Umbrella tree

Tall, slender trunk with large, oval leaves. At the size of 24×10 inches you could snatch a large leaf as an emergency umbrella.

My visit was at the end of July. This is long after the white, showy flowers of May have vanished. This native of the Appalachian Mountains, the Blue Ridge, and adjoining areas — including Missouri — will be worth a spring visit.

Thinking of planting one? Don’t venture too far north for this member of the magnolia family. It will do well in part shade and prefers soil where the moisture remains constant.



Annual Dance

Today they bid “farewell” to each other. Their time together at the beautiful conference center ends after breakfast, packing, and last minute hugs with promises to “keep in touch.”

They been together since Sunday afternoon. Working diligently in small and large groups. To learn. To share. To polish both poetry and prose.

Christian Writers have been gathering at Green Lake every year for decades. Amid the classes, a walk along the shore, or lingering over tea in one of the many seating areas, friendships are formed. Ideas are exchanged.

“What do you write?” It’s the most frequent question of the week. Are you a writer? Do you want to be?

There's room in the circle for more.l
There’s room in the circle for more.

Education in a pleasant, relaxed, location.


Tempting Target

Attracts butterflies. Attracts bees. Low maintenance.

This is my kind of plant. Never mind that a nickname is TICKSEED


Oh. Good. The correct common name is Threadleaf. I can deal with thread. I like most leaves. My experience with ticks? That’s another story with unpleasant overtones.

So go ahead. Plant a nice border of Threadleaf in a sunny portion of your garden. It will tend to re-seed and also spread. Thus part of the low maintenance. Clip or trim near the end of summer and you’ll encourage another burst of blossoms in early fall. It will even establish if the soil is poor. (A bonus in St. Louis with clay fit for bricks under a thin layer of topsoil.)

And don’t panic if you think you see ticks lying around after the blooms dry. These are the seeds. Hence the nickname. Unless they crawl.


Future Occupation

Grandmother’s garden is neat and tidy. It’s designed for easy care. A few minutes to remove weeds is all the necessary work to keep it looking in top form.

It’s also an interesting play yard. Knell on the grass. Reach over the border.

Fill the toys with light colored rock and transport :

Out of the mine to the crushing machine.

To the rock sorter.

Over the mountain pass to the construction site.

Dump. Smooth. Make a path for the tricycle girl.

I’ll keep it right here, Grandma. Ready for a new adventure on my next visit.



Seedy Sweet

Wild ones are small and sweet. The plants hide in unexpected places such as roadside ditches or suburban berms where lawn mowers fear to tread.

Grocery stores and farmer’s markets sell the larger fruit. Whether grown on a larger commercial farm or by a traditional farm family — they are harvested by hand. Children, migrants, retirees all have put in hours in the fields harvesting the popular  STRAWBERRY.


Low to the ground and eager to spread by runners, this plant can also be useful as a ground cover. Imagine them holding the soil on a steep slope year round and furnishing an early summer treat. I’ll take mine with ice cream if you have it.


Indian Representative

One of the little pleasures when visiting the zoo is to round a corner and encounter a peacock. They roam free, tend to stay in the grassy and/or shady spots. They also delight visitors, young and old, when they “strut their stuff” with their tails in a fan.

You can find them in other places, too. Either the living animal or representations in all sorts of mediums.

Proud import from India
Proud import from India

The above work of art featuring the Indian native, is spending the summer at the botanical garden. You need to look carefully, and I needed information from the tram tour narrator, but this vase is constructed of glass medicine vials.

Hmmm. Who expected container for extracts and flavors and potions to be recycled into a work of art?



Rumored Repellant

It keeps mosquitoes away.

I’ll plant two. Or perhaps a dozen. This is one rumor I’ll act one, whether I put a lot of faith in it or not.

I do know the leaves add a great flavor to potatoes. And stews. And casseroles. (Hot dish to my childhood friends.)


May I present Rosemary as a guest in the living alphabet. She’s a native of the Mediterranean and her name means “dew of the sea”. She likes a climate on the warm side and soil that is light and sandy. Therefore: keep her in a clay pot and bring her inside when the St. Louis winter approaches.

She has a rich and varied history, earning a place in kitchen and medicinal herb gardens as well as borders. Centuries ago sprigs were woven into a headpiece for brides and grooms and wedding guests wore sprigs of it to represent a love charm. You can find it at funerals and memorial services as a symbol of remembrance.

Plus — it’s a nice name for a girl.