These intricate and lovely puff-balls have formed on their wild 6-foot-stalks in our sideyard.
Look at them closer: they have an inviting pattern.
Our yard is all a-bloom! Seeds that were sown months ago are sharing their sunny show with us. California poppies (the red ones are my new favorites!), calendula, nasturtiums (where we want them, *and* where we don't ..), sunflowers of many variety, zinnia, cosmos .. and then all the wildflower mix that I planted and haven't gotten to know by name yet. It is dazzling and festive.
And then, there are the weeds. There are many weeds. They grow even better (and faster) than the planned flowers. But what's in a name? The dandelion is a deeply nourishing plant ~ its roots, leaves, and yellow flower. But we know how most Americans feel about a dandelion. For years I have been enchanted by the idea that "weeds" ~ "wild (or unplanned) plants" ~ are simply useful plants that we haven't formed a relationship with yet. My garden beds have always tended toward the untamed. This is partially the reason: I know that most of those "weeds" are useful somehow ~ if only I knew the "how". When I read Sandor Katz's (*highly* recommended) The Revolution Will Not be Microwaved, I became a bold enthusiast of gleaned fruits (read: fruit that fell off the tree onto the sidewalk), and a timid taster of wild plants. I knew (with the book to prove it!) that so many of those foreign (to me) leaves were edible, nourishing, and/or medicinal.
This year I have been infatuated with thoughts of studying with Susun Weed, foremost author and teacher of the Wise Woman Tradition ~ the unofficial and time-honored knowledge of the grandmother-shaman-wisdomkeepers of our universal heritage. The weeds have spoken to her, and they have much to say. But being the expert single-tasker (as opposed to multi-tasker ~ hee hee) that I am, I have been 100% focused (voluntarily and involuntarily) on this new role that I have accepted of being a Mother. I consider it the most important of my time. So I have kept my studying simply to the books, applying herbal wisdom to my own situation, and feeling it out for myself, as have so many mothers before me. It feels indeed magical, powerful, and empowering to dabble. My body thanks me for it.
Someday I'll know the human benefits some of those "unplanned plants" are holding. For now, Sealion will simply have to bare with my untamed gardens.