Native Son: March 24, 2016
Two fifty-seven in the morning…laundry is churning in the washer, coffee pot’s groaning and wheezing, dogs are coiled up on the couch like giant bagels, and, in the mirror across the room, my face hangs in the darkness, glowing like a ghost in the light of the laptop screen. It’s great to be writing for the newsletter again, but I just don’t know what to write about…
Maybe I should write about the bluebonnets…about how, since 1971, all six native wildflower species are collectively the official Texas State Flower…how two of those are endemic (naturally occurring nowhere else but Texas)…how they used to be called “Buffalo Clover” by early settlers and “El Conejo” (the rabbit) in Mexico because the white tip looks like the southern end of a north-bound cottontail rabbit…and how silly it is that the same people who reverently (and incorrectly) declare it’s against the law to pick one will smash hundreds of them to get that special photo…nah, everybody knows that stuff.
Maybe I should write about redbuds…about how there are three varieties native to the Lone Star State (Eastern, Texas, and Mexican redbud)…and how the deciduous leaves get smaller and thicker the farther west you go…same for drought tolerance…and how the flowers are edible and actually taste pretty good…and how the twigs grow in a cool zigzag manner…nah, that’s probably old hat to everyone.
Maybe I should write about Texas mountain laurel…about how this small, evergreen tree produces the most amazing clusters of dark purple flowers that smell like grape bubble gum…about how the rock-hard, bean-sized seeds range in color from a dark pink to deep burgundy…about how those beautiful seeds are highly toxic…about how I collected seed and made a few necklaces from them 30 years ago…about how you need to say TEXAS mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora) because a “regular” mountain laurel is a whole different plant (Kalmia latifolia) native to the eastern US…nah, folks are bored with stuff like that.
Maybe I should write about how all of these plants belong to the bean family, Fabaceae, and are sometimes called legumes…and how legumes range from mighty mesquites and delicate mimosas to protein-packed peanuts and liliputian locoweed…and there’s over 16,000 species of legumes worldwide, varying from little prairie wildflowers to giant trees in the rainforests…and that all 16,000 of them produce their seeds in pods…and some legumes produce beans that feed millions of people every day, and other legumes can kill you with a single seed…but, I don’t think anybody wants to hear that jazz.
Geesh…I’m all tapped out. I guess I’ll have to put on another pot of coffee and tell Neil that I’m runnin’ low this month. Maybe it’s time for another road trip…
I need a road trip! I’d love to come out and speak to your group. I’m low maintenance, flexible, and I’ll go just about anywhere…no city too big; no town too small. Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll work something out.
Come see me at Chandor Gardens! Call 817-613-1700 or go to www.chandorgardens.com for details.