I am thankful that warmer temperatures have
returned to Baldwin County therefore I plan to spend copious amount of time
enjoying the surrounding vegetation, also known as momma’s tiny forest, while it
is springing back to life. Observing the
greening and blooming of plants and flowers is magical and it is continuous
entertainment that is free, legal and non-fattening.
One of the earliest blooming bushes in the yard is
Forsythia; the plant has slowly increased in size over the years and has bright
yellow blooms that emerge before the last frost. Branches
of the shrub can be cut during the winter, placed in water, and it blooms
The next blooming vegetation in my yard appears in
the tops of trees as tiny yellow flowers and is known as Carolina jasmine, a
plant that is cultivated around the world because of the unique aroma. Mine
grows wild and has continued to multiply over the years that I have been
residing high on a hill in the northern part of our county. An
interesting fact I found is that the sweetest smells are released around sunset,
continue after dark, and are especially noticeable during a full moon.
Jasmine can grow as a bush, on a structure such as
an arbor or trellis, or as a ground cover but mine is entwined in the tree tops
and another bonus is that the leaves are evergreen. If
we have a rainstorm during the blooming period, the entire driveway is littered
with tiny yellow flowers.
Late winter, early spring is blooming time for
jonquils or as I knew them as a child, daffodils; the designated flower for the
month of March. There continues to be
confusion about the different flowers that are in the category known as
narcissus; most of the early yellow colored spring flowers are in this group
even though we commonly think of narcissus as the white paper-flowers we force
bloom during the winter holidays. My favorite
are the yellow trumpet shaped ones that do well as cut flowers indoors.
Fragrant honeysuckle vines are a reminder of my
youth spent in southwest Georgia and I hope it is never completely eradicated
from my surroundings. I enjoy the sweet scent
of honeysuckle, and the fact that you can use the vines to fashion wreaths is
even more reason to protect the plants.
The flowers and leaves of the honeysuckle are
edible and they remain white until pollinated and then they turn yellow. Although
the subsequent berries serve as food to bears, birds and other animals, they are
poison to humans. It was a great game as a
child to find that tiny drop of goodness in each bloom but you had to swat away
wasps and bees who also take pleasure in the sweet nectar of the plants.
I had no idea when I began writing this column that
it was going to take so many words to describe the flora of my surrounding yard
so stay tuned… more details to follow.
Brenda S. Brown