The other day, I ate a quick lunch at work and then took a walk outside. An Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) danced against a backdrop of giant spruce trees that border the road.
This time of year in the mountains of Central Pennsylvania, our native redbud struts her stuff. I usually enjoy the magenta display from a distance, passing in a car or on my bike. I wanted to take a closer look. The delicate but striking buds actually sprout from bare gray branches with neither leaf nor stem in sight.
As I approached the windbreak, what I saw amazed me. Mother Nature’s paintbrush detailed the flower buds and then added the same red raspberry sheen to the immature spruce cones preening nearby.
I might be going out on a limb—taxonomy, like Italian, is not my specialty—but I think the spruce is another native, Picea rubens, red spruce.
Color echoes, sometimes just a momentary flash, but oh, so beautiful.
Another, etched in my mind’s gallery, flickers like an old newsreel. Years ago I was growing Asclepias tuberosa, commonly known as butterfly weed, in the garden at Fleur-de-Lys under the lion’s head fountain. One day, walking past, I did a double take. The tip of a young green shoot on the plant was the same violent orange as the blossoms. On closer inspection, it was dozens of bright orange aphids clinging to and devouring the greenery that mimicked the color of the plant’s brilliant flowers.
I know aphids as pests with piercing, sap-sucking mouthparts. They can devastate a garden. I was dumbfounded that this one species was able to find its color match on my orange butterfly weed blossoms. Nature’s camouflage.
I yanked the plant and fed it to the chickens, orange aphids and all. Laurie Lynch
Italian Pronunciation: My Italian-speaking friend Karen corrected the pronunciation I gave for scorpacciata in my last blog. When in Rome, please pronounce it “scor-potch-CHA-ta”.
I always appreciate editing, though it can be so gosh-darn embarrassing My chef-phew, who seems to spend more time in my Linkedin site than I do, finally mentioned that I listed one of my activities as writing “Fleur-de-Bog”. It made me want to croak!
Makes Cents: “There are two typos of people in this world: Those who can edit and those who can’t.”—Jarod Kintz