"Pale, mournful flower, that hidest in shade
I have always wanted to see this mysterious-looking wildflower, but never came across it in my ramblings here. So, I was thrilled when I finally saw it for the first time when walking through the Haunted Wood at Green Gables last summer, and then again in the woods near the Hopewell Rocks a few days later! I'm afraid some people thought I was a bit eccentric when I stopped short on the crowded to trail to photograph them, though! 😁
This truly unique flower is often mistaken for a fungus, but it is in fact an herbaceous perennial in the Ericaceae family (which also includes the Rhododendron, Azalea, Blueberry, Cranberry, Huckleberry, and Heather)! It lacks chlorophyll and therefore is not dependent on sunlight to thrive, so it can often be found in very dark, dense forests. The plant is actually a parasite, deriving its nourishment from certain fungi, which in turn derive theirs from the trees (I hope I'm explaining that right!). It is native to North America, northern South America, and Asia, and is of ephemeral occurrence, blooming anytime from June to September.
The Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora) is also commonly known as the Ghost or Corpse Plant, One-Flowered Wax Plant, American Ice Plant, Convulsion Root, and (my favorite!), Wood Snowdrop. The genus name Monotropa comes from the Greek monos, 'one', and tropos, 'direction', in reference to the flowers, which turn to one side. And of course, uniflora simply means one-flowered!
I was quite surprised to learn that this plant is actually used as a substitute for opium, but without its adverse effects! Apparently, it acts in a very unusual way, actually raising the patient's ability to deal with the pain, rather than making it go away. It is said to work the same way for emotional pain as well. This is a very interesting article, if you want to learn more: American Herbalists Guild: A Little Known Nervine.
This flower was one of Emily Dickinson's favorites. In 1882, after Mabel Todd presented her with a painting she had done of some Indian Pipes, Emily wrote ecstatically, "That without suspecting it you should send me the preferred flower of life, seems almost supernatural…I still cherish the clutch with which I bore it from the ground when a wondering child, and unearthly booty, and maturity only enhances the mystery, never decreases it.” After Emily's death, Mabel Todd published a volume of her poems, and chose this flower to adorn the cover.
I am still hopeful that I will come across the Indian Pipe in our woods someday. Since it requires just the right conditions (wet weather after a dry spell) and then grows up and fades so quickly, maybe I have just missed it so far. Have you ever come across them?
I'm joining Clay and Limestone today for Wildflower Wednesday!
A dark dull patch of earth was all
And from my eyes fell many a tear
Ah me! one early morn I crept
When, lo, a tiny shoot appeared
It was more gorgeous than the King
I clapped my hands, I wept for joy,
O maiden fair! in saddened home,
"Go to a poor man's garden and ask him my name—he'll tell you it is Heartsease; and where will you find a better than that? And why am I called so? Because it's my character—wherever I go, there I flourish. If the gardener seeds me, pots me, and pets me, I come out all velvet and gold, like yonder beauties. If the wind carries my seed to a wall-top or a rubbish heap, I do my best and come out in the same colours, though not so rich and bright. I rejoice alike in sunshine and shower; neither drought nor rains will destroy me. I may hang my head now and then, but I always come up again. No lot is perfect; but that is the nearest to it which has heartsease to sweeten it."
Another blizzard dumped about 15 inches of snow on us yesterday. We simply don't have any more room to put the stuff! I think this is the most snow we've seen since we've lived here, and it seems like I've been saying that every year now! 😃 We were just a tenth of an inch away from tying the record for snowfall in a single month in January. The record was 59.9, and we got 59.8! So far I think we have had around 125 inches this winter. And March is often the snowiest month!
View of our house from the road...
There is a building behind there somewhere!
It's a good thing I like to climb! But climbing this with trays of baby plants is going to be a challenge!
My poor greenhouse has really taken a beating the last few winters. I'm really amazed that it is still standing. Another PVC pipe snapped in some high winds we had the other day. I'm hoping I can get it fixed to last the rest of the winter!
The narrow path down the porch stairs. A few of the steps have gone completely missing!
And now I need to go dig out the mailbox! 😁
The scary thing is that all this has to melt! I'm hoping and praying spring will start early and slowly this year.
I suppose everyone loves chocolate. Actually I'm not overly fond of it by itself although I love it with nuts or peanut butter. But chocolate flowers are the best yet! Enjoy! 😊
Oh happy day!! The first flower on my 'Chocolate' morning glories (Ipomoea nil) has just opened!! Watching these plants grow has really brightened my winter! Here they are in late November, just after I transplanted the four of them out of their paper cups into one large pot (ideally it should have been larger, but it worked)!
By mid-December they had started to climb, so I made them a little trellis with some straight branches and wire...
It is truly marvelous how these plants grow! This time lapse video (not mine) shows how they circle round and round until they find something to grasp...just one of the many wonders of the plant world that make me admire the wisdom of their Creator! 😊
Yikes!!! I really have to watch these darling pussies around my favorite plants!! 😁
By the end of January they had climbed to the top of the trellis and were preparing to take over the world! A simple solution...gently tuck the growing ends back down at the bottom and let them start over!
And the countdown begins!! Jan. 24th...
And finally...Feb.8th! I have been pacing around for almost 3 hours this morning, waiting for it to get light enough to take pictures! 😃
It is a huge flower! You can click any of these pictures to enlarge...
I'm so delighted with my new flower! And it has been so easy to grow, and such a joy to watch! All I can say is, try it and see! 😊
I don't have the right pictures to illustrate this poem, but it has really touched my heart and I just had to share it. Nothing that is truly beautiful is useless or will ever be lost!
Why art thou thus in thy beauty cast,
"I asked the flowers in the soft spring-time,
When the stormy days so soon should come
And the sweet flowers answered, 'Each day renews
'Why should we not smile? Till now we have thriven,
I am a passionate gardener and seed-saver, who also enjoys playing the violin and accordion, running, spending time with my 4 golden retrievers, keeping chickens, photography, and reading.