Field Notes Friday 0008: Cycles of Life

This week I’ve been powerfully reminded: I’m constantly participating in a cycle of creation and regeneration. But wait! It’s not as new-age as it sounds. I actually got to participate in the very tangible life cycle of a particular plant in the last three months.

In December I helped with a prairie plant rescue, and described my interaction with Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium), a relatively unknown but interesting native plant. But there was another plant that was also a focus of the plant rescue: Penstemon cobaea, aka Foxglove (and a few other names).

We sifted through fields of gold looking for tall, stately, dark strangers (can you see them?): Penstemon cobaea

Here’s Penstemon, ready for harvest ~ Penstemon cobaea

And here’s the gold. Penstemon cobaea seeds. Penstemon cobaea seeds

And for those who follow me on Twitter, you may already know that I attended a Friends of LLELA meeting and won, as a door prize, a two year old Penstemon grown by the same folks who arranged the prairie plant rescue! Penstemon cobaea

Now these pictures may seem humble enough (though I find winter plant forms fascinating, as David Gaylord Chizum of the Native Plant Society also does – he published “Winter’s Botanical Strip Show” the very day after I went on the winter plant rescue!).

If you find the above photos underwhelming, you’re not alone. My Google searches returned not one photo of Penstemon in winter. Not one! I was shocked; the internet seems to have everything else. But perhaps Penstemon doesn’t attract enough attention in the winter, or its winter habit is known by plant lovers yet eclipsed in their minds by its Spring form. Just take a look at this absolutely glorious representation of what’s in store in my Penstemon’s life (from Dallas Trinity Trails’ blog):

Yes, it’s gorgeous. I’m excited to see it. But all stages in a life cycle have their own beauty, winter included. So… I haven’t yet participated in the full Penstemon cobaea cycle. But soon. And I predict it will feel very, very rewarding indeed.

Find out what Field Notes Friday is all about and how you can be part of the movement: #FieldNotesFriday.


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