Not one to be deterred by a label, I am quite fond of many plants that are considered weeds and in many cases prefer the term "wildflower." For a while in the spring, I became preoccupied with photographing the dandelion in its various stages and showed some of my photos to my kindergarten students on our Smartboard. A few children remarked with disdain, "That's a weed!" and went on to say how dandelions were not appreciated by their parents and/or grandparents. However, I tried to connect them with the wonder and awe of the dandelion's finer qualities. One of my favorite children's picture books is The Dandelion Seed by Joseph Anthony, and I can't resist the sight of a child blowing dandelion seeds into the wind or approaching me proudly with a fistful of freshly picked dandelion flowers. But that's another blog entry in itself.
Now our yard is covered with Queen Anne's Lace. Despite its close resemblance to some rather noxious plants (i.e. poisonous hemlock), I am dazzled by the sight of the white, lacy flower clusters soaking up the sun's rays and thought I'd keep the commentary to a minimum and simply share some of my favorite images I have captured so far this summer. Until researching the plant recently, I wasn't aware that it is also called "wild carrot" or that it has a long, carrot-like taproot and (when crushed) smells just like a carrot. Each tiny flower produces two seeds. The umbel closes into a bird's nest shape as it goes to seed, and when the seeds are brown, they are mature. It's interesting to learn about the Queen Anne's Lace life cycle, but for me the pleasure is in looking closely at its shape and the way it interacts with sunlight.