Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Gophers Ate my Indian Blanket

One of the more common and older reasons for keeping a diary or a log is to remember things that one might otherwise forget.

In my little patch of wild flowers I was happy to see some bright specimens blooming that must have been in one of the seed gatherings I had strewn.  My husband asked me their name and I watched my mind in amazement as it attempted to sort through the half remembered, inelegantly pronounced names of some of  the seed packet descriptions. "Oh you know it is something like,  ah, well it sounds like some girl's name, Rude Becky."

But Rudbecki is a cone flower, as is Echinacea purpurea, and although these flowers seemed similar, I knew I had known (however briefly) another name for these.  It seemed to me that my friend Gretchen had taught me a name.  So many keys, but which little mental door to unlock?

Well, sadly, before I followed through on my intention to learn their proper name,  the gophers found them to be quite tasty and ate off all the roots. Mark bore the fallen plant into the house to show me its demise and I  still didn't  know its name.  

 This is a Blanket Flower
As remembering things is often best accomplished through making  multiple associations,  I set out to learn enough about it that I might remember what to call it if I am fortunate enough to have any future encounters.

Maybe I won't remember the formal name: Gaillardia ( named after a Frenchman who was a patron of botany) but  I would like to remember that it is a genus from the sunflower family.

What may help me most is thinking of  Lewis and Clark finding these lance like bright petals on their trek through Montana and being reminded of brightly colored blankets made by native American tribes, hence the common name of "Blanket Flowers."

I hope some of the seeds are mature enough to grow. When they dry I'll  scatter them around with hope of future blooms.  They do remind me of cone flowers, I bet they are cousins.

No comments: