Heal from Nature Blindness

In an age where we know more corporations by their logos than trees by their leaves, it’s far time that we reconnect with nature!

dsc_8574aAre you nature blind?  Do you suffer from plant blindness.’  It seems that many people have difficulty perceiving plant life in greater detail than ‘grass,’ ‘flower,’ ‘bush,’ or ‘tree.’ Perhaps it’s because we are hard-wired to focus on fauna in a backdrop of flora.  Or, perhaps we’ve become caught up in urbanized society and disconnected from nature, especially plants. Either way, we should definitely make an effort to know more about plants. 

In today’s world, it’s too easy to ignore the great detail and diversity in the plant kingdom.  Our plant-based foods come pre-packaged and processed.  Our building materials come pre-chopped-down and pre-cut.  Our plant-based or plant-inspired medicines come in a pill.  Our landscape plants come pre-identified and propagated.  We aren’t really forced to deduce detail as a consumer.  We choose plants for curb appeal, going straight to the garden center for whatever is in color or on ad.  Great…but do you know what you bought?

We should definitely stop to consider plants in greater detail. John Muir, the father of our National Park system, found ‘botanizing’ and praising plants to be important. And furthermore, humanity has an inherent desire to connect with nature (see Living Walls and Biophilia). Next time you visit a park or assess your own landscape, consider exactly which plants lay at your feet and which trees tower above you.

Get yourself tree and plant identification guides, edible native plant books, plants for pollinators guides, and ask great questions! Kids are especially great at the latter.

Questions to get you started:

  • Are these vines invasive? (Maybe)
  • Will these flowers return next year?
  • Are these plants native? (Missouri’s Grow Native!)
  • Is that the right tree for the right place? (Arbor Day Foundation)
  • Will that shrub attract birds, bees, and butterflies? (Bringing Nature Home)
  • Can plants communicate with each other?  (Yes.)
  • Can plants become friends?  (Yes.)
  • Is that a Northern Red Oak or a Black Oak? (Ask the Missouri Department of Conservation)
  • Is that a grass or a sedge?
  • What’s a sedge?
  • Is it OK for insects to eat my landscaping?
  • What is a companion plant?
  • Is that Mistletoe in my tree? What is the deal with that? (Many have asked)
  • How diverse is the flora in my backyard?
  • What plants are good for indoors? (NASA tested, lungs approved)

Get outside, get curious, and get detailed!  Nature will reward you with inspiration.

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Nature and Beauty are Bread for the Soul

Nature Beauty Bread“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” – John Muir

Photo taken a few days ago in Castlewood State Park in Ballwin, Missouri.  Get out and enjoy Autumn before the wind and cold sweep away all the color!

Creeping into Autumn

Virginia Creeper Turning

I took this picture a couple weeks ago as the local Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) population began changing into its vibrant red garb.  Thank you, Nature!!!

Virginia Creeper often gets mistaken for Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), but is 5-leaved, whereas the Poison Ivy is 3-leaved.  Both are native to this area, but I’d highly recommend Virginia Creeper for your garden or natural landscaping.

Just make sure not to landscape with Poison Ivy, unless you’re itching to repel your neighbors…  Ha!

Bring back Wildflowers, Bring back Monarchs!

Bring back Wildflowers, Bring back Monarchs!

Orange, Black, White. In flight.Monarch on a Thistle
Delicate beauty. Glorious sight.
Please don’t disappear!

Picky young eater.
So no Milkweed, no Monarchs!
Grow native, save lives.

Learn more:

Seek Nature, Receive More

“In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.”  ~John Muir

Walk With Nature

Step away from the city-scape, seek the amazing craftsmanship of God.  The natural sights far surpass the city blight. 

Took this photo last autumn at an outlook in Pere Marquette State Park in Illinois.

Muir Never Saw a Discontented Tree

“I never saw a discontented tree.  They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do.”  ~John Muir

Tree Philosophy

Took this photo last fall at Pere Marquette State Park, near Grafton, IL.  What a wonderful evening trek it was.

Hitched to Nature, Hitched to the Universe

Hitched to Muir's Ideals

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”

~John Muir

One of my favorite quotes…it not only inspires my continued appreciation for the natural world, but it also clarifies my thoughts on Sustainability.

*I took this photo at Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit, MO this Spring.