By Ken Moore
Before I launch into this weekâ€™s Flora story, I want to describe my plans for the next couple of months.
After five-plus years sharing a â€œcloser lookâ€ at the nature of the roadsides and forests of our own back yards, Iâ€™m taking a break for a good part of this fall.
For eight weeks Iâ€™ll be co-teaching â€œA Closer Look at Natureâ€ with North Carolina artist Robert Johnson at Penland School of Crafts.
I plan to contribute a couple of columns from Penland during late September through mid-November.
However, before taking leave I will have prepared a couple of stories for upcoming Floras. One is another look at our local flora through the words and paintings of Cornelia Phillips Spencer. Another column to anticipate is a description of a rare opportunity coming up on Oct. 21 to visit a nearby private arboretum of more than 4,000 labeled trees and shrubs.
During my timeout you may recognize some past Floras. Many of you will not have read them; hopefully others will appreciate revisiting seasonal themes related to the spectacular and lingering fall color of our Piedmont.
One notable repeat, I promise, will be â€œRemembering Persimmon Pete,â€ and this time around Pete Iveyâ€™s famous persimmon recipe will be included!
I think you will also be pleased to have Flora guest columns from staff of the N.C. Botanical Garden. They are every bit as passionate about the local wild plants as I am, and you folks are in for an offering of new stories and ways of taking a â€œcloser lookâ€ at the world around us.
All that said, I now have to share with you a most amazing recent botanical experience.
The sand bean, also called wild pink bean, Strophostyles umbellata, appeared in last weekâ€™s Flora hidden within one of Cornelia Spencerâ€™s late-summer flower bouquet portraits. This mostly unobserved little wild bean may be considered a waif of a plant along roadsides and forest edges.
Try to imagine my surprise, delight and utter disbelief when one morning last week I walked up to woods-walking friend Brian Stokesâ€™ cottage entrance to discover a 6-foot-long trellis-fence of this native wild bean along his entrance pathway.
I was blown away! That trellis of hundreds and hundreds of pink bean flowers and beans in all stages of maturity were the result of two tiny â€œweedlingsâ€ rescued from his entrance drive and settled into two large containers. Brian admitted having to water those containers every day when we didnâ€™t have ample rainfall, but they were just a few steps from his door, and what a reward from such a minimal horticultural effort.
As in Jock Lautererâ€™s â€œA Thousand Words,â€ no more description is required. I have urged Brian to save seed of those wild pink beans for the botanical gardenâ€™s annual membersâ€™ seed distribution.
On your next outing, perhaps youâ€™ll discover this spectacular waif of a plant beneath your feet, and if you plant a few bean seeds, you too may produce a garden star.
Email Ken Moore at email@example.com. Find previous Ken Moore Citizen columns at The Annotated Flora.