poetry and prose about place

wild gardens

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As I look for ornamental plants that have escaped to other places in the landscape, I often find plants so lovely, it is hard to believe they have not been cultivated at one time.


One of these is chicory (Cichorium intybus), a lovely blue flower. We found chicory growing on the Dugan Road west of Woodstock.


22 flax Watson Settlement Rd


Also known as blue sailors and, in French, chicoreé, chicory is a tall plant, seen along roadsides and in other waste places. Sometimes chicory is brought in loads of gravel (used for road maintenance) to locations where it is not usually found.


27 chickory (2)


Chicory has basal leaves resembling those of the dandelion.  When broken, the stem exudes a white milky fluid.

The bright blue flowers of chicory occur along the length of the almost leafless and somewhat zig-zag stem. Each flower is formed of a central involucre of tiny blue flowers and a disc of larger ray flowers.  The rays are square-cut and fringed.  The flowers follow the sun, closing by noon, or on overcast days.


25 cropped chickory


At least one gardener I know has successfully transplanted chicory to his garden.  I think I will keep a list of garden-worthy wildflowers during my treks this summer and perhaps write a poem to capture my virtual wildflower garden.


This work was made possible by a Creations Grant from artsnb!


All my best.





Written by jane tims

July 15, 2020 at 7:00 am

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