nichepoetryandprose

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.

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

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22 flax Watson Settlement Rd

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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.

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27 chickory (2)

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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.

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25 cropped chickory

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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.

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All my best.

Jane 

 

 

 

Written by jane tims

July 15, 2020 at 7:00 am

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