No matter what we do for our day job, I think it’s safe to assume we are “plant people”. We get fascinated watching bugs, good or bad, climb through our gardens. Every season brings something breath-taking: crisp spring flowers, wavy summer leaves, brilliant fall colors, and the simple lines of winter branches.

I am currently taking a Plant sequence of classes, which will last three terms or nine months. I spent Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings walking around outside for 2-3 hours at a time looking up into the branches of trees. Rain or shine, warm or freezing, I’m out there learning about the plants that fascinate me so.

This series of classes is known to be very challenging. We memorize the Latin botanical names, common names, leaf shapes, growing traits, soil requirements, and so on of a couple hundred plants – this term. There will be even more in Winter and Spring terms. I am about halfway through the term at this point and really, really enjoying it all. This is one of those classes that confirms for me yet again that this is where I am suppose to be.

My home garden is very oriented towards fruiting plants: trees, shrubs, vines, ground covers. There is always room for a good nitrogen-fixer or perhaps a tree that feeds local birds rather than humans. I have also come to understand better the importance of planting natives: the local wildlife are so dependent on it for sustenance.

I’ll take some time over the next couple weeks to take pictures and share information on some of my new favorite trees. Although it’s no fun walking through a cold torrential downpour of rain, I do hope you are finding excuses to get outside still and be mesmerized by the natural world around us. Watch for those brief moments of clear sky and seize them!

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Written by Renee Wilkinson