These wild places are my sanctuary

Yesterday, I hiked about a mile into a WildLand, in hopes of capturing a single species I’ve been seed stalking.

I flagged Lobelia siphilitica (Great Blue Lobelia) a couple months ago, blooming beautifully along the swampy edge of a pond.

Back when I flagged it, my dear friends and Seed Team members Bob and Florence Middleton made a human chain with me, so I wouldn’t fall in the water. I remember it was hot enough I thought I wouldn’t mind taking a dip.

The seed was in fact ready yesterday, so I carefully scaled the slope and cut the stalk, the gorgeous blue flowers now faded into tan tissue paper capsules full of powdery fine seed.

I stopped for a brief moment there on the edge, marveling at the change of seasons.

Appreciating this gorgeous plant which is biologically generous enough to produce so much seed that I can borrow a little to spread around and hopefully foster more to grow.

What a great example the plant kingdom offers to us this time of year, displaying that dormancy and rest are just as beautiful as the big energy show of blooming and growing.

Great Blue Lobelia
Great Blue Lobelia

Compass Plant: cupped hands clutching a heart

Compass Plant
Compass Plant

My second observation comes from a quick study of Silphium laciniatum (Compass Plant), the dark, bristly beings that stand fiercely against the cold winter sky.

So much plant material curls and furls as it dies back, but the large pinnatifid leaves of Compass Plant so sweetly embrace the stem.

They clasp right around, like cupped hands clutching a heart.

I suppose their shape is comforting to me, because it looks like the perfect place to spend the winter.

A rib cage.

A human hand.

A little nest of sorts, perfectly engineered to cradle.

Here are some photos, in case you’re wondering if I’ve totally lost it.

Do you see what I mean?

Compass Plant
Compass Plant
Compass Plant
Compass Plant

My general trajectory in life is to become a crazy plant lady, so if this is evidence, I’m proud, not ashamed.

Patti Beedles

Patti Beedles holds the unofficial title of Seed Nerd, and hopes to share her love of native plants with you. Patti works as a Program Associate with Kansas City WildLands, a program of Bridging the Gap.

Patti fell in love with the prairie ecosystem while earning her degree at the University of Kansas. She wove her love of native plants into her career working as the Grower at an ecologically based native plant nursery. Over her years at the greenhouse, Patti had the pleasure of propagating a few hundred species, including the threatened Mead's Milkweed (Asclepias meadii).

These days, she spends most of her time on the spectacular remnant landscapes in the Kansas City area, working to identify and collect native seed. Collaborating with a coalition of partners and volunteers, Kansas City WildLands Seed Team hand-collected 127 species and nearly 300 pounds of seed in 2017.

Patti enjoys homesteading, camping, and adventuring with her husband and 3-year-old daughter.