On my runs and bike rides, I have noticed Mother Nature has been very busy since May started. Like many mothers I know, she continues to amaze me with her beauty, grace, and ability to teach me lessons in life. Here are a few things Mother Nature has given to May in my area:
One of the first things Mother Nature brings to May in my area is Podophyllum peltatum, commonly known as Mayapples. These plants grow along the creek bed on my property and make themselves visible in early May. Mayapples look like little umbrellas, unfolding each day until reaching full spread. They will mature to flower and develop fleshy lemon-shaped berries later in the year.
The roots, leaves, and seeds are poisonous if ingested in high quantities. However, the berries are not and may be used in jelly making. Native American Indians also use the Mayapple for medicinal purposes.
Full Flower Moon
On May 3, the full moon rose bright pink. The Native American Indians refer to this moon as the Flower Moon. Other names for May’s full moon include the Corn Planting Moon and the Milk Moon. The corn planting moon refers to when the Native Americans used to plant their corn crops. Planting by the moon is a common practice, but evidence of effectiveness remains both a bit of a mystery and questionable in certain circles.
Regardless of its name, this moon is majestic and I was fortunate to get pictures of it this year as it rose above the trees behind the fields around my house.
Blossoms All Around
The full moon brought with it many blossoms, including those of the apple, Eastern redbud, and flowering peach trees. Along with the blossoms came many bees to help the pollination process. While walking the dogs the other night, I heard the distinct humming of the bees in the apple tree. The next night, I watched the bees fly all around the Eastern redbud tree in a frenzy of activity.
The dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) popped out in full force this past week. Yellow flowers dotted my running and biking route. Though dandelions get a bad rap as a nuisance in the yard, they are an herb and do have benefits and medicinal uses. All parts of the dandelion are edible and full of vitamins.
Many people use the green leaves in salads, the flowers for making jelly and wine, and the roots for coffee substitutes.
The wild creeping phlox in the field look pretty with their delicate leaves and flowers. In my area, we have blue, deep purple, and pink patches growing in abundance this year. Growing up, my sister and I used to pick the flowers for my mom and put them in a little shot glass on the window sill above the kitchen sink. These flowers are one of my mom’s favorites, so I view them as a special flower.
This month so far has been full of change in my area. Every day I see something new on my jaunts to make me wonder about life and how things happen. This is one of the beauties of Mother Nature. She fosters growth and creativity with her splendor, zeal, and energy. Like many mothers, she provides for us each day, no matter life’s circumstances. I am thankful to her and to other mothers I know for their continued support and never-ending depths of creativity.
Resources and Related Links
Bees – http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/animals/bees.shtml
Dandelions – http://extension.psu.edu/pests/weeds/weed-id/common-dandelion
Dandelion uses – http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/benefits-of-dandelion-greens-zmaz08amzmcc.aspx
Flower Moon – http://farmersalmanac.com/full-moon-names/
Full Milk Moon – http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2010/0526/What-is-a-milk-moon-anyway
Mayapples – http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=POPE
Planting by the full moon – http://www.nytimes.com/1991/05/02/garden/planting-by-the-full-moon-bright-idea-or-lunacy.html?pagewanted=1
Pollination – http://nativeplants.msu.edu/about/pollination
Wild creeping phlox – http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=PHSU3