Native plants, trees are more than backdrops

Published 11:05 am Wednesday, June 12, 2024

By Bonnie Brown

The drive on Highway 6 to Lee County and Tupelo is not considered a scenic drive. However, if you really take a minute to look
at the countryside along the highway, you will find the subtle beauty that is Mississippi.

Now that spring has finally and fully introduced herself here in north Mississippi, she has hastened Mother Earth to do her thing.
Thanks to the plentiful rain we’ve had, the trees are fully leafed out and the grass is green.

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The farmers have heeded Mother Nature’s call and have planted their crops, and the tiny plants are breaking through the
Mississippi dirt and showing promise of a fine crop and harvest.

Today, the sky is also putting on quite a show. There are many clouds—large, fluffy ones, many blue/grey ones that look as if
they have absorbed many drops of rain and are just billowing about, watching for the place to sprinkle the little plants, big trees,
small shrubs, and flowers.

Let me tell you about the flowers. There were many that appeared to be Black Eyed Susans scattered in the median and on the
sides of the highway. Were they put there intentionally? Or did they find their way along the winds that spread their seeds? I
read that Black Eyed Susans are biennial and bloom, then complete its life cycle in its second year with an extravagant floral

Scattered among the growing grass and weeds are some white flowers. Or are they just pretty weeds that have found a place to
flourish? I see an occasional patch of Queen Anne’s Lace. It is described as an “invasive species.” And this day it seems to
have been selective as to where it put down its roots as I didn’t see much of that. I remember pulling Queen Anne’s Lace as a
youngster and placing a sprig between all the boards of an empty corn crib I also remember seeing chiggers and decided that
my affiliation with Queen Anne’s Lace was done.

The smell of freshly mowed grass is intoxicating to me. When we lived on Woodson Ridge Road and had his and her riding
mowers, the smell was like perfume. It was an indicator that my day included sunshine, the roar of the motor of the mower
allowing my thoughts to wander. And at the end of the day, a beautiful yard that seemed perfectly manicured although that is a
total exaggeration. Our yard there had once been a soybean field and a garden plot too. So, the occasional groove that
remained from the field was a reminder that this section of earth had yielded crops that fed animals and humans.

The tall trees that I saw along the drive were full and displayed so many different colors of green. And because there was a
slight breeze, it’s as if they all danced in a perfect chorus line for my amusement and appreciation of their beauty. These trees
had been in their places for many years as most trees grow between 12 and 24 inches a year, taking 20-30 years to reach full
maturity. And these trees were tall and full and lovely.

I think we often miss out on Nature’s beauty because these living forests are a mere backdrop to our daily comings and goings.
Same is true of the many volunteer plants. This is true unless we take a minute and simply look at our beautiful surroundings in
our magnificent Mississippi.