A Sadness of Frost Flowers
|Click to enlarge|
The immediate sadness comes when I realize that another year has passed. It heralds the end of garden vegetables, the disappearance of many insects which have provoked wonder over the last year, the last of the native flowers and soon, the last of the colored leaves of fall. But most of all, another year has passed, each one passing more swiftly.
Frost flowers are not commonly planted by by humans.* Nature decides where and when they appear, the random acts of seed dispersal and neglect. Frost weed (Verbisina virginica) and yellow ironweed (Verbisina alternafolia), their most common hosts, grow along the edges of our fields and roads, pretty enough when flowering but ignored when among much more dramatic and colorful competitors that most would call desirable. They are the wardrobe assistants in nature's beauty pageant. To my knowledge, few gardeners ever deliberately plant them.
|Pealed stems- Click to enlarge|
Over time, people have invented collective nouns for groups of animals- a murder of crows, a gaze of raccoons. There is a shorter list of collective nouns for plants- copse of trees, a rope of onions.
I would propose calling a cluster of these winter beauties a "sadness of frost flowers."
* Last months blog on Frost flowers mechanisms.