Column – Mother Nature: Fickle with the beauty of colors

Published 3:28 pm Friday, May 19, 2023

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Yes, Mother Nature is female. She is gorgeous. But like most females, she can’t make up her mind.

She starts spring in the pink— literally — with rosebuds everywhere. Light pink, dark pink, some nearly purple pink. Drive I-64 to Charlottesville in early spring, and you’ll see thousands of them along the road. There are also pink tulip trees in yards, too, but they’re non-native. So… pretty in pink, yes?

No! Now she goes all yellow.  Daffodils — everywhere — daffodils. Some little old lady planted daffodils at Chippokes Plantation and Lonestar Lakes and now they’re everywhere. Wild in the woods. Or there’s Carolina jasmine, that yellow vine you see everywhere in the woods along the road. Then fields become carpets of buttercups. Then the trees take over and rain yellow tulips in your front yard.  Even the weeds — dandelions — are pretty yellow.  Yellow wins, you say?  

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No!  Here come the reds, blues, purples. Azaleas, like the daffies, were once limited imports, but now they’re everywhere— from orange to purple to red — every conceivable color. Then there are the rhododendrons,  mainly purple. Drive through the mountains of western Virginia. And how about the irises? Talk about your purple.

So Mother Nature has changed her gaudy mind again, We’ve gone from pink to yellow to purples, etc. — is that it?

Nope.  White — bright white on green everywhere. Dogwoods. our state tree, are everywhere in the woods and neighborhoods. Luckily the non-native pink ones don’t spread. They’re white, white, white — on green. Then come the mountain laurels — smaller blooms but just as white/green.  Even the woods and invasive are white— little white daisy-like fleabane. Asian honeysuckle and invasive multiflora roses. Ever see any pink or yellow on a magnolia tree? Nope— they’re bright, bright white.

Finally Mother Nature is elbowed aside by the money of the nurseries and Lowe’s, and store-bought plants take over the gardens. They’re everywhere— impatiens, marigolds, coreopsis — ad infinitum. Roses, no less. Betcha ya won’t see any of them in the mountains.

But Ma Nature has all the garden centers beat— and for free. With pink to the yellow, yellow to purple-red-blues, then the bright, bright whites. She is beautiful — but fickle!