Tuesday, November 29, 2016


When I photographed this mullein plant,
it was only moments away from losing it's light layer of frost.
Can you see it?

The morning sun was just coming up through the trees, so plants close to the ground were still coated with frost. The trees were intercepting the sun rays, and frost on hemlock needles and beech leaves was sparkling and literally disappearing before my eyes. Melted frost dripped from the tips of beech leaves faster than I could focus on an individual droplet.

This particular mullein plant has given me a lot of pleasure this year.
It grew in the Very Raised Bed, so I walked by often and stopped to admire it many, many times.

You may already know that mullein is a biennial plant. The first year there is a rapidly-growing basal rosette of thick, fuzzy "bunny ears."
(That may sound twee or childish, but I defy anyone to see that first rosette of mullein leaves in the Spring and not think of soft furry ears.)
The second year, the plant produces it's impressive stalk and flowers. I find mullein visually interesting at all stages of it's life, and all year round.

Mullein is always a popular plant with pollen-gatherers.
This one had frequent visitors:

I did an ink-and-watercolor drawing based on that same cluster of blossoms. Can you tell I was drawing a stalk that was far over my head?

The big soft leaves and sunny flowers made me smile so many times all through the summer. And come next Spring, I'll hope to find new mullein plants, offspring of this one, sprouting nearby.

But meanwhile, right now, I find this plant so beautiful.