Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pink Chicory, and Musings on E-Etiquette


Such a glorious summer for wildflowers. It's green right up to the road margin, something you don't often see in August in Ohio. I take my camera everywhere I go. On our bluebird box route, the kids begged to take their bicycles along. I couldn't take both bikes in my car, so they settled for razor scooters. I saw them scooting along that lovely road and dropped to my knees to get the Queen Anne's lace in the action, too.


Their outfits were perfect reverses of each other. The spots of red brought the hazy summer landscape alive.


Like Queen Anne's lace, chicory survives our best efforts to rub it out. It grows in the worst compacted gravel it can find, right up to the roadside. It's probably salt tolerant, given the winter treatment of the roads. And it has the best blue, bar none, of any wildflower, in my opinion; a clear, periwinkle blue that makes my heart sing. I don't care if chicory, like Queen Anne's lace, is an exotic from Europe. I love it unreservedly, not least because it grows where no other flower will. (It's also used to flavor Luzianne coffee; it was used in the Civil War as a coffee substitute, and people got used to the taste).

I once bought a budgie because he had a breast that color. His name was Bing. My German grandmother loved Der Bingel (Bing Crosby), and decades earlier, she had named her parakeet Bing, too. If I ever get another parakeet, he will be Bing. It is a fabulous name for a parakeet. You may use it. I won't mind.

But once in awhile we find chicory that isn't blue. This is a wonderful year for pink chicory. We have five plants along our road near our mailbox. We see them every year, leading me to think that chicory is a perennial.


I don't know if you'd get pink flowers true from seed. Someone emailed me once about getting some pink chicory seed from me, but I lost the email in a crash. People email me about a lot of things, thanks to the Google image search, thanks to this blog, thanks to the Tubes of the Interwebs. I answer the urgent appeals for advice on baby bird care, but sometimes I get tired of the constant dribble of people needing things. They always want something, and they almost never properly identify themselves, state their name or location, use a proper salutation ("Hey Julie" is the usual) or say thank you once they've gotten it. The ones that do are lovely, but they are vastly outnumbered by people who think the operaters are standing by to take their call. I don't think I'm being cranky here. If you're asking someone you don't know for a favor, you need to write a formal letter. I try to indicate as much in my replies:


Thank you for your inquiry. I cannot tell you how to become a freelance writer and artist in an email. It's just something you have to do over and over until you get it right.

Ever at your service.

Julie Zickefoose.

Oh. Where was I?

I wonder why you'd want to propagate pink chicory. It's unusual, but it's about 1/10 as beautiful as regular old blue chicory.


People are funny, Mether. They propagate all kinds of unusual things. Look at me. Am I more beautiful than a wolf? I thought you would say yes.

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