Cowpen DaisiesVerbesina enceliodes of the aster family. That sounds very blue blood doesn’t it? Fortunately, its common name is the Cowpen Daisy, which delights me. I just didn’t expect a profusion of yellow flowers to burst through the drying November landscape. And, there they were…all around the cowpens. Cowpen Daisies. Perfect. I’m getting tuned in to the flowers of North Texas again.  I’ve spent the last few months spreading a massive amount of bluebonnet seeds, thanks to a gift from my mother. She’s funny that way…thinking of just the perfect thing that never occurs to others. I have a bit of land, and she gave me wildflower seeds. And it has opened my eyes, because I’m spending my free days, such as they are, wandering around Clay County looking for a “bit of earth”♥ to cast my bluebonnet seeds on, so that they will make contact with the soil and have a better chance of making their azure debut next spring. And the result is that I’m becoming very aware of the changes happening around me as the cold weather approaches. More on my bluebonnets some other time, because these humble Cowpen Daisies were the blazing glory of my November, decorating the cowpens like they wanted to pens to be festooned for a parade. A great showing. The bees were happy. When I approached the pens there was a growing buzz, and I realized that all of the noise was coming from the daisies. This is my favorite photo from the weekend. I think I did them justice. They are a modest flower but in their incredible abundance and density, they really put on a show.

about “a bit of earth”…

“Might I,” quavered Mary, “might I have a bit of earth?”  is a quote from the book , The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It is about a little girl who asks her guardian for a spot in the garden to plant things on a giant estate. It is one of my favorite little moments in literature, thinking of this child who wants nothing more than to make things grow. Here it is in context…with thanks to Authorama. I’m not sure you needed this thorough of an explanation…but here it is. Clay County couldn’t be further away from the types of estate gardens in England, but still this thought resonated with me as I cast my little bluebonnet seeds on the bare, dry dirt.

♥“Might I,” quavered Mary, “might I have a bit of earth?”

In her eagerness she did not realize how queer the words would sound and that they were not the ones she had meant to say. Mr. Craven looked quite startled.

“Earth!” he repeated. “What do you mean?”

“To plant seeds in–to make things grow–to see them come alive,” Mary faltered.

He gazed at her a moment and then passed his hand quickly over his eyes.

“Do you–care about gardens so much,” he said slowly.

“I didn’t know about them in India,” said Mary. “I was always ill and tired and it was too hot. I sometimes made little beds in the sand and stuck flowers in them. But here it is different.”

Mr. Craven got up and began to walk slowly across the room.

“A bit of earth,” he said to himself, and Mary thought that somehow she must have reminded him of something. When he stopped and spoke to her his dark eyes looked almost soft and kind.

“You can have as much earth as you want,” he said. “You remind me of some one else who loved the earth and things that grow. When you see a bit of earth you want,” with something like a smile, “take it, child, and make it come alive.”


Many thanks to the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center for the online gallery of wildflowers by which I was able to identify this lovely new friend.


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