Category Archives: Plants in our World

Asters and Goldenrod

It’s September in Western Massachusetts, the time of asters and goldenrod. Have you noticed that the purple flowering aster and the yellow flowering goldenrod seem to find each other in the meadow? Do they choose to grow together or it is just that we notice them when they are close because they look so beautiful together?

Robin Wall Kimmerer asked this question in a chapter from her best selling book, Braiding Sweetgrass; Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants.

As it happens, I was listening to this chapter as I rode my bike to the Buddhist Peace Pagoda in Leverett, MA (up a serious hill). Having arrived at the pagoda grounds, I sat for a while to rest before heading back downhill. I took the following picture to send to my family to prove to them I had made it up the hill (which they all knew well).

While listening to Dr. Kimmerer explain why the purple asters and yellow flowering goldenrod grew side by side, I noticed that all of the purple flags on the string of Buddhist prayer flags blowing in the wind were placed next to yellow flags. All of them!

Maybe the monks knew something?

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