Plant Poetry

April is Native Plant Appreciation Month. Since COVID has made it difficult to share the joy we all have for our flora in person, we’ve dug deep and come up with a scintillating alternative: poetry. In the tradition of the great poets like Rumi, Shakespeare, and Dickinson, we propose the high form of the limerick. For those that didn’t take a graduate seminar in advanced verse, the form can be executed by quilling five lines with the following verse meter: The first rhyming couplet sets the stage with seven syllables each, in what are colloquially known as the “A” verses; the second rhyming couplet builds tension by dropping down to just five syllables each, known as the “B” verses; resolution comes in the last verse with a return to the “A” pattern. Proper execution of these rules never fails to elicit gasps for air, tears of joy, and more than likely, yogic enlightenment. Surely the provided example alone is enough to satisfy the simple task of appreciating our flora. Never-the-less, other attempts are encouraged.*

*intended to be read with sarcasm

 Rosa gymnocarpa
 Roses are red they aren’t blue
 They’ve thorns on their stems it’s true
 Five petals above…
 Don’t you see my love
 That botanists can woo too.
 by T. Abe Lloyd 

The contest

Submit poems by April 15th to arcadianabe[at]yahoo[dot]com to be posted on this website. Multiple submissions welcome! Even if you don’t write a poem, please read. The author of the highest rated poem will receive a $50 gift certificate to our Chapter’s native plant sale.


The winner will be selected by ranked choice voting. Please send the titles of your favorite three poems (1 being your very favorite, 2 your second, and 3 your third favorite) to arcadianabe[at]yahoo[dot]com by April 20th.

The Winner!

Congratulations to Rosalind Spitzer! Her Skunk Cabbage Limerick received the most votes. Thanks for all delightful submission.

The Limericks

  Skunk Cabbage
 Yellow spears foretelling Spring,
 In a bog, it sprouts this thing,
 Fetid and funky,
 Squalid and skunky,
 Fetching flies with phallic bling.
 by Rosalind Spitzer 
 Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
 Nurseries grow these plants to sell
 ‘Cause they cover the ground so well
 But whether in Latin it’s written
 or in Coast Salish as spoken
 it’s exceedingly hard to spell!
 by Steve Tuckerman 
 Geranium robertianum 
 This Bob is very easy to key
 His flower is pink, you see.
 And when bruised by a boot 
 and pulled up by the root 
 its odor is decidedly stinky.
 by Steve Tuckerman 
 Zen Garden
 Now we need not blow or mow
 Our garden of moss, it's so.
 But with all that moss,
 I am now the boss
 Of unwanted grass that grows.
 by Lita Breiwick 
 My Garden
 Yes, my garden is in need.
 Things have, they say, gone to seed.
 Native plants could grow
 So lovely, I know.
 My best flower now's a weed!
 by Diane Bateman 
 Scintillate this

 Latin names are a’changing
 Must learn this rearranging
 But one thing remains
 And helps keep me sane
 The blooms remain engaging

 by Lyle Anderson
 Bunchberry Dogwood Spring
 Sun transforms this cold wet spring
 Evening frogs, romancing, sing
 Cornus leaves appear
 (Hope no deer are near)
 H'rah! What joy this rebirth brings!
 by Kim Clarkin
 Ponderosa Pine

 My branches sway in the breeze
 their tips have needles in threes
 my roots go down deep,
 it’s water they seek
 so I can grow where I please!

 by Ellen Kuhlmann 
 Hairy Manzanita
 Fuzzy leaves we often see
 But ironic it may be
 That these gnarly shrubs
 With those hairy stubs
 Would live on balds by the sea.
 by Jennie Tuckerman