Brush Hill Thrills

June 2nd, 2010 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

Small treasures abound on Brush Hill Road, just into Milton. Gorgeous blossoms are showing off now, if you’re slow enough.

I bike up the hill regularly but don’t join the many walkers and few runners often. There are no sidewalks and SUV seems the ride of choice on the narrow road — often at zippy speeds.

Heading down yesterday toward Mattapan Square, I skirted the east side and saw lots of wild flowers. I confess that I don’t notice or don’t slow enough biking to enjoy them.

xspikesFirst was the mystery. I’m not familiar with the bushy plant (about five feet high) with the clusters of purple and yellow flowers. I didn’t learn that one in my gardening classes and can’t find it in my books. I’ll keep at it and update this when I ID it.

Down at the bottom at Truman Parkway was a flashback to my youth, a honeysuckle. They are not as common up here as in Virginia. They aren’t as large either. A single bush was on the Parkway, but that was enough to recall junior high gym.

The eighth-grade PE teacher I had was into running. He had been a college and then for a few years professional soccer player in Germany. Burning lungs indicated virtue and ambition to him. He’d have us out on the 220 track all fall and spring. We ran in bunches of, as I recall, six at a time. There was lots of downtime and recuperation between sprints or miles.

The whole fence beside the track was greened with honeysuckle. It separated the baseball field from the track and was maybe 100 yards long.

We’d sit and suckle honeysuckle. We had a bit of epicurean chatter too. Was the yellow flowers’ nectar sweeter than the whites’? Did the flower from one bush taste any different from that of another? We also enjoyed the shade.

I’ve never seen Yankees sitting and enjoying honeysuckle. Surely Northerners do somewhere, if not beside a four-lane road.

Back on Brush Hill, another subtle treasure was a large number of nightshade in bloom. nightshadeThe berries were not yet ripe, but on their way. The petals though were the typical airy lavender of the family.

These are in the belladonna and deadly nightshade group. The berries and leaves, in particular, are toxic. While we learn as kids to leave this plant alone, but don’t shy away from many of its close relatives. Potatoes, tomatoes and eggplants are kin. Their leaves too have poisons, even as we enjoy the fruiting parts of some and the roots of others.

It’s a good season to be at a 4MPH pace on the roadside.

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