E pluribus unum...Out of Many...One... A new way of seeing monocots… plants that grow from a single bulb

By By Jean Golicz, Master Gardener and Board of Trustee member

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I returned to Mercy by the Sea yesterday for the first time in two months. It was wonderful to work in the pollinator garden. I missed the daffodils blooming this spring, but I could see the pink petals of dianthus peeking through beneath the foliage. I was also thrilled to see that some milkweed was emerging next to the Rudbeckia. I added Shasta daisies and perennial sunflowers. Aside from the daffodils, most of these plants are dicots. Plants that flower can be classified as either monocots or dicots. The main distinction is the number of cotyledons present in the plant embryo. Cotyledons are the first part of the plant to emerge. Most bulbs are monocots.

Classification of plants at this level most likely is only of interest to botanists. Personally, I plant what I like. I have never included Alliums in my garden. They seem stark with their singular stems and solitary globes. However, when I read that deer don’t like them either, I decided to plant bulbs last fall. They are now my favorite in the spring garden. Despite cold temperatures and harsh winds this past month, they continue to stubbornly stand and resist seasonal hostilities.  

The other day, I examined closely one of these alliums. It is a bold flower courageously defying classification and rebelliously ignoring my strict rules on dicots and monocots. This brightly colored allium laughed and said, “Don’t you see? I am made up of many!”

Alliums grow from a single bulb, and from a distance, it appears to be one flower. Upon closer examination, the observer discovers that it consists of many individual florets. This circular bloom traditionally symbolizes unity...growing from one, appearing as one, yet combining the beauty of many. 

As we contemplate the beauty of creation, may we be ever mindful of the suffering of its creatures. Unified in love, committed to peace, embraced by One, breathed by many, aided in honoring ALL the colors of a new dawn. 

A Prayer of Awareness by John Philip Newell - Praying with the Earth: A Prayerbook for Peace

Light within all light
Soul behind all souls
at the breaking of dawn
at the coming of day
we wait and watch.
Your Light within the morning light
Your Soul within the human soul
Your Presence beckoning to us from the heart of life.
In the dawning of this day
let us know fresh shinings in our soul.
In the growing colours of new beginning all around us
let us know the first lights of our heart.
Great Star of the morning
Inner flame of the universe
let us be a colour in this new dawning.