A Day for Veterans

This tale was originally published by Loret T. Setters on November 11, 2011 at the defunct national blog beautifulwildlifegarden[dot]com. Click the date to view reader comments.

On Oct. 8, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Proclamation 3071. It informs us that on June 4, 1926, Congress passed a resolution that Americans should observe the anniversary of the end of World War I, Nov. 11, 1918, with appropriate ceremonies. In 1938, Congress made Nov. 11 a legal holiday called Armistice Day. Eisenhower changed Armistice Day into Veterans Day because of “two other great military conflicts in the intervening years,” World War II and the Korean War. Eisenhower declared these wars necessary “to preserve our heritage of freedom.” He called upon us as American citizens “to reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that (the) efforts (of veterans) shall not have been in vain.” (source)

vet·er·an noun \’ve-tə-rən, ‘ve-trən\

Definition of VETERAN

1. a : an old soldier of long service
b : a former member of the armed forces (source)

President Eisenhower certainly couldn’t have predicted the wars fought in the years following, but he certainly did a smart thing in making the change so that all of those who work so hard to protect us are remembered with this special day.

What’s this all have to do with gardening?  Not much!  So how am I going to tie it in, in keeping with the purpose of our blog? (…drumming fingers on the table).  (Thinking….) Ok, follow along…

“Origin of VETERAN

Latin veteranus, from veteranus, adjective, old, of long experience, from veter-, vetus old <snip>
First Known Use: 1509″ [ibid]

Old? Of long experience? hmmm, sounds a little like native plants could be considered veterans of our gardens. I’ll just touch upon three Florida “veterans” in my garden.  See? all knotted up 😀

TROPICAL SAGE; BLOOD SAGE
DOCTORBUSH
MISTFLOWER

Tropical Sage or Blood Sage (Salvia coccinea)
is an annual or sometime perennial herb that reaches a height of 1-3
feet. Freely self seeds. Nectar source for hummingbirds, bees and other insects. Fairly deer resistant due to pungent taste (no personal
experience on this aspect, but I’ll check my next salad).

salvia110911

Doctorbush (Plumbago zeylanica aka P. scandens)
is a sprawling sub-shrub rarely reaching more than 12 inches in height, but growing outward from the central stem for 3-4 feet or more, so acts rather vine-like. Does well in semi-shade. Florida native larval food source for the Cassius Blue Butterfly.

plumbago110911

Blue Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum)
is a perennial herb that reaches a height of 1-3 feet. Freely self seeds or divide by roots. Can be aggressive, but provides nectar for bees and butterflies, especially late in the season.

mistflower110911

Take a moment out of your day to think about what three plants (native to your area) you can add to the garden.  While you are out there planting them, say a prayer for our current service members. May they all be home soon to become our veterans of tomorrow.

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