Galaxies in petunias

This year my petunias are overflowing with blossoms! They remind me of the starry night sky.

A deep blue-purple with spattered white markings that fade around the margins- like galaxies!

It makes me so happy look at them. This morning it was my inspiration for my nature journal page.

Finished page- this took nearly an hour because I waited for the purple to dry before adding white. And I spent a lot of time just being with this petunia- not just busily recording data.

In nature journaling, we look at nature more carefully than we normally would. I record my noticings, ask questions, and write down what it reminds me of. I sketch the flowers, slowing down to see the details.


A few things I observed: 140 open blossoms, with seemingly non-stop formation of new buds.

I also realized that I have never smelled them. Wow! I surprised by the sweet scent of the flowers and the leaves too!

And, each with its own unique collection of markings, mini galaxies. Like fingerprints or in this case- petal prints!


Wow, so each flower is one of a kind– one that will never exist after it fades. It reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite naturalist writers.

What if I had never seen this before?

What if I knew I would never see it again?

Rachel Carson, from The Sense of Wonder

This thought puts me in a different frame of mind. In front of me there is a crowd of cheerful flower faces, each deserving my attention.

As I draw, I give the petunias my full focus, every petal, stigma, leaf, and stem.

Recording this moment in my journal with words and pictures will anchor this memory in my mind. And every time I flip to this page iwill be transported to this very moment, seeing the galaxy in a sea of purple petunias.

Ordinary nature has so much for us to discover. But only if we stop to smell the —petunias!

An invitation

What ordinary nature is around you? Perhaps your driveway plants, your hedge, the tree in your back yard that shades you in summer, or the weeds growing with vigor in the sidewalk cracks?

Can you stop to give a few minutes if your attention?

What did you discover when you did this? I’d love to hear your experience so please comment below!

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