"Floating Doilies"

A new friend recently told me about MaryJane Butters and loaned me Butter's book, MaryJane's Ideabook, Cookbook, Lifebook. I'm enjoying it one little bite at a time. It's really too tasty and too rich to devour all at once.

Yesterday I was sitting on the porch, feeling a little farmgirl, wearing overalls and pigtails. Fluffy and Cornelia were running in and out and around my legs. I came across a picture of cow parsnips accompanied by the phrase "floating doilies", and a crochet doily pattern from MaryJane's mother.

MaryJane writes: "When my husband, Nick, and I were featured in National Geographic in December 1995, they quoted me referring to roadside cow parsnips with the phrase 'floating doilies'. I call them that because they remind me of the doilies my mother used to make."

Now I've never seen a cow parsnip growing along the side of the road, but I immediately thought of my carrots.

carrot flower

This carrot has been growing in our tomato bed for the past two years. When it started to bolt earlier this spring, we decided to leave it be to see what it would become. My children beg to pick the carrot at least once a day, but they know the answer is "no".

carrot flower

No one leaves my garden without seeing my blooming carrot .

"I had no idea that carrots had flowers," I've heard from more than a few neighbors. I didn't know either until this year.

carrot flower

Had I known 11 years ago, I would have planted a bed of carrots the day I got engaged and carried carrot blooms down the aisle. A bouquet of "floating doilies". Perhaps I would have planted cilantro alongside my carrots just so I could have worn sprigs of coriander blooms and seeds in my hair on my wedding day.

coriander blooms and seeds

That would have driven my husband wild - he loves all things cilantro. I would have been the ultimate farmgirl bride.

This post is dedicated to Sherry, aka Roving Girl. She posted a picture of a carrot that had bolted, and wondered what the bloom would look like. I told her I would show her mine.

I've been thinking a lot lately about how grateful I am to have found friends here in the blogosphere with whom I share so many interests. It is absolutely amazing that we can communicate through words and pictures alone. We have developed a shared language made up of posts and pixels, tags and comments.

The people we meet face to face see our physical bodies, our clothes, our gestures, hear the sound of our voice, but here, through reading each other's words and seeing what each of us sees through the lenses of our cameras, we get a glimpse of each other's souls.

You might not recognize me if we passed on the street, you wouldn't recognize my voice if I called you on the phone, but I believe that you really see and hear me here, and I just want to say Thank You.


  1. Hi Molly,

    What a wonderful post! I had no idea that they were so beautiful. I can't wait for my "floating doilies" to bloom. I will definetly take some photos of them when they do.
    I have read MaryJane's Ideabook (surprise, surprise)and I really enjoyed it. (Also, I read the knitting/magic book recently too that you recommended and it was fabulous. Thank you for a good read)
    I agree with you and I am very grateful as well for the friendships that have formed in the land of blog. I find that it is easier to share what is truly inside of my heart and soul with the soulmates that I have found here.Thank you for this lovely post and for inspiring me with your words and friendship.
    Sherry (rovinggirl)

  2. Queen Anne's Lace is related to the carrot, isn't it? I posted some pictures of them last year, and Therese from earth and living wrote to ask if we knew we had wild carrots all over our roadsides.

    I have not tried to pull one up yet, though! This year I will.

  3. I've never heard them be called floating doilies, its charming. They are my favorite flowers but I've always known them as Queen Anne's Lace.

  4. yes - queen anne's lace is a wild carrot!

    from wikipedia:
    Like the cultivated carrot, the wild carrot root is edible while young, but quickly becomes too woody to consume. A teaspoon of crushed seeds has long been used as a form of natural birth control; its use for this purpose was first described by Hippocrates over 2,000 years ago. Research conducted on mice has offered a degree of confirmation for this use—it was found that wild carrot disrupts the implantation process, which reinforces its reputation as a contraceptive. Chinese studies have also indicated that the seeds block progesterone synthesis, which could explain this effect.

    It is recommended that, as with all herbal remedies and wild food gathering, one should use appropriate caution. Extra caution should be used in this case, as it bears close resemblance to a dangerous species (see Water Hemlock). The leaves of the wild carrot can cause phytophotodermatitis, so caution should also be used when handling the plant.

    The wild carrot, when freshly cut, will draw or change color depending on the color of the water it is in. Note that this effect is only visible on the "head" or flower of the plant. Carnation also exhibits this effect. This occurrence is a popular science experiment in primary grade school.

  5. I so look forward to your posts - they just keep getting better which seems impossible really.

  6. AnonymousJune 10, 2009

    A wonderful post - had no idea a carrot blossom was so lovely.


  7. I know what you mean about the amazing connections through the blogosphere. Reading my favorite blogs helps me to stay sane in the corporate world where I draw my paycheck.

    Not only do I have the same sandals that you are wearing in your banner...but I love MaryJane Butters! Along with her wonderful book, there are also all of the back issues of her magazine. Full of inspiration, interesting articles and gorgeous photography.

    We don't eat much of anything processed in our home, but we do order organic whole wheat biscuit mix and organic dehydrated black beans from MaryJane. They are constant staples in our houshold!

    p.s. After the flowers on your carrot, you'll get seeds...tiny almost microscopic. That's how people save seed from carrots.

  8. AnonymousJune 10, 2009

    so funny you added that about blogging. I was just talking to my husband about that last night. He still does not quite get the whole blogging thing. The connection is different than a friend down the street. I think it might be even more real. Because how many times, would you have your neighbor over to talk about the picture you took last night? Thank you for sharing your life here.

  9. Hi Molly. I've been thinking about this very thing (the blogworld and our relationships here) a lot lately. You pretty much said it all here, and better than I've been able to, so thank you.
    But I think you're wrong on one thing: I think I'd know you if I passed you on the street!

  10. What a beautiful post - especially those last two paragraphs. I never knew that a carrot bloomed either - it makes sense... just have never seen one in the ground long enough to actually SEE it bloom. Perhaps I will try to convince my parents on their acreage to leave theirs be so I can see it in person.

  11. Your words ring so true with me, too...I came across your blog through dmoms "this is my life". Thanks for sharing your thoughts so eloquently. Isn't it amazing and such a relief to find like-minded people?

    I'll be back...and I love your photos of the carrot blossoms. Beautiful!

  12. What a beautiful post Molly!
    Your words are lovely as usual, it is so true that we show so much of our hearts and soul here on our blogs. I linked to your "Naked, dirty, happy" post on my left sidebar under ::INSPIRING:: You inspire me girl!!

  13. those last few paragraphs are so, so true. xo.

  14. i had never seen a blooming carrot. now i want to plant some just to let them go to seed. so beautiful. and they would make a lovely wedding bouquet.

    i like what you said about a shared language. it's so true. trying to describe the connections made in blogland to someone who doesn't blog is pretty near impossible.

    and thank you for sharing all that you do.

  15. oh you said it so well, molly. and i bet i would recognize you, even in your cutest farm girl get up.

  16. I was trying to explain the lure of blogging to a friend who doesn't get it. I told her that you can come across people who have very specific interests that mesh with yours, which doesn't always happen in real life. People with very specific interests like, say, carrot blossoms!

    Just the day before yesterday, my youngest and I were hiking and we came across lots of cow parsnips, which is one of the few wildflowers for which he remembers the name. He named it, and I took a photo, thinking of Blue Yonder Stefani's labeled wildflowers for her boys.

    Isn't it crazy how all these things criss and cross between blogs? It's like a big, beautiful spiderweb woven between us.

  17. Such a wonderful post Molly. Can't tell you how much I enjoy your blog. My mom introduced me to MaryJane Butters books. Fell in love with that glorious tent situation she's got going on..also.. the outdoor clawfoot tub. Totally lamenting now I put the one from the backyard at the curb.

  18. Mary Jane's book is right up your alley, Molly! Our library doesn't carry it, I hope you still have the "lent" copy next time we see each other, it looks great. I love her apron patterns on the website! I really need to make more aprons, like I don't have enought to make. I just finished a hat for Peggy B and am starting another one, plus a knitted baby blanket for a co-worker, socks, and the braided rug. That's not even all of the wip's I have going. Hopefully when Dad is in Utah I can spend all my weekend going from craft to craft!

  19. Beautiful post! Hey, did you read Green Jello's post about Twilight? Cracking me up. We're not alone out there.

  20. Hmmm. I did not know that carrots flowered nor did I know that coriander came from cilantro seeds. I seems I have a lot of learning left to do!

  21. I'm a farmgirl who has never seen a fully bolted carrot. It's beautiful. At a farm, they would never let me take it that far. But maybe in my kids' farm garden.

    Beautiful words, as usual.

  22. AnonymousJune 11, 2009

    we have these sitting in the kitchen in vases with dye in them. it's our favorite summer project. Emmy's is now a beautiful blue and Boo's is just starting to turn pink.

    they are so delicate and my next favorite to honeysuckle.

    when you get done this book, check out Mary Jane's book "Outpost", i got it from the library two weeks ago and it inspired our backyard campout.

    i checked the Ideabook out so many times my sister the librarian finally bought it for me.

  23. sweet post! loooove growing carrots! love eating them too...
    i really enjoy your blog, and i always look forward to the happenings in your neck of the woods! :)
    have a great weekend~Karen

  24. Sooooooooooooo pretty. I also did not know that carrots blossom. Craziness.

  25. That brings back memories for me. When we were on our road trip we were able to stop by her awesome farm and meet her. It was so beautiful there in Moscow. We try to go once a year. If you are ever able to make it up here lets go together.
    Happy summer!

  26. i am in love with carrot blooms too, it all began when I left one to collect the seed and my reaction was similar to yours. I read in my Seed Savers handbook that if you want to save carrot seed then you should not let Queen Annes lace flower near the carrots at the same time otherwise cross pollination occurs and the seed is not true.... I think I am going to stay with carrots.

  27. I never knew carrots bloomed and I also never knew that Queen Anne's lace was a wild carrot! I was out taking pictures of those just last week. Now I have my "fun fact" for the day!

  28. AnonymousJune 16, 2009

    Cow parsnip, is that the same as queen anne's lace? I think I remember reading it was in some kind of parsnip family last year when I was doing random research on them. And your carrot looks an awful lot like queen anne's lace too.

    I wholeheartedly agree with that last paragraph. :) And it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

  29. AnonymousJune 16, 2009

    hm, I should've read the comments. :)

  30. I just found your blog. Your words and photos are beautiful, gentle and kind. Thank you for some peaceful moments at the end of the day.

  31. Well we have Queene Anne's Lace that grows by the side of the road and looks very similar to your carrot. And I had to smile thinking of carrying a bouquet of floating doilies down the aisle.

  32. Great post. Those floating doilies are my mother's favorite flower and they always remind me of her. Thanks for sharing. {I loved your wedding ideas.}


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