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MOSS VERBENA Verbena tenuisecta

The highest form of worship is the expression of gratitude for God’s creativity, for His love, and His grace that redeems us from sin. Not only did Jesus teach us to love God completely but He commanded us “to love our neighbor as ourselves” (Matthew 22:39).

The wildflower for today depicts an important truth, that is, righteousness is both vertical (to God) and horizontal (to our neighbor).

I first saw this wildflower along Interstate 16 from Macon to Savannah many years ago. Later I saw it along roadsides in our area. When rainfall is normal it blooms abundantly, but because of the droughts of the past decade it is not as common as it once was.

MOSS VERBENA Verbena tenuisecta

Moss verbena is a native of South America but has transitioned to our climate with ease. It requires full sun and is an excellent drought tolerant plant.

The normal blooming season is from March through May and again in the fall when mild temperatures recur. However, in a mild winter it has been seen in February.

The individual moss verbena bloom measures less than 1/2 inch across; however, blooms rarely appear as singles but as umbrella-shaped clusters, as pictured.

The plants are a ground cover and rarely grow taller than 18 inches, usually only 8 to 10 inches. When the blooms die, the flower heads need to be clipped off. Thus, regular mowing by highway maintenance personnel inspires new bursts of blooms throughout the Summer.

Most wildflowers are noticed when they stand tall and the blooms are large. Those that have small blooms go unnoticed unless, like the moss verbena, they cluster in blankets. Our relation to the message of Christ is vertical and horizontal, just like what we notice in the wildflower kingdom.

Some people who are attracted by the bright colors of the big blooms count their right-ness with God in where they attend church (looking vertically). Others count their right-ness by being a good neighbor (looking horizontally). However, when faced with the full message of Christ, we are called to see the immensity of the diverse world population and fall to our knees seeking God’s guidance and help to be what He wants us to be, both vertically and horizontally.

What am I saying? Expand your thinking horizontally with these facts. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, world population (7.8 billion) increases about 81 million this year. In only one year it has increased more than the total population of Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas combined.

May we be good neighbors during this pandemic, limit our wandering about, wear a mask, maintain social distance, and wash frequently.

Orrin Morris is a retired Baptist minister, local artist and art teacher. To purchase a two-volume set of books featuring his wildflower columns, visit The Sketching Pad in Olde Town Conyers, or call 770-929-3697 or text 404-824-3697. Email him at odmsketchingpad@yahoo.com.

Editor

I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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