Good article. To me plants are a little like people, once you met and got acquainted with someone you will spot him (her) in a crowd. Same with plants, once you know them by shape, color, size and so on they seem to pop out of the general growth, I experiment it a lot here in tropical location where there is a very large variety of species, in the beginning it was like walking amongst a crowd in L.A.or New-York, unknown faces, then little by little I get to know more and more. So now even while driving I recognize most but have to stop every once in a while, get closer and make introduction!
I moved to Texas 10 years ago from Ohio, having lived in the Midwest states all of my life. One of the things that took longest for me to get used to was not recognizing the plants I was passing by when we went on drives. I was used to being able to recognize most of the crops in the fields, and most of the wildflowers along the road, and now everything was different! One of the blessings of having found Dave's Garden 4 years ago is that now I can once again recognize a lot of the plants we drive by, which helps me feel much more at home. :-)
Thanks for a fun read and for bringing a favorite poem back to the front of my memory!
I've been getting better at recognizing plants, too... and the more time I spend looking at photos posted here and adding different plants to my own garden, the more specific my IDs are becoming... but you're right, often we're doing well if we can figure it out in a general fashion!