V is for Violets on the A to Z Challenge

  • Post published:04/26/2016
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 V is for Violets on the A to Z Challenge. Violets have always been a part of our lawn, more correctly called a flowery mead because of the all the 'weeds' growing in it. And yet dandelions, clover and violets provide nectar and pollen for pollinators in the  early spring when very few plants are blooming. Of course, there are many more types of violet and you can read all about them on the American Violet Society website. …

U is for Umbelliferae

  • Post published:04/25/2016
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U is for Umbelliferae. Umbelliferae is the family of plants that includes carrots, cilantro/coriander/ dill,  lovage, parsley, parsnips and Queen Anne's Lace. As well as a few others. I hadn't thought about the range of this family until I read Vegetable Literacy, a wonderfully informative horticultural book - and cook book filled with delicious recipes. The name Umbelliferae refers to the type of flower form - umbel. I wrote about Queen Anne's Lace here  and identified it as Daucus…

After Pollinators and Wildflowers Comes a Cocktail Hour

  • Post published:04/17/2016
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It doesn’t seem so very long ago that no one gave a thought to pollinators. People were afraid of bees and stings, but they never thought about the hundreds of bee species that kept vegetable and fruit farms producing. Perhaps that was because so much of our food came from far off places like California where we were never aware of what farms, farmers and crops needed. Nowadays, with people we are more sensible of the benefits of…

G is for Groundcover – Gill-over-the-ground

  • Post published:04/08/2016
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G is for Groundcover like ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea) otherwise known as gill-over-the-ground, seen here creeping from my lawn into the new Lawn Beds. There is a lot of cross-over, if not confusion, about what is a wildflower, weed, or ‘real plant.’  A friend was trying to figure out how to rid of the gill-over-the-ground that had suffocated the strawberries growing under her grapevines. We discussed carboard and solarizing, but another friend asked why she didn’t just leave…

F is for Foam Flower

  • Post published:04/07/2016
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F is for foam flower, more properly named Tiarella cordifolia.  Foam flower is a delicate perennial shade loving groundcover that sends up plumy racemes of white or pale pink flowers in the spring and early summer. The heart shaped foliage explains the ‘cordifolia’ in its proper name. When the flowers are finished the plant will continue to spread by runner (stolons) over the ground making a very attractive groundcover.  It prefamp humusy soil. However it cannot thrive where…

Roadside attraction – chicory and daylilies

  • Post published:07/13/2015
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One traditional roadside attraction is summer is chicory (Cichorium intybus) with sky blue flowers, sharing space here with the  common orange daylily. Stunning combo. Of course, chicory is a pretty stunning roadside attraction all by itself. Mother Nature is no slouch when she plants a garden for the public.

First Dandelion – First Signs of Spring

  • Post published:05/06/2015
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The first dandelion seems  early this year, an indication that spring has arrived almost all in an instant after our very long and very frigid winter. The grass is suddenly green and the green veil across the trees at the edges of our field is becoming more opaque. The lilac leaf buds seem to double in size every day. Violets are blooming in the hots spots along the house foundation, too thick with weeds to make a good…

Coltsfoot, Not Dandelions in April

  • Post published:04/22/2015
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Coltsfoot, properly known as Tussilago farfara, has other names like horse foot, foal's foot and bull's foot all referring to the shape of the plant's leaves which will not appear for a while yet. Another name for Coltsfoot is Coughwort because of its use as an antitussive, a remedy for throat irritation and coughs. In both China and Europe it has been used in medicines for all kinds of respiratory complaints. I have a cough but I have…

Wildflowers and Others in the Field

  • Post published:08/11/2014
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I have wildflowers in the fields around our house. Other flowers have joined them unexpectedly. These wildflowers showed up mysteriously en masse this year. I believe they are panicled asters. They are tall with 'willow-like' leaves, numerous rays and they bloom in August through October. Lots of these pretty flowers in the field and along the roadside. Goldenrod, solidago. Maybe this is Solidago juncea which has tiny leaflets in the axils of the slim toothless of the upper…

Tree Peonies Lead Off Early June Bloom Record

  • Post published:06/06/2014
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My plan to have a twice a month bloom record is off to a slow start, but the tree peonies are right on time, beginning to bloom on the first of June. This is Guan Yin Mian. Guan Yin is the Goddess of Mercy, and the work 'mian' is face. Not hard to see the face of a goddess in this beautiful and hardy plant.  Next to her is a deeper pink tree peony, name lost, that was…