All posts tagged: herbaceous

Bottlebrush Plant

One of the most prolific bushes in our Arizona yard is the Bottlebrush. Behind the bottlebrush is our Oleander hedge, also a prolific flower producer this time of year! Each bottlebrush bush produces an abundance of bright red blooms made up of masses of stamens with the pollen at the tip of each filament. Plant Profile Common Name: Bottlebrush Scientific Name: Callistemon Hardiness: USA zones 8 through 11; can withstand low temperatures of 20-25 degrees F Growth: evergreen shrub; full sun to partial shade Blooms: red bottlebrush shape flowers This week’s photo challenge is Prolific.

Rain Drops Make the Flowers Sparkle

After the rain – the plants were freshly washed and ready to have their photos taken! To do these photos justice, click on one of them to open a slideshow. To close the slideshow, press your ES-Ca-pay button (or the tiny ‘X’ on the top left of the screen). Your Good Days – any particularly memorable one? For other stories about Good Days, click on this link:  Today Was A Good Day

Sunflowers Face a Snow Storm

The first snow of the season is more than mildly inconvenient. It is often accompanied by below freezing temperatures, and that brings an end to the growing season of the tender plants. After that, the weather generally goes back to normal, and we get weeks of beautiful fall weather. Still recovering from the beating they took from the hail, my intrepid sunflower plants have not even started to bloom. Last year, the sunflowers in my yard looked like this!

Fern – My Fiddle Headed Frond

I’d like you to meet my frond, Fern.  At first glance, she seems to lead a pretty simple life. She doesn’t have flowers, nor does she bear seeds, but that doesn’t stop her from creating an extensive family. She sneaks off underground with her rhizome,  and then pops up as a new fern every few feet.  In the not so distant past she lived with other plants in my yard, but her sneaky underground incursions made her unpopular. So I was forced to enter her into a relocation program – it was that or banish her forever, and I hated to do that in this land where only the hardy survive. She has been replanted in an isolated spot near the Spruces, in a shady patch of earth where nothing else likes to grow. She is happy there. Fern says she can trace her family history back at least 145 million years.  That is quite a feat – I thought I was doing good to find some ancestors in England in the late 1700’s . …

Flowers Wearing Summer White

Are you hoping we have a White Christmas this year? I cannot tell a White Lie – by the time Christmas rolls around here, I’ll be holding up the White Flag and praying no more White Stuff falls to the ground.  After the hundredth Whiteout,  they can send in the men in White Coats to take me away – but not until after I’ve had a chance to go to the White Sale – I need some blue towels… I like White in the summertime, though. It makes for a nice contrast to the sea of green.. A quintessential Daisy – the multi petaled Shasta Daisy has bright yellow-gold centres and a ‘dare-you’ attitude that even a deer steers clear of! ________________________________ The Iceland Poppy is a hardy plant that sends out wave after wave of white, yellow or orange flowers all summer long.  They reseed themselves freely, resulting in new poppy plants in the most unexpected places! _______________________________ White Dianthus with deeply cut petals are hardy plants, but they frequently don’t make it through …

Pansies – Flowers of Many Faces

If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one? – Abraham Lincoln – The Pansy Family of flowers! They are fairly easy to grow and are fragrant and edible. And they have delightful faces – each and every one of them is unique! What more can you ask for in your garden? The reason there are so few female politicians is that it is too much trouble to put makeup on two faces. – Maureen Murphy – This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Face.

Painted Daisies – No Lackadaisical Flowers Here!

The Painted Daisies (Tanacetum coccineum) are quite hardy here, and though it has been said that deer don’t like to eat them, my Painted Daisies have been providing a scrumptious snack to the four footed browsers (White tail deer) ever since they bloomed! I planted a whole border of these pink beauties along one side of my vegetable garden, and so far one quarter of the row has become ungulate food. What I find curious about these flowers is that up until this year all the blooms have been light pink in color. Then suddenly this year, a few dark pink flowers appeared within one small clump. I’m looking forward to the possibility that other shades of pink appear when this year’s seeds germinate and bloom next year! If the English language made any sense, lackadaisical would have something to do with a shortage of flowers. – Doug Larson –

Oriental Poppies – Some Shouting in the Garden

Not content to fade to muted tones of green after the riot of colour provided by The Tulips, my garden has moved into the stage I call “Shouting”. This phase is led by the Oriental Poppy – Papaver oriental – a perennial plant that puts out deep orange blooms that are about 5 inches across! Quiet and subtle – NOT! Held high above their hairy green leaves, these blooms will last only a few days. Once finished, the poppy plant leaves will wither and die, rebounding in the early fall with another flush of green, and perhaps even a bloom or two. Speaking of shouting, I saw this quote somewhere, and it seemed an appropriate one to pass on to all gardeners who are mothers: I will not have a temper tantrum, Nor stomp across the floor. I will not pout, scream or shout, Or kick against the door. I will not throw my food around, Nor pick upon another. I will always try to be real good, Because I am the mother!


Plant Profile Common Name: Poppy Scientific Name: Papaver Hardiness: herbaceous annual, biennial or short-lived perennial Papaver somniferum (Breadseed Poppy): source of poppy seeds; annual with red, white or pinkish flowers. Papaver orientale (Oriental Poppy): perennial with orange, red, white or pinkish flowers. Papaver nudicaule (Iceland Poppy): short-lived perennial with white cream, yellow, salmon, orange, pink or red flowers. Papaver alpinum hybrids (Alpine Poppy): short-lived perennial with white to cream, yellow, soft pink or orange flowers.

Aquilegia – Promiscuous Cross Pollination

Some of the flowers in my garden aren’t all that picky about their “pollen” partners. They will mate with just about anything in their genus, apparently. The Aquilegia (Columbine) is one such example of plants that are prolific breeders. The Aquilegia vulgaris is quite common in gardens in many parts of the world. They come in many colors, and each new plant that pops up in my yard has the potential to be a color I’ve not seen before.This one is a pretty pale pink and off white. This is one of the darker Columbines – shades of purpley burgundy and mauve. This is an Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Nora Barlow’ – or a close sibling to one, anyhow. The flower petals are quite different from the garden variety Columbine, and the ‘Nora Barlow’ is usually a pinky color. But now and then a ‘Nora Barlow’ crosses with the garden variety of vulgaris and all of a sudden I have a multi-petal flower in purple! (And in this photo, a big daddy long legs spider too!) Of …

Fog and Rain Drops on the Flowers

Fog isn’t a common occurrence here, but a nice thick blanket of it can roll in any time of the year. This past week-end, we woke up to an icy temperature of just two degrees above freezing, misty rain, and fog. From inside the cozy house, the view outside was quite dramatic. With most of the background masked, the fading but still bright yellow Tulips and rows of Grape Hyacinth (Muscari) were much more intense in color. Tiny water droplets coated the fuzzy seed heads of the Pasque Flower (Anemone pulsatilla). This hardy Rose will have flowers much like the native Alberta Wild Rose, but the leaves have almost a blue cast to them. Weighed down by their coat of water droplets, the Iceland poppies draped over the small Grape Hyacinths. By early afternoon, the temperature had climbed to a balmy 5 degrees above freezing. The weatherman was confidently predicting a temperature of 19C. Normally we wouldn’t believe such nonsense, but sometimes we just hope for a miracle and go ahead with the plans we …

Draba and Daffodils are Cheery Yellow Flowers

Apparently there is more to the color Yellow than meets the eye, so to speak. While it can be a warm and cheery color, it is also the most fatiguing to the eyes. It can invoke frustration and anger, but is said to increase metabolism.  It can denote happiness and joy, but also cowardice and deceit. In my yard, yellow means the very first flowers of spring/summer have appeared. And while this means digging dandelions out of the flower beds, it also means that the tiny Draba aizoides are in full bloom and the daffodils are boldly challenging the deer to eat them. Daffodils are fearless.   This photograph of a clump of Daffodils reminded me of a family portrait. See the one on the left. Distracted by something, it is peering off towards the fence. And the one on the far right. Heard a duck in the pond, and is craning its neck to take a look. The two in the back? They think no one will catch them sticking their tongues out at …

Pansies and the First Flowers of Spring in Alberta

I hesitate to call it Spring because there is still a lot of snow on the ground. But a few species of migrating birds, like the robin, have arrived, so I thought maybe I should go outside and see what is going on. A clump of rather battered and forlorn looking pansies were daring the snow to get any closer. A brave bit of green something was peeking out from under the weight of winter. A bare patch of grass shows the activity of the wee mice in winter. And a tree in the woods asks when it will be freed from its blanket of snow.

Sunny Yellow Flowers at Goldfield Arizona

Goldfield Arizona sits on a small hill between the Superstition Mountains and the Goldfield Mountains. The settlement of got its start in 1892 when very rich, high grade gold ore was found in the area. Just five years after it began, the gold vein played out and Goldfield became a ghost town.Today it is a popular tourist destination.

Sunflowers – From Seeds to Flowers

I am hard at it, painting with the enthusiasm of a Marseillais eating bouillabaisse, which won’t surprise you when you know that what I’m at is the painting of some sunflowers. – Vincent van Gogh – Just about my favourite flowers are sunflowers. Big sunflowers. So bright and bold and brash. This year I planted 6 giant sunflowers in the new planters on the front patio. They grew well, soon dwarfing the grasses I had planted.  But would the sunflowers bloom before they were bitten by the first hard frosts of the fall?   Oddly enough, the first sunflower to bloom was the shortest one and the one that got the least sun. After that, they bloomed in succession, with the one that got the most sun each day blooming last. This isn’t a very good plan on the part of the sunflower world, because the tallest sunflower stood a very good chance of being snuffed out by winter before it got a chance to produce seed… We eventually chopped off their heads and laid …