Monday, October 30, 2006

Raking Leaves

Gathering orange, red, and yellow flecks of light,
Bringing into piled abundance the crisp noise of fall,
Hugging the bright blue canopy above to my soul,
Resting the fanned rake against my shoulder,
As I smell the rusty mustiness of it all,
I miss this totally.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Shoreline farewell

The empty boat house
Red-leaved flags waving farewell to summer
Waters quietly reminiscing
Over the summer's days of shouts and laughter
And the nights of smoky talk under starry skies.
Resigned to the cold winter waiting to come.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Glycyrrhiza lepidota (I think)

I took this picture in Colorado while hiking. The seed pods were so striking. There are three species of this plant.

Jude got me to do some research and I find that it is a plant from the licorice family which related to the pea family. Spikey seed pods such as these are rare in the pea family.

Now I wish I had picked some leaves or the roots and taste tested for licorice. While it is not everyone's favorite, I like the flavor. More information on this interesting plant can be found here.

If you don't have time to read the above link it is native to the United States and considered to be invasive. It also is considered to improve the soil and thus has a split 'personality.'

"Blackfoot Indians used wild licorice leaves to make poultices for earaches. Roots were used for toothache, fever and to strengthen the voice for singing. Clinically wild licorice is useful against gastric and duodenal ulcers, bronchial asthma and is an additive in cough syrups . Wild licorice can increase blood pressure."

and more:

"Licorice was so valued in ancient Egypt that King Tutankhamen was buried with a supply. In Shosoin, licorice stored for 1,200 years was tested for the active ingredients and it still contained glycyrrhizin."

Such exotica in a field in Colorado!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Whoops, wrong tune.

This is one of the things that helps to pass the time while folding laundry at the new house. We do not have TV hooked up and therefore, I watch some old VHS tapes of my daughters favorite comedian. Normally I would be folding laundry in the evening and gardening in the daytime. We are going slow on the gardening since it is the worst time of year to plant things and we are only there on the weekends to maintain and watch the plants.

This is another reason we are not rushing into planting the landscaping. We spend most of the time moving the sprinkler around the yard to keep what little lawn survived the bulldozer tragedy. In a few places my husband's rush to mow leaves pockets of grass near the house that we ignore. He was going to turn on the hose next to the house yesterday when he saw the grass quivering and upon closer inspection saw this little bunny shivering against the back wall of the house. (We were thinking it would be a snake.) He wouldn't leave until hubby moved the sprinkler one more time and he got caught in the shower!

I was wrong about the tiny tunia that I saved a week ago and it is a regular petunia. The water and fertilizer helped it recover from a neglected tiny plant into a full size petunia. In the center you can see that the alyssum is starting to bloom as well if you click on the photo.

FINALLY, the plant in the pot in the post below is an ornamental oregano. It smells wonderful.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A final clue

Well, either no one is playing this game with me or anyone who comes across this blog is really clueless...not true now because you have a very good clue above!

Monday, August 21, 2006

OK, A clue

This is a photo of a more traditional version of the blossoms of this plant. Can you guess it now?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Mystery Plant -- 1

I certainly do not need to be babysitting potted plants these days. Most of my plants are down at the new house and I make every effort to get there on a weekly basis to water and check on them. BUT, I was shopping at the local yuppie food store this evening and found (and purchased) this lovely plant which I had never seen before. (Upon researching I found there are several varieties of this, each unique and intriguing.) At first glance I thought it was related to a hydrangea...but it is not. Not even close.

Do you know what it is?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Tiny Tunia or Life Finds a Way

This Calibrachoa which is sometimes mistaken for a 'tiny petunia' was found blooming in this abandoned pot next to my new garage door. The pot had been unloaded from one of the many boxes, and because there was still dirt inside, it got set against the garage door outside with some other empty pots.

There also appear to be some white Allisum plants sneaking their way through the earth.

Why is the pot so special? This pot was grabbed at the last minute over three years ago when I had sold my house and it was thrown into the rental house metal shed with soil and all. It was a hanging pot on my deck and I wanted to save the plastic pot because it was in pretty good condition. With the rush of moving and grabbing things and being on overload the dirt in the pot was ignored. It was stored in the metal shed through very high summer temperatures and very cold winter temperatures and no sun and no water for over two years!

Then last Saturday this little red flower bloomed and caught my eye. I brought the plant inside and put it in the laundry room sink filled with water to let it soak for several hours, weeded the clover that was choking out most of the plants, and then I took it outside into partial sun on my deck. I am hoping that it will be OK until I get back there on Friday evening. My husband may be driving down on Thursday and maybe he can check on it.

I feel a lot of responsibility for these little plants now.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Wild Queen

Chancy suggested I plant a wildflower in my new yard landscape, Queen Anne's Lace. The Queen Anne referred to is Queen Anne of Denmark (1574-1619). This plant which came from Europe grows throughout the United States and I have partiality to this plant because of memories of picking it when I was a little girl and bringing bouquets home to my mother. This plant is actually the original plant from which we derive the garden carrot. If you break the stem or leaf it has a smell similar to parsley to which it is also related and the root looks a little like a tiny carrot root but it is tough and woody.

While it can be somewhat invasive and some refer to it as a weed, I have never had a problem keeping it under control. I think it tends to be less invasive in our wetter East Coast climate than it seems to be in a dry prairie field. I can remember early fall hikes in Colorado where I came upon plants that were three feet high with the primary blossom being fives inches wide. The leaves are also delicate and compliment the lace of the blossoms.

I like it because it is a wonderful addition to any bouquet in the house when the fall is beginning, although there are blossoms to pick in the later summer as well. It is one of the last plants to give up when the cold nights start. I remember a quote from the TV series Anne of Green Gables where Anne Shirley writes about the last few blossoms of the Queen Anne's Lace on P.E.I. before the winter sets in and that image has stayed with me all these years.

When the blossom fades it folds into itself and has the shape of a small birds nest which is another name it sometimes is given. I have read that the root is a diuretic and can be eaten, but never needed that aspect of the plant. I also read that it can be used as a morning after pill---but I don't need that anymore.

Therefore, I will get a packet of seeds next spring and scattered them along the woods edge at the front of the house where they can get plenty of daytime sun. Then I will try to remember to take a photo of the first bouquet from these.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Where am I going with this?

The house sits on the tip of a peninsula that rests about 20 feet above the water's edge. The land drops away on both sides with a moderate decline to conservation easement territory which I cannot change by much and for which I must pay taxes. There is a 100 foot easement to the water's edge at the point of the peninsula. The water is a tongue shaped area of brackish liquid heading out to the mouth of a long river which empties eventually into the Chesapeake Bay. Along the gentle curve of the gravel drive at the front of the house, there are three acres of woods that cover land back to the road. The woods include tulips, oaks, holly, pine, wild rose, poison ivy, Virginia creeper, and many others to be identified. The soil beneath all is mostly thick yellow clay. A potter could live here happily for decades.

In the ravines on either side of the house and at the water's edge live raccoons, snakes, box and snapping turtles, rabbits, deer, fox, and water birds. Others have not made their presence known - yet. In the water are menahaden, cownose rays, crabs, etc. Among the branches of the trees flit woodpeckers, wrens, robins, catbirds, cardinals, hawks, and many others yet to be identified.

Thus, in this land of abundant flora and fauna and challenging terrain, I will attempt to grow annuals and perennials and fruit and vegetables. Am I crazy? Of course I am. Most people with addictions have a little craziness in their soul which leads them to think they can accomplish the impossible to satisfy those addictions.

I will also dig and sweat and add what is called 'hardscape' on those television shows where an entire backyard is landscaped in 30 minutes. I have left-over bricks and rocks to use.

My husband and I will dig holes and plant plants and then the very next season dig up the same plants and move them to another hole which we will dig in another place. This is the perennial plant dance which many gardeners know very well.

I will swear at four legged mammals from my windows and maybe even throw rocks at them sometimes from the door or deck. If I am in a good mood, I will share. I will add cutely painted houses for the two-legged animals that will sing me awake in the mornings.

All of these will be chronicled in this blog.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Ok, House is Done.

Ok, house is done and now I am on to the next best thing!