When I start a new plant from seed for the first time, I don’t always know what will be a hit and what I’ll be bored with by this time in July. The Morelle de Balbis is a big hit. My last update was posted at the beginning of July and I think the plant has doubled in size since. It gets more interesting and beautiful by the day. Fruit is on the way!
Back when I bought the seeds I hesitated. I knew it was going to be large, unruly and difficult to place. I am so glad I went ahead anyways and even managed to get it planted, unlike some contenders that didn’t make it in this year.
It’s thorny and a bit scary, but I LOVE it! And so do the bees.
I’ve spent the last month steeped in lavender. I’ve photographed several different varieties, harvested and hung it to dry, and have experimented with ways to cook with it. I have spent hours carefully removing fresh and dried flowers from stalks.
My favourite variety is ‘Hidcote’, a hardy, blue, dwarf lavender with an intensely sweet, bright, and robust aroma and flavour. It smells and tastes so delicious — none of the varieties I have worked with can compare. So when I had a chance to go out to the country and visit a garden that includes a massive mounding bed of ‘Hidcote’ lavender I jumped at the chance.
Thanks to Jessica Hibbard for the crazy, out-of-date Polaroid film.
Some friends and I drove out of town yesterday to visit two farm-sized gardens. I took about a thousand photos, and yet of all of the images I could have picked to show today, I chose this one of the tiniest dianthus I have ever seen in my life. I might be on a bit of a dianthus kick. I did buy three different types this spring.
I spotted the single flower, smaller than half an inch, hidden deep among a field of mid-sized grasses and common field plants. How I noticed it — a needle in a giant haystack — is beyond me. My trusty copy of National Audobon Society’s “Field Guide to Wildflowers, Eastern Region” indicates that this plant, Deptford Pink (Dianthus armeria) is not a native to North American but was brought over from Europe. The common name is a reference to Deptford, England, where it was once found in abundance.
There are several pansies and violas that claim to be black, but when it comes down to it they are purple, more or less. Ever since Mr. Brown Thumb posted about his not exactly black, black viola, I have been meaning to pull out a photo of Viola cornuta ‘Black Magic’, the blackest flower I have ever seen. It lives! The black viola lives! The colour in my photo above is pretty true to life — there’s no Photoshop trickery at work here. In fact, I’d say it looks a little more purple in this light than it does on the average day. From afar it has a smoky softness about it.
I bought a single pot of it this year, and only one pot because boy did it break the bank. I’ve complained about the “Not 99 Cent Pansy” before, however this plant, this single, solitary plant, ran about $7.99.
But it was worth it. I’ve had it for over a month now and I look at it fondly every day.
One of my pal Barry’s hardy opuntia plants was flowering today and I was lucky enough to be there to catch it. And with my new lens in tow. Iiieeeeee…….
This plant comes with a fun story — Barry got it free from the compost bin of a gardener that was throwing it out.
I just happen to have a new, and free hardy opuntia myself. It was a gift from a gardener we visited last week. He just plucked a paddle from the parent plant and stuck it in a roll of newspaper for the ride home. When I got back I laid the cutting on the surface of a pot filled with sandy soil. Eventually the plant will root itself and I’ll have a new plant that I can break up and give away to friends that visit my garden.
Most plants are easy to propagate and in my experience gardeners are generous people who are always eager to share a bit of their wealth with those that show interest. For that reason alone I have no idea why some people feel the need to steal plants from gardens.