Herbaria (June 8, 2012)

This week’s herbaria is a little late as we had a few rain showers that prevented me from putting it together earlier. I try to avoid creating colour themes when I choose these, but it was inevitable as many of these plants were chosen because their current state is fleeting and probably won’t be around next week.

From Left to Right:

Top Row: 1. Turks’s Cap Lily (Lilium martagon) I first came upon this adorable, diminutive lily in 2010 when I visited Brian Bixley’s Lilac Tree Farm with friends. I had never seen such a tiny lily flower — didn’t know such a thing existed. I was struck by that feeling instantly. I had to have one. In Spring 2011 I got my chance when I discovered one tiny pot left at the Parkdale Horticultural Society’s annual plant fair. Ten dollars seemed like a lot of money for a single, small bulb, but I took it. The plant did nothing that year while the other lily I bought, a Japanese Mountain Lily took off and rewarded me with a tall stem of blooms. I had resigned myself to its loss until it magically appeared this spring. Some plants just need a little time. 2. Nothing special here, just a simple Purple Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) that I bought on impulse from a local grocer’s sidewalk sale for $2. It’s not the best choice for my garden as it prefers moist, rich soil and mine is sandy to be sure. Still, I’ve placed in a section at that back where I am building the soil up and it has thrived so far. 3. Allium caeruleum I have a strong affinity for alliums and there are many in my garden. This one is worth growing for its bright, true blue blooms. I’ve got it alongside a silver artemisia, the leaves of which provide the perfect contrasting backdrop and really make the blue pop.

Middle Row: 4. Portuguese Thyme (Thymus carnosus) I have to admit that I had to dig up the tag to identify this thyme as I had no recollection of having purchased it. It is one of several that I planted last year that have taken on a beautiful, mature shape and are now blooming profusely. The thyme next to it is a citrus thyme, easily identifiable by the smell. They have a very similar form: stiff woody stems, slightly upright but with falling into a low-lying mat. We’ve been eating the flowers in our salads and the pollinators absolutely love it. The plant is absolutely teeming with them on warm and sunny days. 5. Wild Garlic Scape All of the garlic varieties are producing flowers now, including this tiny wild type. I don’t know which of the many wild types it is, and I suspect I will have to let one of the flowers develop before I can make a proper identification. 6. Pea ‘Carouby de Maussane’ I first grew this variety in 2006 because the flowers are purple rather than the typical white. I have grown them most years since as the peas themselves are quite good. My favourite part of the pea plant is the soft, tender growth. It’s so fresh and delicious. I often munch on them as I work in the garden and they’re my favourite ingredient in homegrown salads. I planted more peas than ever this year so that I could indulge in eating these parts without cutting into my pea bounty.

Bottom Row: 7. ‘Four Seasons’ Lettuce We’re still eating this variety by the bowl full. In fact, I picked this one for today’s lunch. 8. Climbing Rose ‘Night Owl’ This is one of three roses that I put in this spring. I bought it for its deep, dark colour and because it was identified as having a spicy scent. It has lived up to its description and now I can’t wait for next year! 9. Red Pasque flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris). Developing Seed Pod. If all goes well, I should have a lot of little seedlings next year.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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6 thoughts on “Herbaria (June 8, 2012)

  1. I absolutely love these posts! They are making me look and think about my own developing garden in a different, more focused, way. And it is also fun to test my, also developing, plant knowledge. I look at the picture and guess what each thing is before I peek at the answers to see what I got right. Best flashcards ever!

  2. Hi,
    You mentioned your sandy soil, and I wondered if you amended with sand, or if the soil was already sandy.
    I have a thing for sand, perhaps because I imagine that it resists compaction and facilitates drainage, and encourages spreading roots.

  3. I love the visual effect that your photo of all the herbs has created. I wish i could plant as many herbs as you have in my soon-to-be-created garden.

    I am still trying to adjust to my new home with the family but I am glad that it already has enough space for a small garden. But even if I already have an area for gardening, I would still have the idea of using pots and small boxes to be placed in my windowsill.

    I love the colors of all your herbs. Hopefully I could make mine grow later.

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