Herbaria (May 16, 2012)

Every week, from now until I can no longer find anything living to fill up the boxes, I will be photographing and posting a collection of flowers, leaves, stems, and other plant parts that are in my garden. This is an experiment in celebrating diversity and I hope it will allow me to focus more closely on the beauty that is inherent in the different parts of each plant. It will also serve as a visual file of the seasons.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I know I will enjoy putting them together. I can’t wait to show you more! The garden is so full and alive right now, I could have put together several for this week alone.

From Left to Right:

Top Row: 1. Pansy, unknown corner store purchase. 2. White Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis ‘Alba’) from my friend Sakura’s garden. She gave me the seedling just days before she died. I think of her whenever it blooms and am thankful that I now have a safe place to grow it. 3. ‘Bloomerang’ Lilac (Syringa) now in its second year. I have dug it up and moved it three times since and yet it flourishes.

Middle Row: 4. Clematis ‘Crystal Fountain’. At least I think it is. I lost the tag. While not my usual style, I’ve been surprised by how much I anticipated the blooms opening up this year. Even Davin got in on the excitement with daily early morning status reports. [edited to say that it is 'Empress'] 5. Coleus ‘Henna’ I grew this last year and loved it. 6. Purple Iris. Dubbed ‘Parkdale Purple’ I can only assume this is because this particular variety has spread all around the neighbourhood. I bought mine years ago at the Parkdale Horticultural Society Plant Fair and planted it into the Guerilla Garden/Street Garden where it lived for about a decade. Last year I dug up several rhizomes and transplanted them into my new garden. They are happier here than they have ever been, most likely because the soil is perfect and I’ve been able to pamper them.

Bottom Row: 7. Columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Nora Barlow’). I originally acquired this beauty as a self-seeding volunteer in my community garden plot. I loved it so much that I brought it over to the new garden where I am pleased to find it is flourishing. 8. Cushion Spurge (Euphorbia polychroma). I have absolutely no recollection of its origins, but I believe it may be another transplanted from the Street Garden. 9. Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum). I originally planted this in the Yardshare Garden, but moved it over here this spring. Someone new has bought the house so the garden has come to an end.


Please note that I received both ‘Crystal Fountain’ Clematis and ‘Bloomerang’ Lilac as review plants last year from Loblaw Inc.

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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25 thoughts on “Herbaria (May 16, 2012)

  1. I approve of this! Loving the varying things blooming right now… these are the epitome of the spring beauty classics! ?
    Cannot wait to see more!

  2. Bleeding hearts are a favorite, but I have never seen pure white ones like that. Beautiful! And such a bittersweet story behind them too.

    We had some of a more normal variety growing in the side yard for many years. Underneath the dryer vent. They have since died, but they did hold their own for quite a few years. I just started some new ones in a safe and shady spot near the future gnome home.

  3. The Clematis ‘Crystal Fountain you have growing is absolutely beautiful! I love your showcase of the plants you have in your garden.

    I am going to see if I can find the clematis for my garden.

    This blog is a great find! Thank you for sharing!

  4. So lovely and so creative. And I love the stories that accompany each specimen. Really, I wouldn’t mind at all if you shared a herbarium every day… as time permits, of course.

  5. Ah. After an entire day in my garden I looked around and felt pleased to know that half of what I have – my friends have never seen or heard of. I open the computer and here are seven new guys I have never seen! In my two years of true gardening I’ve enjoyed the endless learning, that accomplished feeling you get after a hard day’s work and your blog for keeping me intrigued… and humble! Thanks, Gayla.

  6. This is a beautiful AND interesting project, Gayla. I can hardly wait for the next image. I thank you too for putting the botanical names in when they are available but the ‘stories’ really hook me. (Gee, I think I have THE Parkdale Purple Iris here in Ottawa. Like yours, it has made its way into countless other neighbourhood gardens. It’s such a sweet iris that it almost demands to be divided up, traded and shared – so much so I’d be tempted to name it ‘Irresistible’ if you hadn’t already named it!)
    A thought that I’m hoping might be in your head: The images you are making would make a glorious week-by-week calendar (they are SOOO useful) of the sowing, growing, harvesting season. For the ‘quiet’ late fall/winter months, a single image/ page for each month.
    Can’t wait for the next photo…

  7. I adore this idea too! I love the story behind your beautiful white bleeding heart. That is one of my favorite parts of gardening, the chance to see “people” that I love in my garden, even when they are no longer here. Beautiful.

  8. Just a note: the pictured clematis is definitely not “Crystal Fountain.” I know b/c I have one. No pink stripes! I’ve so enjoyed the ongoing box photos are wonderful, btw.

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