From Left to Right:
Top Row: 1. Salvia elegans ‘Golden Delicious’ If only you could smell this chartreuse-leaved pineapple sage through the screen. Delicious. This one is definitely coming inside for the winter. 2. Sunflower ‘Vanilla Ice’ (Helianthus debilis) It’s a short, creamy white sunflower with a cheesy rapper name. There are times when the name of a specific variety leaves me with no choice but to grow it and this was one. 3. Tomato ‘Bali’ I have a thing for ribbed tomatoes and have made it my mission to grow them all. I quite liked this determinate variety and will definitely grow it again.
Middle Row: 4. Threadleaf Japanese Maple ‘Red Dragon’ It’s still green here, but jump ahead to October (when I am writing this) and the leaves have turned a brilliant blood red. I used to think Japanese Maples were for rich people only. And while a mature tree is insanely expensive, there are deals to be found. This easy-to-grow threadleaf type is common and I only paid $25 for a nice-sized one last spring. If you have the patience, you can grow from seed as my friend Barry does. 5. Bluebeard (Caryopteris x cland. ‘Summer Sorbet’) I bought this bush last spring and have had a tough time placing it. This is the problem with chartreuse (see next plant). I love the colour but it can be harsh if placed incorrectly. Still, I love this plant despite my frustration with it. It smells like lemons and the pollinators go crazy for the blue blooms! 6. Coleus ‘Mojito’ I have a thing for chartreuse leaves (see pineapple sage above) and thought this was going to be my new favourite coleus, ever. I scooped up several plants in the spring but there was something about the colour that it took on in the light of my garden. It was too harsh and I couldn’t seem to make it work with anything. You can see in the photo that the lower leaves stay green while the upper leaves that are exposed to the sun take on a brighter yellow. For that reason I think this would work better in a shadier spot than I could provide it.
Bottom Row: 7. Tuberous Begonia ‘Go-Go Orange’ (Begonia tuberosa) I’m considering bringing this one inside so that I can have a few edible flowers around a bit longer. 8. Tomato ‘Lutescent’ This variety was described as having a fruit that cycled from white when unripe through yellow, orange, and eventually ripening red. This was true but it was not as exciting as I expected it to be. Not a bad variety though. It’s a late season developer. I still have fruit out there as I type this. 9. Curly Chives (Allium senescens var. `Glaucum’) I’ve been growing this plant in a pot for a few years and was finally able to plant it in the ground last year. This is its first year blooming and I was not disappointed.
What is this?
An herbarium is a collection of plant specimens. Herbaria is the plural form. A collection of collections.
Every week, until I can no longer find anything living to fill up the boxes, I am 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 also serves as a visual file of the seasons and a record of my garden, my gardening practice, and the plants that I choose to grow.
Why doesn’t this start at the beginning of the calendar year or garden season?
I would have preferred starting this project at either of those times, but alas, that is now how things worked out. The idea for this project came to me rather spontaneously one May morning as I sat pondering how I could best use a stack of nine wooden, pint-sized fruit boxes that I had recently purchased at the flea market. I have a thing for wooden boxes and I love to display little collections of cherished items within them. These nine little boxes begged to be kept together as a display — it didn’t take long before the idea came to mind: little boxes within a box, framed within weeks and months of boxes. Within the hour I had worked out the logistics of the project and was photographing my first box. That was May 16, 2012.