From Left to Right:
Top Row: 1. Morning Glory These morning glories are one of the few plants that came with the yard when we moved in. I must have pulled up thousands of seedlings by now but they just keep coming. It does not help that I always give in and allow a few to flower. I’m sure that a few seeds have escaped in the process. 2. Calendula officinalis ‘Zeolights’ At least I’m pretty sure that’s what it is. I didn’t make tags when I planted the seeds in the spring.3. Gurensey Lily (Nerine bowdenii) The story behind this is that I bought the bulb for half price late in the season last year, planted it in the ground at the back of the garden and forgot about it until a flower stalk appeared late this summer. It is not meant to be hardy here but must have overwintered due to my garden’s sandy (well draining) and an exceptionally mild winter last year.
Middle Row: 4. ‘Siam Queen’ Thai Basil (Ocimum basilicum) 5. Persicaria virginiana 6. Jaltomate (Jaltomata procumbens) This was my second year growing this unusual and edible solanum. The taste is neither here nor there — like a cross between tomatoes, blueberries, and grapes — but the flowers and fruit are pretty.
Bottom Row: 7. Alyssum (Lobularia hybrid) ‘Blushing Princess’ Believe me when I say that this is not the sort of annual that I would normally plant. It came this spring as a review sample from Proven Winners and for some reason I did not have the heart to pass it along. I planted it as a groundcover underneath a dwarf tomato plant and it thrived, becoming a dense blanket of purplish white flowers. Amazingly it is still alive even now AFTER a hard frost. 8. Hot Pepper (Capsicum annuum) ‘Golden Nugget’ It’s variegated leaves and colourful fruit have made this a container staple in my gardens for years. 9. Morelle de Balbis (Solanum sisymbrifolium) I had others plans for the space and did not intend to grow it again for a third year in a row, but when seedlings began to pop up I didn’t have the heart to pull them all out. Sometimes in my garden, a plant’s survival depends on my emotional state on the days that I am weeding and planting.
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.