It happens every year, I think the bloom show is over, and up pops the fall crocus. It seems like crocus herald the beginning and the end of the blooming season. Fall crocus have their vegetative phase in the spring. It’s a large corn lilly-looking plant that dies off when other bulbs are done blooming. For years I didn’t know that these plants were in my yard. I would pull them out until I saw the same mysterious plant displayed at a nursery labeled as fall crocus. I finally connected the dots that the crocus that appeared in the fall and these mysterious plants were the same. Now I let them be.
It turns out that these crocus and saffron crocus are very closely related. It’s a great plant. I ignore them and they return faithfully every year in greater numbers popping up in the yard in unexpected places. For more information on fall crocus go here.
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Those few little seeds I planted several years ago bring me more and more morning glories every September. This year has been the best season ever. Even the UPS guy stopped in his tracks to ogle at their beauty. Mingled with scarlet roses it’s quite a show.
Morning Glories Morning glories light my path as the day unfolds Trumpets of majestic purple and simmering pink announce the end of summer a surprising coda as the garden fades a blessing to walk beneath this arch of glowing flowers
Photos and poem by the author
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Who doesn’t love flowers? There seems to be even more of a special place in people’s hearts for the wildflowers found in nature. Here in Oregon it is prime wildflower season. Some are even blooming currently in my new native plant garden. Especially prevalent right now are camas (Camas quamash), beautiful blue-violet spikes of star-like flowers that pop up in the meadows. They were a significant food source for the Native Americans that once inhabited the area
About 40 minutes away from my home in the town of West LInn a new Nature Conservancy site opened up last year, the Camassia Nature Preserve. The 22 acre parcel is a mix of lush forest, meadows, and oak savannah with a boardwalk that meanders the main route. There is about 2 miles of hiking trails in the area. Also prevalent are glacial erratics- boulders from Montana and Canada that were dropped in this area after the great floods that occurred after the melting of the ice sheets that covered the north during the Ice Age.
Yesterday the weather was lovely, partly sunny and in the 60s, a welcome change from the rain and cool temperatures. I decided to take a drive and check it out. I was not disappointed!
Here are some of the things I saw in this special place.
A bit of wildflower trivia…
The reason you may often see the dazzling combination of bright yellow and purple wildflowers together is that it attracts pollinators- and humans seeking beauty.
And…my photos really don’t do this place justice!
Wild Iris Looked what bloomed today! a wild Iris a queen amidst my garden her lilac petals arch gracefully like arms in a curtsy about her throat a white collar etched with fine black lines with a blush of gold Gaudy hybrids shout for my attention down the driveway but it's her sublime elegance that captures my wild heart
My Dublin Bay roses bloom every spring capturing my heart. This year they seem so profound that I had to write a poem about them. I dropped my shovel, and my pruners and ran inside to do just that so as not to loose my inspiration.
The Color of My Roses
In late spring their blooms bid me
hello and farewell several times a day
my Dublin Bay roses that climb
the walkway arbor
a red, so delicious, so powerful
they command my attention
reaching deep in my passings
Crimson, carmine, call it what you will
the color of passion, sin , life, of death
the color of shame, of pain
the color of the blood in my veins
that captures the eye of the hummingbird
that warns the prey of the predator
the color of royalty, and courage
the color of love
All of this in
of the roses that climb
the walkway arbor
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Pausing for Bumblebees
It is the height of summer blooms. Bumblebees are to be found everywhere about my yard. I find them in the cool of the morning sleeping in flowers, drunk from the previous day’s feeding. As the day warms I pause to watch them at their work, mindfully probing into pistils within blooms sucking out nectar.
They are especially fond of compound flowers, those in the genus, Compositae, the daisy family, the largest example being a sunflower. These are flowers within flowers. Look closely in the middle of a dahlia, zinnia, daisy, dandelion sunflower, etc. and you will find multitudes of tiny flowerets surrounded by showy petals. It’s like one-stop shopping for bees.
Bumblebees make up the genus Bombus with 255 different species. Generally, they are black with varying stripes of yellow and sometime red. They make nests near the ground under logs, duff in small colonies. They are honey producers but in smaller quantities.
Though bumblebees don’t get as much press as their smaller cousin, the honey bee, they are extremely important pollinators. Bumblebees are particularly good at it. Their wings beat 130 times or more per second, and the beating combined with their large bodies
vibrate flowers until they release pollen, which is called buzz pollination. Buzz pollination helps plants produce more fruit. Bumblebees flap their wings back and forth rather than up and down like other bees. Researcher Michael Dickinson, a professor of biology and insect flight expert at the University of Washington likens wing sweeping like a partial spin of a “somewhat crappy” helicopter propeller,
They are gentle bees, single-minded in their work and rarely sting which is good because their sting can be particularly nasty. I have never been stung even though I sometimes gently pet their fuzzy backs then they are immersed in feeding. Such sweet bees.
In Praise of Bumblebees
They probe dreamily in the center
Of pie sized yellow flowers that nod towards the east
Keeping me company
As I work in the garden
These tiny winged beasts do their work
Heads up down, up down
Placing in precision their needle-like proboscises
In a sea of stamen and pistil
Gentle black creatures
Intoxicated by pollen and nectar
So immersed in their work
My finger can stroke their furry backs
I find them in the morning exhausted
Dozing in the midst of flowers
Dusted with yellow
Dreaming bumblebee dreams
Buzz and bumble
Find purpose in my zinnias, my dahlias
And sleep until the warmth of a new day
Calls you to your tasks again
Fun facts thanks to livescience.com
Peeking Inside of Flowers
Spring is booming in Oregon. The long, wet winter has given way to a stunning green landscape exploding with blossoms.
Have you ever taken time to look inside of a flower? I mean really looked, even with a magnifying glass. In my first botany lab as a university student, I was stunned by what I saw. As I looked through my scope the variety of designs astonished me. Flowers, being the reproductive organs of plants are designed to attract pollinators. Intricate designs provide landing sites for bees, butterflies and other bugs among stamens, pistils, and anthers. Lofty fragrances guide their way.
Humans are attracted too by flowers’ sexy ways. This week I took time out of a beautiful spring day to peek inside what is blooming about my yard.
Lessons from an Orchid
May the beauty of your day, take your breath away – unknown
I’m in sort of a lull in a creative sense. My energies are spread elsewhere now that my husband is recovering from knee surgery. This period draws parallels to an experience I had with dormancy and reblooming…
It was a gift, an orchid plant for my desk at the end of my last school year before retirement. Six blooms of royal magenta, tinged with highlights of yellow cascaded down like the contour of a woman’s haughty hip. It was one of those grocery store variety orchids, nothing too out of the ordinary except for the color of the flowers. They positively glowed like a stained glass window in the light.
I absorbed the beauty of these blooms every day for weeks until each slowly shriveled, dried and dropped. I sadly removed their spent forms one by one. What was left were several deep green ovate leathery leaves and the tall, now naked flower stem in a plain clay pot.
“I just throw them away” a friend commented on my bloomless orchid. But I could not, the only crime of this plant needing rest after a grand performance. I remember my father saying that he got his orchids to bloom again. After enjoying such a spectacular show, I felt it a crime to sentence this plant to death in the compost pile.
I left the orchid on my bedroom window sill, watered it, and waited. Over a year passed and I realized that it probably needed special nutrients to bloom. I purchased some spray fertilizer just for orchids. In a few more months, I had a stalk full of orchid flowers to enjoy again. It is now in its third bloom.
This experience got me to thinking how we humans too need to be nurtured in life to bloom and then given periods of rest. This reminds me not to give up in dry times, be patient and to get the self-care I need to be creative. The compost pile of life awaits soon enough!
Weekly Photo Challenge- Wandering Through the Tulips
Every spring these tulip fields at the Wooden shoe Tulip Farm explode with color, a welcome end to a dreary winter. I am lucky I don’t have to wander far in Oregon to experience such beauty.