Hello, everyone – I hope this finds you all happy and healthy and ready for Spring. This past Thursday marks the end of one of my two science classes this semester. It was a class condensed into half a semester and, although it was not a difficult class for me, I’m glad to finally have a little bit of wiggle room in my schedule and taking that final was a load off my mind, literally.
Also, I seem to have made it past the most difficult part of my biology class. The first half of this semester felt like trying to run through pea soup. Today, it’s rainy and windy and flowers are blooming…all those little signs of Spring are recharging my batteries and the world feels less oppressive and serious.
There haven’t been many opportunities to get outside with my camera, so I’ve been clicking with my iPhone on the run, which is the source of all the pictures I’m sharing today. The tulips are especially exciting because I planted them this winter just so I would see them during the semester when I don’t have time to garden. Turns out, I did the right thing and I’d like to thank myself for the forethought. Thank you, self!
One of the most wonderful things that happened turned out to be a very quiet personal moment in the middle of a difficult biology exam last week. We have been mired in chemistry for the last few weeks and I was getting lost in the details and hadn’t been outside in what seemed like forever. I missed gardening and it felt like I would have my nose in a textbook forever and ever…So one of the test questions was to write out in great detail the process of photosynthesis, paying special attention to the part when energy from the sun is transformed into chemical energy in a plant. I took a deep breath and began….”A photon of light from the sun is captured by a complex of light-absorbing pigments embedded in the thylakoid membrane of a chloroplast located in the cell of a leaf.” Somewhere in the middle of writing that sentence, I heard the poetry. I suddenly remembered why I was there in the first place and what all the work was for. The rest of the answer flowed out of me like the lyrics to a favorite song. It was one of the happiest moments EVER! The section on photosynthesis is over and we’re moving on to genetics, but that brief moment of deep and nerdy bliss in the middle of a test was all it took to put the fragments of ‘me’ back into a cohesive whole. It was a good day. I came home and planted seeds to celebrate and while I was out there, I took the following photo…a million photons of light showering my tulips with magic.
Archive for the ‘Flowers’ Category
It’s one of those rainy winter weekends when I get to catch up on those garden tasks that do not require my presence in the great outdoors. So yesterday, I sat and pulled my black Hollyhock seeds out of their capsules. There are quite a few! So, I’m going to share them with you. How awesome would it be if next Summer my little flowers, which originally came from Andrea, were spread about the country making someone else happy?! If you’d like to try some in your own garden, please make a comment here with your address in it and I’ll mail you an envelope of Alcea rosea seeds – most likely ‘Nigra’ or ‘Watchman’ cultivars. All comments are approved by me before going public, so I’ll just keep it our little secret and then let everyone know when I run out. Not to worry though, because next fall there will be more, that’s the beauty of plants and seeds.
Dear Future Self,
I hope you like the tulips I planted.
Ok, it’s the time of year to plant bulbs and corms! A month ago I had decided not to plant anything until Spring, giving my soil a chance to rest and time for me to bring in a truck-load of compost. Then Tom brought me a bag of tulips and I just had to prep a bed and plant them! He also brought me a bag of compost, remembering my plans. He’s just the most to say the least.
So the compost was worked in and the soil was turned over three times to a depth of, well the depth of my pitchfork blades, about 8″. Plant your tulips in a well drained area so they don’t rot over the winter and put them in about 5″ deep. That should just about do it. Check back in Spring!
Posted in Botany 101, Flowers, Gladiola, Matilija Poppy, Uncategorized, tagged adventitious root, bulb, contractile roots, corm, cormel, garden, garden blog, Gladioli, Gladiolus, home, modified leaves, optimism, purple, Spring, tunic on September 11, 2011| 6 Comments »
When we moved into this house in December of 2004, my son Thomas and I planted several bags of bulbs purchased from the local nursery bulb bin sale. There wasn’t any landscaping here at the time and it was the season for planting them, so that was pretty much the first thing I ever did to the house to make it a home. Years later, the purple Gladioli still come up, bright luscious purple happiness. Ahh, home.
There are more than 250 species of Gladiolus, most of them native to South Africa. Gardeners call them bulbs, but they are technically a corm. Bulbs and corms look alike and are mostly treated the same, but the difference is on the inside. If you cut open a bulb, you’ll see it’s made of layers of modified leaves called scales. Like an onion.
But, if you cut open a corm, it’s solid tissue all the way through. What you’re planting when you plant a corm is a piece of stem, complete with nodes that will grow into a plant and roots and give you a big happy purple flower. When a root grows directly out of a stem or a leaf, it’s called adventitious – which mostly means it’s in an unusual place.
The brown papery skin covering on a Gladiolus corm is called a tunic, another modified leaf that the plant uses for protection from animals and insects, or getting soggy when there’s too much water in the soil. It also keeps too much moisture from escaping the stem before it can start to grow into a plant.
Some corms have contractile roots. This means that these roots will literally contract under ground in a way that pulls the corm deeper into the earth allowing for temperature control and space for growth above the original corm.
As a matter of self defense from animals who find them tasty, corms will develop cormels which are tiny and get left behind in the soil to grow new corms.
Some corms can be dug up, cut into pieces and replanted for more new plants.
I don’t dig mine up, I leave them be and they do their thing.
The older I get, the more I appreciate plants that do their thing without my intervention.
These are among my favorite plants in the garden, mostly because of their color and the ‘fleshy-ness’ of the flowers.
They bloom in Spring at the same time as the Matilija Poppy flowers and the color contrast is gorgeous.
The best photos are actually taken in the evening when the darker shades of purple don’t get washed out by the Sun.
I always take a hundred photos of every flower.
No, I do not think that’s excessive in any way.
Here’s a rare photo of Tom in the garden.
I made him pose there so I could see how tall the Gladiolus growing in the meditation circle gets. This one was about 6’4″. It’s always much taller than me.
Next year they’ll come up again and I’ll be reminded of my favorite color, a day fondly spent digging in the Earth with my son, and the ever-eternal optimism that is Spring.
Posted in Flowers, Gladiola, Seasons, tagged attitude adjustment, bulbs, cheer, Fall, Flowers, garden, garden blog, Gladiola, Gladiolus callianthus, Labor Day, Summer, surprise on September 4, 2011| 2 Comments »
The past two weeks have been super extra busy and exciting. Learning an extensive science vocabulary and settling into a new semester has eaten up my free time (happily so) and this weekend is a full working weekend. Whenever people get excited about the 4th of July or Labor Day holidays – or most ‘national’ holidays, I tend to cringe inside. These are never great holidays for me since they fall during the busiest time of the month for my business. If I do choose to take the time off completely, things do not go well in the long run. We’ve learned to just bite the bullet and work through, enjoying the holiday as much as we can but keeping our I’s dotted and T’s crossed. Mostly I don’t mind because we take our time off elsewhere and it’s part of being self-employed. Sometimes however, it makes me a little grumpy…like this morning. So, before hitting the office, I went out to water a few plants and readjust my attitude in the garden and soak up a bit of the morning Sun. Then I saw it – the loveliest flower blooming under the bedroom window. I didn’t know it was growing and I hadn’t known it was blooming and I don’t remember planting it. A complete surprise gift from the garden just in time to get my attitude back on track. It’s a Gladiolus callianthus and one of those things I buried and forgot. I’m so glad I did.
The more I looked at it, the more interesting it was. Like how the topmost petal has no color when the other petals do.
Or the fact that the purple coloring is so dark it looks brown, and the anthers are HUGE.
I hope it cheers you up as much as it did me. Whatever you’re doing this holiday weekend, be safe and have as much fun as you can. Summer is on her way out and, before you know it, we’ll be discussing holidays involving witches and goblins, turkeys and fires in the fireplace. I’m looking forward to Fall, but I always do that right about now.
Ok, time for me to get back to my job before Tom catches on to the fact that he’s over there working hard on our financial reports and I’m over here playing with pictures of flowers….Happy Labor Day!
“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon – instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.” ~ Dale Carnegie
When Someone Deeply Listens To You ~ by John Fox
When someone deeply listens to you
it is like holding out a dented cup
you’ve had since childhood
and watching it fill up with
cold, fresh water.
When it balances on top of the brim,
you are understood.
When it overflows and touches your skin,
you are loved.
When someone deeply listens to you
the room where you stay
starts a new life
and the place where you wrote
your first poem
begins to glow in your mind’s eye.
It is as if gold has been discovered!
When someone deeply listens to you
your bare feet are on the earth
and a beloved land that seemed distant
is now at home within you.