Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

October 29, 2009, Sea Onion at it again

To the left of this, at the bottom right of the photo, is the first flower of this set of blooms of the False Sea Onion.

I lowered the hanging pot so it will have more room to do what it wants to do Last time it hit the ceiling early on. Going by what it did last summer, I figure what shows in this photo will stretch out to be about three feet long with a bloom a day or more, but always stretching outward and losing the old blooms.

Today would've been my mom's birthday. She would have been 77 years old. She liked plants. Now I like plants. She's dead. Someday I will be too.

I have some ivy that connects me to my mom, but I don't know the name of it. I've never seen any just like it anywhere else. If anyone here can identify it that would be awesome.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

#X2 Not from around here

This is Holly, with a picture-phone report from a find where she's living in Oregon. It's not very nice, this thing she found.

Previously in the X-rated plant category...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

#35 Honey Locust

Seven or eight years ago, I was at a homeschooling get-together at a park, and while I was talking to Dave Martinez, I was gathering seeds, just for something to do. I knew what the seeds were. When I was a kid, in elementary school, there were honey locust trees in the SE corner of the school yard, and that was a great place to play, when I was in 5th grade, and 6th. That's where I was when President Kennedy was assassinated. When the bell rang and we went to the nearest stairs to line up to go in after lunch, the teachers had tears in their eyes.

In the spring we would take the beans off that tree, split them lengthwise, and pull out a part that was between the kernel and the hull. They were clear and a little gummy, and shaped like pretty fingernails. We would stick them on our fingernails. They didn't stay long, but it was fun to imagine we had beautiful long fingernails. I don't have a photo of that, but will try to arrange to have a little girl model next year.

In fall, the seeds we couldn't reach would fall, and they made a great noise inside the pod, and we'd break them out and play with them.

I took those seeds home and planted them. I have trees nearly as tall as the house. Here's a fall photo, taken today:

Here's one from summer a year ago:

The close tree is the honey locust. Here's how it looked against the sky:

Honey locusts aren't high-class trees. They have thorns. They make more mess than shade. But for me they provide good memories of times spent playing when I was ten and eleven. I remember sitting under one of those trees and talking to my friend Martha about my parents planning to vote for Johnson. Her dad was going to vote for Goldwater. We knew it was somehow important that Kennedy had died and the next two candidates were from Texas and Arizona. Things were not going to stay in the northeast anymore. (And from New Mexico's point of view, Illinois and Ohio are quite-a-ways east.)

The first year I taught, I was in a portable building in the same place where those honey locusts had been ten years before. It seemed like longer.

Wikipedia says the wood of the honey locust polishes really well, and that posts made of it don't rot very quickly. So if we get tired of these, Keith can make something out of them!

#34 Agapanthus / Lily of the Nile

I bought one of these at Lowe's for $30, a pot-bound bunch. "Peter Pan Lily of the Nile," it said. It took the whole passenger side of the car—pot in the floor, and flowers everywhere. I took it out and looked at it and loved it. I planted it and loved it more.

I went back to the store to get more. There were three. I bought two of them, but they wouldn't fit in the car so I pushed the cart home (three blocks). Here's a photo of the cart full of flowers!

Here's the first one I got, though, in the front yard:

When I was in Surrey, in the U.K., at Julie Daniel's house, they had one in their back yard. There were more near the Thames, near the Spelthorne library and museum.

I have gathered seeds, to see if I can start any that way, and I suppose they will divide under the ground where they are, if they survive the winter.

They're not naturally local, but if mine do well and I share with friends, someday they'll be "natural" in a way.

Monday, July 27, 2009

#33 False Sea Onion

This isn't native and it's not outside, but it's blooming, and I'm in England and missing it.

Luckily Holly is home and has a great camera and sent me these:

Time passed:

In October I separated and re-potted what was in that pot, and within days the main/original plant was starting to bloom again.

October 6:

October 18:

other images of that plant:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Thoughts and Progress
I got tired of that one. I have enough photos to do maybe 20 more, and then I plan to write a mini-manifesto about how 19th century it is to want people to identify plants, and I bet the guy who generated the statement wouldn't be able to name 100 magazines or newspapers or 100 professional musicians or 100 musical instruments, or makes of automobiles. NO WAY could he name 100 movies or actors or TV shows!

I wrote the above notes months ago. My yard is full of budding, sprouting, greening this'n'that.

Recently I've added to a couple of posts. There's a real-time video of a moonflower opening (I didn't make it; I lifted it, but you can follow the link back). There's a photo of some tulips that came back up this year (more now than before, as evidenced by last year's photo).

I do still intend to add to this blog, but the initial steam has cooled. That's okay. I don't mind projects taking years. Maybe someday I will get to 100 and maybe I won't, but my yard continues to improve little by little every year either way. And when I can't take care of it anymore or if someone lives here after us who has different priorities, some of the plants might go dormant, or die. Much of what is here was here for years, unwatered and unloved, but when we moved in and watered and dug around, things came up! So some of the things I've brought here or that were here that we nurtured might similarly surprise someone else in a few decades. Cool!

But back to my original thoughts about naming 100 of ANYthing, I re-read this, about my visit to Kirk Ella with Holly eight years ago.

I read it because I'm corresponding with some unschoolers in the U.K. about a visit I'm making there in July. And I realized that knowing a lot about one town in England ("a lot" meaning some history, some people, some geography, when the store opens and whether they have Dr Pepper, where the snickleways are, how far to Beverley) is different from seeing and naming 100 castles, or 100 towns, or 100 parish churches. But reading all the names on the gravestones in ONE church, hearing the bellringers practice the changes, finding a big toad in the churchyard... that's better than remembering the name of the church.

If I take photos of my grocery-store tulips every year and document their divisions and growth, that might be better than naming 100 strains of tulips. Planting tulips and not EVER taking their picture is better than feeling agitation about what a dead guy thinks about whether I can name 100 species.

I'm treating this like a game, and not like a test, and if I get distracted and start doing something else, I'm still playing. And in the end it's not whether I win or lose, its whether I knew it was a game.

I don't know what those flowers are. I don't remember what little town we were in that day.
I remember Holly touching flowers growing on an ancient wall in an alley across from a pub that wasn't open yet.

Friday, March 20, 2009

#32 Burro's tail

Burro's tail. It's a succulent—a desert plant like a cactus, but not with any pokey-parts.
The dice and game card aren't usually there.

I got this from my friend Steve. He has his in a pot and takes it in in winter. I dug mine up and took it in the first year, but the next year I left some out, and this year I left it all out. Seems to have survived fine, though it doesn't stay in the very same place. Some babies live, and some older plants get walked on (because it's right by the back door), but it's doing well!

I read up on it and it's from Mexico. In an image search, it showed people using it as a hanging-basket plant.

The photo above is a couple of years old, and was taken for the lyrics game, when the word was "dark."

Lately I find images for each new word, but early on I was setting the cards in various places, rolling dice and photographing the two of them. Some of those photos are fun. I did it on a trip to the zoo, and on a trip to Colorado.