Water, watercress, and catsear.

Dandelions and false dandelions – Over the last couple of years the false kind, or catsear, Hypochaeris radicata L., has flourished in dead or dying lawns in our town. Many people have let their lawns go, because of the drought, and there’s no recovering them now just because the winter was wet.

The catsear is prettier, I think, because the flowers are on long stems that wave in the breeze. I had them before my re-landscaping project began, and several of my neighbors still have them in abundance; here I am showing Ray’s place, as good as it ever looks, because he never does anything but mow once or twice a year….

And below, Vera’s front yard. Unlike Ray, Vera likes to garden, and she gave me my aloe saponaria start many years ago.

I never see real dandelions anymore. They must need more water, and the recent conditions are letting the catsear dominate.

I walk by this rose bush several times a week. It’s not cared for, and looks generally bad, but on this particular morning there was one rare perfect bloom proudly standing out from the mess.

The most interesting thing I’ve seen in a long time on my walks was two Asian women down at the creek gathering watercress.

And the prettiest thing was bees on Russian sage. I can’t resist trying to photograph one more bee on one more flower, especially if it is a pairing of insect and flower that I haven’t captured before. I was so happy on my walk this morning, I didn’t want it to end, so I changed my route to add a few more blocks, and that’s how I happened to see these bees.

 

Back in my own garden, more plants are blooming. Kim gave me hollyhock seeds three years ago, and I planted them in my new greenhouse last fall and transplanted them to a spot that I think must be too shady, because the plants are diminutive – but the first bloom is out!

 

 

When designing my backyard garden, we deliberately planted the salvia near the dodonea, to get this color contrast. It’s working right now!

Above: fig tree, mock orange, and sea holly.

I have two kinds of lamb’s ears: the old ones that were propagated from my old garden, and which are all sending up long flower spikes right now.

…and new ones bought at a nursery, which have broad leaves, more green, and may not flower much. Lots of people have told me that their lamb’s ears don’t. But one of them is sneaking out a flower, only to send it on to the sidewalk to risk a trampling.

June has brought warmer temperatures, and I hope to spend more time in the garden again. Yesterday my dear godmother came over and we did sit eating our ice cream where we could hear the bees humming and the see the goldfinches at the feeder.

And we could smell the sweet peas! I ended up picking four bouquets of them yesterday, including one to send home with her. I also had to trim back some of the stems to keep them from squishing the pole beans. So this may be the peak of the bloom. There’s not much room for me to grow anything else just yet, because it’s the Year of the Sweet Peas!

12 thoughts on “Water, watercress, and catsear.

  1. I love seeing what’s blooming in your neck of the woods. Quite different from my place. I even like the dandelions you grow there. We have the regular kind. The sea holly is a really unusual thing to me. Almost like a thistle.

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  2. Gretchen Joanna, your garden is looking AMAZING! That desert garden look with the plants coming up through the gravel is just wonderful. I imagine you are quite relieved not to have a lawn full of catsears to mow. However, catsears are edible, just like dandelions, and very good for you. Probably a bit late for them now, but harvest the new leaves in spring for your salads.. πŸ™‚

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  3. Wow! Your Sweet Peas are amazing!! Your Mock Orange is sweet. I look forward to mine blooming too but that will be a week or so depending on our temperature.

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  4. I want some sea thistle for my garden. I think it is so pretty. I think your sweet peas are just amazing this year. What a glorious crop you have grown. I am so glad your Hollyhocks grew. I haven’t had any luck with them in a couple of years.

    Your walk is such a nice area to walk in. That creek is lovely. I hope your day is a lovely one. It might hit a 100 today. My garden loves it. Me, not so much. Have a lovely weekend.

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  5. What delightful flowers. I was especially interested in your catsear. We have a native dandelion-like flower also sometimes called a catsear, but it’s Pyrrhopappus carolinianus. Here’s a look at our native from my photo blog. I suspect you know that the name comes from dent de lion, or “lion’s tooth,” because of the serrated edges. This year, it was thick, and it’s nearly run the European import out of the area!

    I enjoyed seeing your sea holly, too. Our native erygno, Eryngium leavenworthii, is supposed to start blooming in July, but I’m going to start looking soon. I’ve only found it once, as it tends to be more common north of me, but I’m hopeful that this will be my year.

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  6. What a wonderful garden!! Your sweet peas are amazing – they’re huge! And that Russian sage is stunning. No wonder the bees love it. I think I know the “fake” dandelion you refer too. I used to see it in Oriental in weedy plots when I was hunting dandelions for my lotion bars. Enjoy your beautiful garden this year πŸ™‚

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