Tag Archives: weeds

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!

What can be lacking to them?

I became very gl IMG_2996 lily origfamiliar with these lily plants today, without finding out what their name is. I was at church helping to spruce up the large property. These might have waited to be cut back except that their irrigation lines are going to be re-done. So I bent over each of two or three dozen clumps, grabbed the leaves in my fist as though they were a hank of hair, and snip-snip-snipped, and on to the next.

All the while, I could not keep from humming the tune commonly used to sing St. Patrick’s Breastplate.  A few days ago I thought to memorize the words, and as I’ve never been part of a church that sang it I listened on YouTube and wrote the words on 3×5 cards, and sang along quite a bit one afternoon and evening.

Since then I have only managed to look at my cards enough to memorize the first stanza (below), but those lines have filled my heart to overflowing, as the melody plays night and day in my mind, never without those powerful reminders of the fullness of our faith, and the presence of Christ himself in my song.

St Patrick’s Breastplate

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same
The Three in One and One in Three.
I bind this day to me forever
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river,
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb,
His riding up the heavenly way,
His coming at the day of doom
I bind unto myself today.

gl IMG_2993 church

So, I’ve been humming along with my Companion, as I wash the dishes or take a shower, or dig weeds. I glanced up this afternoon to see a side of the church that I don’t often look at, framed with olive branches and roses, and I had to scrunch down close to the dirt to get a strangely angled picture that takes it all in.

gl IMG_3005 weed

I didn’t have too many weeds to dig – I took this one’s picture because we have them all over the county this year, and I want to see if I can find it in Weeds of the West to learn its name.

The seed pods of the lilies were intriguing to me, with their shiny black and bumpy contents, about to pop out on to the ground. I brought a few home, wondering how hard it would be to get them to sprout…. gl IMG_3001 seeds

gl IMG_2995

So many people were helping out, pruning olives and wisteria, laying irrigation lines, trimming roses. We seemed to be finished by noon, except: the head gardener wanted four more big rosebushes on the other side of the property to be cut back. I had time, so I did them as the last thing. I had to stand in the middle, surrounded by floribundas, and toss the clippings over their heads into a bin outside of the thicket. This was oddly the best time of the whole day, maybe because I knew it was my last task, or maybe because they were such pure and lovely flowers.

Before I got in my car I took pictures of the Japanese Windflowers (or Japanese Anemones), of which we have two colors at church. I am excited to have some in my own new garden at home, but mine haven’t opened quite yet.

gl IMG_3013 windflower

I had planned to post the quote below tonight, and then the flowers and seeds and St. Patrick crowded in, but I think everything goes together pretty well.

How mistaken are those people who seek happiness outside of themselves, in foreign lands and journeys, in riches and glory, in great possessions and pleasures, in diversions and vain things which have a bitter end! It is the same thing to construct the tower of happiness outside of ourselves as it is to build a house in a place that is consistently shaken by earthquakes.

Happiness is found within ourselves, and blessed is the man who has understood this. Happiness is a pure heart, for such a heart becomes the throne of God. Thus says Christ of those who have pure hearts, “I will visit in them, and walk in them, and I will be a God to them, and they will be my people.” (2 Corinthians 6:16) What can be lacking to them? Nothing, nothing at all! For they have the greatest good in their hearts: God Himself!

~Saint Nektarios of Aegina

yellow flowers

I’m going to tell  you about two more yellow flowers that are found in my garden. Let’s start with the one that I am always distressed to find, the Italian Arum Lily, which is a noxious weed. 😦 These plants have come back into the new garden even more heartily than they grew in the old, probably because they can reproduce by means of cormlets, and I imagine those pieces of rootstock got scattered in all the rearranging of dirt while landscaping. P1040386 Italian Arum Lily

This picture is one I took just last week when I was finally getting to the weeds after prolonged rain. I don’t like to let them get to the point of flowering, but I did pull this one before the seeds formed. The seeds are not likely to be nearly as effective at spreading this weed as the cormlets, though, because they are few, and easy to prevent.

The pleasing non-weed yellow flower is the Jerusalem Sage. I have three of these that were planted so as to look nice against the hopbushes, and now that they are blooming, we can see that the two plants do indeed complement one another.

 

P1040376 jer sage & hopbush crp

I planted a red helianthemum nearby, and it doesn’t look bad, either!

I watch the birds, bees and weeds.

gl P1030454

In the back yard I heard the jay before I saw him, as he remarked in short screeches about the breakfast I’d laid out. In the last couple of weeks I’ve taken pictures of doves, chickadees and juncos at the feeders, but the jay was the first to come since I moved this one closer to the window, and he is a larger target to focus on, so his picture came out best.

As soon as he flew off I went out front to tackle the perennial bed that was a mess, but before ten minutes of weeding had passed, I had a burning need to go back indoors and fetch my Weeds of the West.  I returned to sit on the bench swing and leaf through the whole book, trying to find the names of two or three weeds that had challenged me that morning. It’s good to know your enemy.

Though it’s hard to think of Persian Speedwell as an enemy. It is pretty, and the book says “It was probably introduced as a border or rock garden ornamental.” See, the ladybug likes it.gl speedwell and ladybug 2-27-16

The bees were getting too much good stuff out of the last rosemary flowers to bother with weeds just then.

gl bee on rosemary close 2-17-16

I spent a lot of time on the beds where chard, collards and kale grow, and I picked a big bowl of greens which I washed later in the day. In the picture below you can see Swiss chard behind the speedwell and also the feather-like arrangement of “scattery weed” seed pods that exploded a few minutes later at the touch of my hand.

gl speedwell scattery & daisy 2-27-16

I still have not found out the real name of that scattery weed, whose picture I re-post below. In the past I asked if any of my readers knows its name, but they did not; maybe one of my newer readers does? I couldn’t find it in Weeds of the West. It arrived in our garden in the last ten years. UPDATE: It’s Hairy Bittercress or cardamine hirsuta.

cardamine hirsuta

Just a few feet away from the Persian Speedwell — a weed to me — is another cultivated type that I planted because I wanted it, Creeping Speedwell (below). So far the Persian has not even tried to invade the Creeping, though if the Creeping can be said to creep, the Persian gallops.

gl speedwell not weed 2-27-16

Before Fall I plan to revamp this whole area, but in the meantime, I must try to keep a little order. Today I put in several hours of work and got plumb tuckered out! I’m glad tomorrow is a day of rest.