gammy has a green thumb
my mom, gammy to the grandkids, has a green thumb. all that really means is that she pays attention to how often to water, and then she does it. her birthday is in spring, not too far distant from mother’s day. so, not knowing what else to get an 85 year old, most of us kids and grandkids shower her with plants for her deck and back stoop and front entry and rear patio every spring. right now, both her deck and her stoop, are lush with flowering plants. but the the showstopper is this clematis vine loaded with these purplish-lilac flowers. she tells me the centers open and reveal yellow stamens. i think i prefer them like this… you?
the burdock leaves are already approaching the size of parasols. i picked three the other day because the texture of their veined backsides caught my attention. then i put them in my hatchback, and promptly forgot about them for several days. when i finally did remember, they had already baked for two days in 100 degree heat. i couldn’t have planned a more visually engaging result.
three burdock leaves
minnesota sits at the center of the north american continent. i know you don’t believe me, but take a look at a globe. we are in the north of the united states, but it is very much in the middle of the continent, because canada extends all the way up to the arctic. anyway, being in the center of a huge land mass means we get what is called ‘continental’ weather. in other words, weather not mitigated by the mellowing effects of large bodies of water. what i am trying to say, is that our weather is about as erratic as it gets. we often get 40 degree temperature changes in a single day. in spring or fall, when snow mixes with warm temps, we sometimes get to brag (or lament?) that we have had, “all four seasons today”. all of this is a long wind-up to say that last week we had temps dipping to 30 degrees, and frost warnings. everyone ran outside to cover their tomatoes. and today, we hit 98 degrees, with a forecast of high nineties all week, and everyone ran out to water their tomatoes. it would be easy to blame global warming for a 60 degree temperature swing in one week, and i am sure that is at least partially the case, but the reality is, this is not so unusual for minnesota. we’ve seen such things before. the point here is that it was too hot (for me) to play outside today, so i reached for these dried apple blossoms, which have been shriveling on my specimen table since may. a welcome, if infrequent, reward for my laziness.
dried apple blossoms
umbel season has arrived!
have i mentioned my fascination and affection for umbels? yeah, well, umbels are a personal favorite, and umbel season is beginning. umbellules, umbellets, umbellates, subumbellates, and of course umbelliforms. compound umbels, simple umbels, primary umbels, secondary umbels. a mother is supposed to say she loves all of her children equally. and i really do love all of my umbellate children just exactly the same. except i love wild carrot (queen anne’s lace) just a little bit more.
golden alexander (Zizia aurea)
can you eat it?
steve planted borage just outside our front door this year, as part of his ongoing campaign to convert as much of our two acres of woods as possible into a “food forest.” i was skeptical (that’s sort of my role) of his enthusiastic purchase of three borage plants, which we have never planted before, but lordy, when they bloomed, i was in all the way. the whole plant is edible, including these gorgeous flowers, which steve tells me will be featured soon on one of our dinner salads. ok, hon. i’m here for it.
borage flowers (Borago officinalis)