Sunday, March 30, 2008

Wild Yellow Violets

It is interesting to note that many of the first wildflowers to appear in Spring are Yellow....such as the Buttercups and Dog Tooth Violets mentioned in earlier posts, and the currently blooming wild yellow Violets. I think God knew how much we would need that warm, sunny color this time of year, to cheer our winter weary souls!

The wild Yellow Violet is a favorite of mine. It is small in size, but not not lacking in charm... possessing a sweet, subtle fragrance.

I researched to find a botanical name for our variety of yellow violets. The leaves are quite different than most of the images I found, until I came across a source on Idaho Wildflowers which identifies it as Viola vallicola, the Valley Violet. It apparently has been reclassified, formally being called Nuttal's violet. It is distinguished by it's large lanceolate leaves, as opposed to the rounder leaves of other types. I am quite happy for it's new name, as Valley Violet is ever so much nicer sounding....and seems fitting for us, living here in our river valley.


The Violet

Down in a green and shady bed,
A modest violet grew;
Its stalk was bent, it hung its head
As if to hide from view.
And yet it was a lovely flower,
Its color bright and fair;
It might have graced a rosy bower,
Instead of hiding there.

Yet thus it was content to bloom,

Its modest tints arrayed;
And there diffused a sweet perfume,
Within the silent shade.

Then let me to the valley go

This pretty flower to see;
That I may also learn to grow
In sweet humility.

Jane Taylor

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Pretty Posies...

It has been a very cool and cloudy March here this year, with lower temps and fewer sunny days than is typical for the month. My daffodils are in the bud stage, but seem to be in a holding pattern....perhaps waiting for some sunshine before they venture to open their cheerful yellow petals. So yesterday, when a little friend dropped by this bouquet, it really brightened my day!

At first I thought that these were real flowers....until I was close enough to see the pipe cleaner 'stems'.

They are made from tissue paper! I think this is either a Daisy or Cosmos.


And here you may recognize Narcissus Poeticus or Poet's Daffodil. There were also 3 yellow Daffodils in the jar and a couple of Carnations.

When I asked how long it took her to made the flowers, she replied that it didn't take long....except for these Irises, which took the longest. They do look pretty detailed, don't they?

It was delightful and nostalgic to receive these Pretty Paper Posies from my sweet little friend. It made me miss my own 'little girl', now grown with a daughter of her own. I had forgotten just how special it feels to be the recipient of such a simple gift....whether it be a handful of dandelions from the pudgy hand of a toddler, or a bouquet such as this, which represents the time and love it took the giver to create. Thank you , Rebecca Joy!


If you or a little person you know would like to try making these,
the instructions can be found in the book
"Tissue Paper Flowers".

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He is Risen!

Easter Greetings

The Holy Bible; King James Version:

"In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week,
came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary
to see the sepulchre.
And, behold, there was a great earthquake:
for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven,
and came and rolled back the stone from the door,
and sat upon it."
Matthew 28:1-2

"And the angel answered and said unto the women,
Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus,
which was crucified.
He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.
Come, see the place where the Lord lay."
Matthew 28:5-6


"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world
to condemn the world;
but that the world through him might be saved."
John 3:16-17

"... I am the resurrection, and the life:
he that believeth in me, though he were dead,
yet shall he live:
And whosoever liveth and
believeth in me shall never die ..."
John 11:25-26


Have a Blessed Easter!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Dog Tooth Violets

It is always with a sense of awe and excitement that I observe the arrival of the different wildflowers which adorn the mountains here in Springtime. It is a sure sign that winter is over and that sunshine and warm days will soon return!

After the Buttercups have come and gone, the lovely Dog Tooth Violets appear by the hundreds. They also go by the name of Trout Lily, Glacier Lily, Yellow Fawn Lily, or Adder's Tongue. The Dog Tooth Violet (Erythronium grandiflorum) is a member of the Lily family, growing up from a deep seated perennial bulb. The graceful, nodding bell-shaped flowers are bright yellow.....a wonderful sight for color starved eyes this time of year!

This round bud reminds me of a balloon....about ready to pop open!

The anthers turn more reddish as the bloom matures, and the petals curve it a festive air.

A hillside, covered with Dog Tooth Violets. They prefer the shady wooded areas.


For lo, the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing of birds is come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land...

Song of Solomon 2:11

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Project Winter Sow 2008

This is my second year of winter sowing....and I'm afraid I'm hooked! What a great way to get LOTS of plants, for not a lot of money. Especially since many of my seeds come from trades. I love trading seeds on Gardenweb.....but that will have to be another post. :-)

You can see my winter sowing containers lined up here on one of my raised garden beds, which is covered with a mulch of leaves. Last year I kept my winter sown containers behind the house on my picnic table, but this seems a more practical setup. It is closer to water and to the greenhouse where I work most days in the spring, enabling me to keep a closer eye on the containers in case they need venting or watering. Since I took this photo last week, I have added several more jugs, bringing this years count to 64. Last year I had 80+, and had so many plants I had to give them away to friends and neighbors! I planted fewer seeds in each container this time that I have faith this method does work and those seeds will sprout. Another thing I did differently this year was to note the height of each plant on the marker I include in each container, as well as whether the plant likes sun/shade, etc. This saves me time when planting out...especially for those new seed varieties I try each year.

Besides the one gallon milk jugs I use for winter sowing, I use a lot of these clear plastic containers that we buy Organic Mixed Greens in, from Costco. I put vents in the lids and they work very well. I use these a lot for poppies, larkspur, bachelor buttons, calendulas and other favorite hardy annuals, which I sow in quantity. (The sowing surface area in these is roughly double that of the gallon milk jugs). Shown above is 2 of the lettuces I sowed and set out on Feb. 12th. They were up and growing by Feb. 22....some of the first to sprout!

A close up of little lettuce plants....this variety is Italienischer, from seeds shared by my friend Catherine last year. (Thanks, Cat!) It grows huge, to 18 inches and is great tasting. The other variety is an old favorite, Green Ice which I grow for it's tenderness and sweetness. These will be soon transplanted to the garden to grow on.


If you haven't tried Winter sowing and would like more information:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Heralds of Spring

This week while dear husband and I were on our daily walk, we had our first sighting of buttercups.... a sure sign of spring in our little corner of the world! In fact, it is such an important event that the person who finds the first buttercup in our area takes it in to the local newspaper office and gets their name in our small town news. It has been several weeks since the first one was sighted, but this was our first. And it is good news....after a long winter!

The buttercups are placed in one of my tiniest vintage bottles, which I love to use as vases. This bottle is only 2 inches tall....the perfect size and scale for the diminutive buttercups. You can see in the background that today is a rainy day, with clouds hanging low on the mountains....

.....but not so yesterday! Yesterday was our first glorious, sunny, warm, short-sleeve kind of day. As I was out pruning my Graham Thomas rose (with my new Felco Pruner) I happened to look down.... and a wee bit of color caught my eye. It was a single violet bloom, surrounded by many tiny purple buds.


Buttercups and Violets......yup, it's really Spring!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Got Blotanical?

B - Brilliant Blogs of the garden variety.
- Learn about all aspects of gardening.
O - Original Writing, beautiful Photography.
T - Travel to gardens around the world.
A - Access Advice with Search feature.
N - Navigate quickly to New posts daily.
I - Images, Information, Inspiration.
C - Communicate with other gardeners.
A - Answers & Advice. (coming soon)
L - Launched & Led by.....

Stuart Robinson of Gardening Tip 'n' Ideas

Curious? Interested?


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tomatoes, Tools, and Trellos

The 2008 growing season is finally here! Winter sown containers are sporting sprouts, and the greenhouse is cleaned out and ready for seed starting very soon. Here are a few of my favorite new gardening items.... These just make me smile and want to get out in the garden!

Garden clogs! I've tried on many of these in the stores, but have never found just the right fit or color. These are called Trellos, and are available from Land's End. The fit and the color (Olive Drab) are just perfect for me. They will be so handy to slip on for my many trips to the garden or greenhouse, both located just steps outside my front door.

The vintage box holding the above items is an old wooden Coca Cola box, a flea market find for a mere $3.00. (If you look closely you can see the words Coca Cola written in red on the inside of the box.) It is very sturdy and has handles cut into the sides of the box, so will be handy for hauling things around in the garden.

'Brandy Boy' tomato seeds! I saw these in a local produce market, where we had stopped to pick up some huckleberries. I love the taste of Brandywine tomatoes, but typical of most heirlooms, they don't produce much fruit. I am really excited to try this hybrid of Brandywine and Better Boy, which claims to have "incredible heirloom flavor and very high yields."

And saving the best for last....

A Felco Pruner! I've wanted one of these for years, but the scenario seemed to go something like this.... On the first spring-like day in March, I would decide I must spend the afternoon outdoors, and pruning my hedge of Simplicity roses is, naturally, one of the first spring rituals. But since my cheap hardware store pruner from the previous year was either dull or bent, I had to go back to the store for a new one. No more! With all the model options Felco now offers, it was hard to choose one, but I finally settled on the # 8, and it seems to fit my hand well. I am now ready to tackle those roses on the very next sunny warm day that comes our way. Let the pruning begin.


Every spring is the only spring - a perpetual astonishment.

~Ellis Peters