November 26, 2008

Witch Hazel

(Hamamelis virginiana)

It's Thanksgiving tomorrow, and there's a witch hazel still in bloom in St. Paul, MN. I didn't know how long they bloom here in zone 4, but usually by this date, everything has frozen, so I wouldn't expect to see this.

So, if witch hazel blooms in the cold fall, what pollinates it?

November 23, 2008

Viva Mexico !

I'm planning a trip to Mexico soon...and I will be reporting on the plants I find there. A few things I'll be on the look-out for: Poinsettia "trees" 8 feet tall, Boxwood hedges, Deadly Angel's Trumpet everywhere, and facinating changes in climate with every slight altitude change.
In the lower areas, you'll find coffee, banana, and citrus growing...but climb a bit into the higher altitudes, and you'll find apple orchards, and the beautiful Maguey.
Check back to see my plant findings from Mexico.

October 24, 2008

Death to Plants

Make sure to take one more look at the dying plants, as they take their last breath before winter. There's a bounty of seeds and colors now that are revealed only in the fall. The plants are standing proudly in their skeletal form, as if to say," Look at me...I was beautiful once, and I'm proud of all I've done".

September 22, 2008

Photography Locations

There's a perfect photo studio near about a corn field or a pond, or a stand of pine trees? There are endless places outdoors for creating meaningful portraits. What feelings does a cornfield evoke? Many adults see it in an economic view, ...the financial losses, the heavy burden to the land, the loss of family farms, so many negatives...but to a child, it's a fantastic playground full of wonder and imagination.

Take city kids out to explore!

August 29, 2008

Monarch World Travelers

The Minnesota Monarchs (Danaus plexippus) are building up nectar reserves right now before their unbelievable journey to Michoacan, Mexico. I took these photos of Monarch butterflies in my garden. They love the giant zinnias!

Also, don't forget, they cannot survive without milkweed. The larva/caterpillar eats only milkweed, and the plant gives the Monarch it's poisonous properties, protecting it from predators.
The Monarch is the state butterfly of Minnesota, adopted in 1998.

Click the map to go to the web site for "Journey North" and learn about Monarch fall migration and tracking. Buen Viaje, Mis Amigos! Que Les Vaya Bien!

August 2, 2008

Bees Knees and Bachelor's Buttons

I followed this bee as he went to every Bachelor's Button flower in my garden...avoiding all kinds of other nice flowers- he was only interested in the Bachelor's Buttons. I didn't realize they are so appealing to bees- good to know.

I wonder what kind of honey that'll make?...Maybe blue?

July 17, 2008

This Season's Container Plantings

Here are some images of the container plantings I did this season for a business complex in St. Paul. I went with bold colors, red, orange, purple, trying to make it look dark, warm, untamed, informal, exciting, and unique. I mixed many things together to see which plants would grow bigger and push out the others.
TRICKS: I added some flower seeds into the combo pots, so that new things keep sprouting up through the season. ...Also, I mixed a climbing vine (cardinal vine) into a hanging basket, so it goes up and hangs down at the same time...AND in a neglected back area, where I know nobody will water, I planted seeds only of drought tolerant flowers like zinnia, cosmos, and marigold. They are big and blooming now without much care.
My challenges were making it look like something in the spring when it was too cold still for some of the plant varieties...and when the plants were freshly planted, making sure the person in charge of watering doesn't neglect them.
Each year, I try new combinations...this year I was trying to avoid yellow, blues, and whites. Maybe next year I'll do the opposite...we'll see.

We still have at least a month of growing in MN before the temps start to drop; so these plants will get bigger, and in some cases, more leggy.

I like to plant pots with stuff that gets huge. For something experimental, I planted this obnoxious turquoise pot with a variegated Japanese corn!