A Lily a Day….or Daylily

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Tiny dancing girls

Swaying, with long golden hair

In petal curtains.

 

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Ever since that day when I first noticed a massive clutch of orange daylilies growing by the side of a country road – with their vibrant colour and abundance of blooms – I’ve had a soft spot for daylilies, or Hemerocallis as they are also called.

So naturally, when it came time to add some new perennials to my starting-anew-garden over 20 years ago, I had daylilies on my wishlist.  First though, I managed to find some of those orange ones that were growing “wild” along a little used road and not belonging to anyone…..and dug up a clump of them, just a small portion, for transplanting into my garden.  After all, I wanted them to feel included with the daylilies I was planning on getting from a nearby garden nursery.

When I went to the nursery, I ended up getting a more reddish coloured kind, an apricot-coloured one, as well as a pale peachy kind.  In that way all four look distinctly different even though similar in flower style.  I used to know their cultivar names, but over the years I have forgotten them.

The close-up photo above is of the peach-coloured daylily.  And below shows how it looks before the flower buds open up….with two more smaller ones growing in size to have their one day of blooming.

 

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The buds on this next one are from the apricot-coloured one.  Notice how the buds are more elongated and “pointy,” compared to the peach one.

 

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The six stamens on this one look like six graceful long feet wearing black ballet slippers, and the white pistil seemingly doing its own thing is ever so long!

 

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Here is the peach daylily again….with a second flower to the right on the verge of opening up….and another smaller bud in behind.

 

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And finally, the one that started it all in my garden, the Tawny Daylily….collected from a “wild” clutch down a gravelly country road.

 

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For this post, I did some research and found out that those orange ones, that have a tendency to naturalize over time, are called Tawny Daylily or Hemerocallis Fulva.

And in case you’re wondering, as their name implies, each flower blooms for only a day.

 

 

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Snowballs in Summer

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Dotted among greens

Perched on many sturdy stalks;

Bountiful white balls.

 

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When I walked out the front door yesterday, my attention was immediately drawn to this one particular snowball head that stood up….quite high above the others.  And I smiled admiringly and said to it, “You want your picture taken, don’t you?”  😊  That’s the one in the first photo.

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The Snowball Viburnum in the front garden bed has been steadily growing and thriving over the past several years, producing more and more beautiful spheres of white flower clusters.

I’ve been letting it have its way for some time; however, I’m thinking about doing some pruning after this season’s flowering is done.

Just a little.

To give the hostas some of the space they’ve lost. 😊

 

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Up close the white flowers look pretty with their particular petal shape and lines.

 

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Pine Tree Pollen

 

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Rays of green needles,

With squirming pink pollen worms,

And new needle growth.

 

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When I arrived home in the early afternoon today, the sun was shining brightly – perhaps to make up for the last three days of clouds and rain?

I glanced around the yard to see what was different, and my gaze landed upon a large pine tree.  Its growth pattern has intrigued me ever since we first transplanted it as a two-foot tall sapling many years ago.

I noticed some colour dotted in and among its needle-filled branches and went up closer to see.  And it was generously laden with clutches of these pollen “worms.”  And with new light green needle growth visible as well.

It seemed a bit puzzling to me, as in previous years I HAD noticed the new needle growth spurting outwards but never with the pollen in all of its splendour.

Somehow I must have just missed that part?

 

 

First Flowers of Spring!

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Popped up from the ground,

Tiny green stems holding up

White flower greetings!

 

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The start of every new spring season I always keenly await those first brave little bulb flowers who cheerily greet me with their delicate white faces.

Such a joyful sight to behold amid the backdrop of last year’s brown and dried vegetation.

Just now I went outside to capture some of their beauty to share with you.

I hope you like them!

The flower in the photo above is a snowdrop.

 

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These next ones are called “Glory in the Snow” and also “Striped Squill.”

(….the names I found as I was googling…..  🙂 )

 

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For me it’s an endless pleasure to gaze at these tiny white spring flowers.

Here are more snowdrops…..

 

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Nature’s Delicate Side

With icy and snowy landscapes greeting me as I look out the windows, I sometimes go poking through older photos with some of them taken in the warmer seasons…..just for that occasional break.

I came across these two last night.

 

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In a patch of downtrodden grass

Stands a sentinel.

Reaching tall….reaching for the sun’s warmth.

A splayed fan of fine, grassy wisps at the top.

In a burst of bright green,

Saying, “I am here!”

 

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Little girl in white

With a bouffant of pink hair;

Dancing with a friend.

 

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The first photo was taken during a visit at a wildlife reserve in August 2015 up in the Yukon.  Our group had walked over to where some caribou were grazing in their sufficiently large area – we could watch them with a wired fence between us – and in between taking photos of the caribou, I also found some other beauties in this spot….like that little grassy shoot.

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The second photo was taken of bleeding hearts blooms in the front bed of my garden in the spring of 2015.  I had actually waited too long, and many of the fuller clusters had already passed the height of their generous blooming time.

 

 

In Praise of the Tamarack

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Green in the summer,

Its needles turn bright yellow,

Then drop completely.

 

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Do you know the tamarack?

It’s a coniferous tree that grows abundantly in Canada.

Tamaracks are among my favourite trees!

Once the many deciduous trees have impressed us with their spectacular fall dresses and then shed them, these modest trees – known as deciduous conifers, also called Tamarack (from Algonquian) and larch, suddenly explode into vibrant yellow colour!

They are the only conifers in Canada whose needles change colour and also get dropped!  I have been enthralled with these trees ever since I first learned of their unique quality years ago, when one of our older neighbours, Ross, told me about them.

I love seeing these yellow lovelies along all the country roads I drive these days, when everything else begins to look more brown and grey and bare, before winter sets in.

 

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Note:  The word tamarack is the Algonquian name for the species and means “wood used for snowshoes.”

 

Surprise in my Compost Bin!

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Solitary plant —

A stray seed took root this spring

In my compost bin.

 

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As I’d go visiting my compost bin over the summer, I noticed at one point that a plant had taken root and was seemingly doing quite well.  It had its share of sun, and I checked that it had enough moisture ie. water.

The leaves and look of the plant puzzled me, so I didn’t know for a while what it would turn into, although I suspected perhaps a flowering plant?

A few days ago, when I went to look again and saw that leaves were starting to wilt with the cooler autumn temperatures, I looked more closely and realized that what I had thought might be that Chinese lantern plant with its papery “flowers” was actually….a ground cherry plant!!

I am relatively new to ground cherries, although ever since I first bought them via a farmer’s market a couple of years ago, I have become an avid eater of them!   Whenever I find some, I will get a pint.  They are usually sold with their delicately light, “papery” covers enveloping them (you can see some in the photo above).  And the ground cherries quickly disappear on my drive back home.  Yes, they are just SO good!!  For nibbling!  Tart and bursting with juice.

I suppose that a stray seed from one ground cherry last year found its way into my compost bin and germinated this season…..?

What a lovely surprise!

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This modest-looking plant produced a good two dozen yummy ground cherries – that clearly was a gift from Mother Nature!

Note:  I just did some quick research.  Ground cherries are classified under the name Physalis plant (in the nightshade family).  And I have learned that there are some connections to the Chinese Lantern (aha!), the tomatillo, and the native gooseberry.  That explains a lot!  I have bought tomatillos from a local organic farmer as well, and just recently I came across another farmstand selling the gooseberries.  Gooseberries share a tartness to the ground cherry but have a little bit more sweetness in them.

 

Autumn Wildflowers

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Sprays of blue asters,

Clustered along the roadside,

And pink clovers, too.

 

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There’s a back roads route I have been taking all summer up to the White Lake area – it’s a good 35-minute drive to my destination.  Winding here and there….with wildflowers and fields and forests and occasional wildlife to be seen.

Now that autumn has been setting in, not only do the tree leaves start changing their colours, but the later blooming wildflowers have their showy time.

For the past few days, those tiny bluish flowers have been smiling at me, as I drove by – looking like a sea of pale blue – and I didn’t want to miss out on looking at them up close, so on my drive back home two days ago, I stopped to take some pictures and to admire and enjoy their beauty.

 

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They are such cheerful pretty flowers!

 

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And then finally the wide view  of them along the roadside….

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The Mallow

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A deepest of reds,

Lovely when fully opened;

The Mallow flower.

 

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When I was visiting my parents two weeks ago, I spent some time walking about in their backyard garden, to gaze upon and admire all the various flowers and plants that my Dad lovingly tends.

This was the first time for me to see one of their favourites – the mallow.  The flowers are huge and enthralling to look at.

Here is a close-up of its center….

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The beauty of nature in its finest of details and design….

I had meant to take a photo of the flower with my hand beside it to show perspective, but in the excitement I forgot to do that, so my parents kindly sent me one from their collection.

In this final photo, you can see the comparative size of one of the mallow flowers with my Mom’s hand next to it.

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The Promise of an Acorn

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Little acorn seed,

Full of potential life force,

Take root and grow tall.

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On one of my daily walks, as I was coming along our little gravelly country road leading up to the house, I couldn’t help but notice something yellowy-green in a “sea” of limestone grey.

I was enthralled.  An acorn without its signature cap (“cupule”) on top.  Had a squirrel found it and been on route to hiding it in one of its caches of food storage…and lost it? Otherwise, why such a distance from any nearby oak tree?

I had a closer look at the acorn and then picked it up.  As I gazed upon it, I was reminded of a more well-known part of William Blake’s poem “Auguries of Innocence:”

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an Hour.”

I have to confess that although I am quite fond of poetry, and poetry from classic writers, I actually learned about this four-line segment via the first Tomb Raider movie in which Lara Croft finds one of her clues in those wise words.

Ever since then I have loved how Blake expressed those thoughts, and so as I gazed upon that acorn, I thought about “holding infinity in my palm”…even if it means holding something that given the right conditions of air, soil, and water holds the promise of growing into a stately oak that can reach a long age and witness much over its lifetime.  Life is a continuous process, so in that sense, endless.  Infinite.

I decided this limestone gravel road wasn’t much of a conducive home for this sturdy acorn and brought it in with me.  In the next day or so, I will go for a walk in the nearby little woods and see if I can find a life-giving spot for it.  Or perhaps try assisting the acorn into a seedling stage, as I discovered through a bit of research online.

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Check out this cool-looking time-lapse video of an acorn seed’s early development – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZK4LjURtaDw