WiseAcre Gardens

north of the adirondacks – wildflowers & perennials that survive winters colder than my wife's feet

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Posted by WiseAcre on Sep 1st, 2011

Perennial Pleasures

Sep 1

…and naughty bits.

I take perennial flowers for granted. I planted them so I expect them to be there for me, and they are, year after year while I’ve gallivanted around seeking cheap thrills with their wild cousins.

Ever faithful, my garden phlox and perennial sunflowers wait for me at the side of the house. Both are a bit aggressive but I like that in my flower bed.

phlox and perennial sunflowers

Then there’s my geranium. I’ve forgotten her name but she still tempts me with her naughty bits.

geranium naughty bits

Speaking of naughty bits, the ligularia has more than enough to arouse my interest. I have to say ligularia flowers are one of my perennial favorites.

ligularia naughty bits

An inch worm makes an unsuccessful move on another ligularia flower. Poor little worm, no matter how much he stretched and stiffened the neighboring naughty bits were out of reach.

inch worm on ligularia flower

Phloxy Autumn Joy. I told ya phlox is aggressive.
Sedum flower heads getting phloxed.

phlox flowers piercing sedum flowerhead

Ah, what can I say. I strayed on the wild side again. A dainty Aster on the fringes of respectability (where the lawn mower dares not go) caught my fancy. Asters can be so hard to pin down s I didn’t catch a last (species) name.

aster flower

Disturb a bald faced hornet’s nest and you’ll feel the sting of their really nasty bits. They’re pretty much a black and white version of a yellow jacket wasp. Both are known for their bad attitude so it’s best not to stick your nose into their business end.

bald faced hornet

I guess that’s enough. I have other things to do now.
nudge, nudge, wink, wink

Posted by WiseAcre on Mar 24th, 2011

race for first flower

Mar 24

The first blooms of this year are a good week late compared to last year. It was a real horse race this year with 3 garden flowers in the running. Crocus, Vinca minor and Winter aconite ran bud to bud. It took a photo finish to declare a winner. Winter Aconite was the favorite, followed by Crocus with Vinca considered the dark horse in the race.

The first bud photographed was Crocus.

It’s still pretty uptight and not quite ready to open up yet. It did manage to show but it was a couple of lengths behind the others.

I knew the race was on when I spotted it. When I see these ready to bloom the Winter Aconite at my friend’s house are likely to have already flowered.

crocus bud

I don’t know how this pair of crocus managed to get into the back field but they’ve naturalized. After the 3 or 4 years I’ve seen them there I half expected to see more. They may be surviving but they’re not propagating. I think the quack-grass is giving them a hard time.

crocus flower buds

Winter aconite – Eranthis hyemalis

The favorite is just opening.
If the sun was out the Winter Aconite might have been a little faster out of the gate.

winter aconite- Eranthis hyemalis

Two flowers opened just enough to get a peek inside but not enough to win this years race.

winter aconite

…for a look at the flower fully opened you can check out the post from last year
March 17, 2010 – Winter Aconite

…and the winner is

Periwinkle – Vinca minor

vinca minor flower

I can’t say it was a complete surprise. Every year a vinca bloom or two opens around this time. This year it was just a bit earlier while the winter aconite was holding back waiting for the sun.

…and now for something completely different.

It’s been (I hate to say) cold. Daytime temps have been hovering just below freezing and dipping into the single digits at night. Ice season isn’t over yet.

A puddle had an invisible (to the camera) thin layer of ice suspended above the water’s surface. The ‘bubbles’ are actually water droplets clinging to the underside of the ice.

water drops on the underside of a thin ice sheet

Snow melt is feeding multiple little run-off streams while the cold nights attempt to hold back the flow. The result is minature frozen waterfalls. Pookey approved

tiny icy waterfalls

I took the next 2 photos yesterday while the sun popped out for a minute. I need to go back and see if I can get a better Lichen Landscape photo but this one will do for now. This landscape will be easy to find again since it’s on a rock pile in the middle of a corn field.

Lichen landscape - pixie cups

Of course I can’t go out back with out seeing a deer in the corn field. What I didn’t catch with the camera were the other 4 deer behind the rise. I might have been able to out wait this deer in order to stalk it if it wasn’t for my wildlife repellant. Pookey never saw them but they sure did notice her.

deer in corn stubble

Posted by WiseAcre on Aug 3rd, 2010

Thistle Me This

Aug 3

I doubt many northern gardeners will recognize this thistle. Can you guess what it is?

Artichoke flower

A few hints before I spill the beans:

  • It can be found in North Africa in it’s wild form.
  • It’s a short lived perennial that develops the edible flowers during the second and following years.
  • Cultivation is concentrated in the Mediterranean basin with Italy, Spain, and France being the main producers.
  • California provides nearly 100% of the U.S. crop.
  • A variety, ‘Imperial Star’ was developed for northern climates that will produce a limited harvest the first year.
  • An even newer variety, ‘Northern Star’ is said to overwinter in northern areas and able to survive sub-zero temperatures.
  • It can be grown from seeds, divisions, root cuttings or micropropagation.
  • It’s the primary flavor of Cynar, a Italian liqueur.
  • In the Da Lat region of Vietnam it is used to produce a commercial tea.

This should give it away:
Artichoke flower

Yep, it’s an Artichoke

I have no clue what variety this one is. My wife bought some from a greenhouse last year. They all produced last season and this one survived the extremely mild winter we were fortunate to have. It didn’t grow very well this year but it did produce that great bloom.

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