Topic: The weekly flower report!
Spring has sprung here in the litter box and I have little green sprouting things everywhere! The seeds I planted outside are now showing signs of their forst true leaves, as opposed to the little green cotyledons that are first sprouted. The seeds i started inside last week are doing something amazing...thay are sprouting! Don't they know that seeds started indoors are supposed to sit in their little peat pots for at least two weeks before actually mustering up the strength to even consider sprouting? Then they sprout their cotyledons then expire. No...they don't do that all the time. But sprouting in only fifve days is quite unusual. Today I'll be going to Ontario Seed to get more peat pellets so I can start even more seeds. I'm aiming for planting out the first week of June, so I have a couple weeks leeway in starting my seeds. Most don't need much more than six weeks to grow a good sized seedling.
The lawn is now a rich green, embroidered with deep purple sweet violets. When the sun shines warm on the grass I can smell their scent. Nothing smells like the small wild sweet violets that flower in the cool afternoons of April. And some people think they are weeds! Can you believe that? The sweetest flower of April is not a weed! And anyone who thinks it is needs a serious re-adjustment of their gardening priorities!
The snowdrops are almost finished, they dotted the ground for several weeks, poking their heads from the leaf litter and garbage in the city. I'm not the only one who noticed that this has been the filthiest trashiest winter ever. The tall forheads of city hall are looking for ways to discourage litter and encourage people to clean up when they see litter, even if they didn't toss the litter. I have a perfect idea for taming litter, especially on King Street, the city's main thouroughfare...they are called "Garbage Cans" and by putting them on every corner people have a place for their litter other than the gutter. Amazing invention, the trash can!
The crocuses are far too fast. They feel the first rays of the sun, burst from their corms and within a few days, they are utterly spent from a floral point of view. It takes all their remaining strength to send up the leaves required to make new corms for next spring. If they would slow down, bloom a bit more slowly, we could enjoy their efflorescence a little longer.
The trees are near bursting! The aromatic trees such as birches, aspens and poplars are in full catkin glory now, soon they will be drooping like christmas dangles from the trees, dripping resin on the sidewalks. A few maples have opened their buds, the ones with the red buds that shoot out small black stamens, the entire effect makes the tree appear covered in small lady bugs. WHen I was a child I called them lady-bud maples...they are always the first maples to pop their buds which they do at the same times as the blossoming of the sweet violets.
It is a waning moon, but the moon is going inot a fruitful zodiac sign tomorrow. I can't plant vegetable seeds, but I can plant root crops such as carrots and onions. I found some intriguing carrot seeds. The roots are supposed to be perfectly purple! They cook up orange, so they are to be eaten raw. They are supposed to be very sweet. I
ll be planting them tomorrow after noon when the moon moves inot the next sign. My grandmother used to plant by the moon and the zodiac and she was always successful.
There are green spikes of lily-of-the-valley popping up along the garage and in the very back by the garden shed. Lily-of-the-valley is my all time favourite flower. When they are in bloom I pick as many as I can and fill all my flower vases with them and for a few days the house smells like them. One year I made my own perfume with them. The pharmacy on pine street is the only place that sells undenatured alcohol which is used in making perfume. I steeped the flowers in the alcohol for a week, allowing some to evaporate, but not all. It's a method that I'm not sharing! :-P If you want to make scented oil, extra virgin olive oil is the best, steep the flowers in the oil for two weeks in the fridge, so the oil doesn't turn rancid. You can use mineral oil, but the scent doesn't leach into the oil as well. I strained the liquid and I had a very intense lily of the valley perfume. It's difficult to find the proper alcohol, I have to ask at the counter for it and I have to tell them that I'm not going to drink it! When I say it's for extracting scent from flowers then they sell it to me, that's one of three acceptable reasons for purchase. They stopped selling it two years ago, along with a bunch of other chemicals like saltpeter and the like. Something about explosives being made with the chemicals...
I'm going to have to clean the rock garden. The rock garden is a pain because someone decided at one time to fill it with horribly invasive vinca minor and even more invasive crown vetch. I used round-up on the vetch one year, killing everything in that segment of the garden and IT STILL COMES BACK! I hate crown vetch, it would over grow everything in it's path given half a chance! And surprisingly, people who think sweet violets are a weed think crown vetch is a wonderful rock garden plant. And to make matters worse, the crown vetch sucks all the nutrients from the soil, leaving just a grey powdery sterile mess. I'm always looking for annuals that can take poor soil conditions and extreme heat for my rock garden. I've tried everything in that stupid little rock garden, and while I've had some success, sedums get boring after a while. The hens and chicks are nice, I bought three hens and now the chicks from the original three hens are filling the crevasses. I have to divide them up again this year, last year I had large hens and this year I have bunches of little chicks. I have no idea what their scientific name is, I call them what my grandmother called them. The look like fleshy green and reddish green roses.
Why are most leaves green? Becasue the green light of the sun isn't absorbed by the leaf and it's reflected back as visible green light. Better question, why is green light so useless to plants? Because they use the red light of the sun as their cues to grow, flower, set seed and either die or go into dormancy. It's quite scientific and quite interesting. Maybe I'll do some research on the life cycles of plants and why red is such and important wavelength to the life cycle of plants. It has something to do with out primitive sun producing more red light than it does now, and how primitive plants, such bryrophytesand non vascular plants evolved into the wonderful flowering vascular plants that have taken over most ecological niches. Plant evolution is very visible, easily traced and speciation is clearly defined and occurring all the time. There are no missing links in the plant kingdom. New plant species are easy to find, generas such as clarkias are evolving all the time and new species form with clock like regularity. Take THAT creationists! say the clarkias.
I've always been interested in the taxanomy of plants. I've studied taxanomy just for the heck of it, and learned much along the way. The naming of plants is quite complex, not only do you need to learn what a plant is, you must cleary define what the plant isn't. learning taxanomy is an imprtant part of learning to properly identify different plants when they are found in their natural setting. Identifying plants is important if you want either enjoy it for it's beauty...or enjoy it for lunch. Knowing what differentiates a wild onion from a death camas is important for many reasons! Knowing what makes a fern different from a trillium is interesting on many levels. Knowing why horstails are unique among growng plants is to know what kind of jungle the dinosaurs might have lived in and how differnt the forests of today are. On a smaller scale, you can say "I saw a fragrant little pink thing with the two leaves that are side by side and the flower looks sort of like a ballon...know what I mean?" Or you can look at the plant and say "I saw a fragrant little orchid growing wild, I think it's a lady's slipper," I enjoy reading science books about botany just for fun.
So that's enough for now. I should go check out the forest and swamp plants, like skunk cabbage, a memeber of the arum family; trilliums, a lily; trout lily; and another arum family member that's unique and memorable whenever it's found, good old Jack in the pulpit, a local member of a family that has many exotic species.
See y'all tomorrow!
Posted by lincatz
at 10:00 AM EDT