Phlowers – Yellow Nature

Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Forsythia on an overcast day.

The forsythia seemed to be the only sunshine as I watched the sky on this day of April showers.

Creeping Jenny

I find a sense of security in the burst of color from garden perennials. I rely on the plants that green up and blossom with the warmth of the springtime sun. They give me hope that winter is truly behind us.

Double Daffodil

I planted dozens of daffodils in the Autumn. Even against an angry sky they glow.

Hyacinth

This pale yellow hyacinth might not have strong color, but it still has the same glorious scent as the varieties that sport brighter hues. This hyacinth is my choice for Flower of the Day.

Johnny-Jump-Up Violas

Rounding out my collection of yellow flowers are these sweet Johnny-Jump-Ups.

Plants – Updates

An update on the Mother-of-Thousands sprouts: Both types of propagation techniques worked well for rooting the tiny succulent plantlets.

Flower of the Day Challenge: Hyacinth blossoms in their last days. Still beautiful and very fragrant. The flower bloomed so well the stem couldn’t handle the weight, and the flowers are now right-side down.

My coleus sprouts are small, growing steadily but slow, and beginning to develop nice color.

Phlowers – Camellia Blossoms

Camellia flowers – what a perfect way to start the week. Cee, host of Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge, posted a beautiful camellia today. Inspired by her photograph, I looked through my flower files and found a few vibrant Camellia photos taken in the Longwood Gardens Conservatory. Nothing banishes winter blues quite as well as the indelible hope and beauty of flowers in bloom.

Even the buds are beautiful.

What’s better than a perfect Camellia blossom? Why, two of course.

Philm – All Creatures Great and Small

One of my favorites…I watch with a goofy smile pasted on my face for most of it. Sweet, clean, wonderful characters and stories…and much of it true. Based on the recollections of James Alfred “Alf” Wight, writing under the pen name James Herriot, Veterinarian. Season 1, aired in 2021, and Season 2, is airing now in the U.S. on PBS, and is available on Acorn TV. All Creatures Great and Small is definitely a binge-worthy television show.

Plant – Mother of Thousands

When I purchased this succulent, I had no idea it was a kalanchoe, or that it was one of a variety called Mother of Thousands, and sometimes the Chandelier Plant. It has thrived in a terracotta pot in my sunny kitchen window. The plant is about eight inches in height at this time. Since it is growing so tall I will transplant it to a bigger pot soon to avoid top-heaviness.

When I first noticed a new plantlet near the base I assumed it was growing from the main plant root. Now, after seeing small plantlets clinging to the uppermost leaves, I realize the new growth developed from one of these small sprouts.

Of course, I couldn’t resist planting a few of the larger sprouts. I am attempting to get good results from two different mediums to see which works best. On the left is a mixture of vermiculite and seed starter, on the right a peat pellet. I’ll update in the future.

My baby chandelier plants are in the inchoate stage of life. I love it when challenges make me stretch a bit. When I saw the Ragtag Daily Prompt today, the word inchoate was a unknown to me. Now I know the meaning – will I ever use it in a sentence, well, first I better learn how to pronounce it.

Inchoate – (ĭn-kō′ĭt, -āt) Being in a beginning or early stage; incipient.
Imperfectly formed or developed; disordered or incoherent.
Recently, or just, begun; beginning; partially but not fully in existence or operation; existing in its elements; incomplete.

This oddball plant is also perfect for Kammie’s Oddball Challenge.

Phlowers – Tulips for a Valentine

Beautiful ovals, egg-shaped, the flowers open above the slender green stems into a gorgeous blossom with interesting centers. I like tulip flowers in all their stages. Even as they begin to dry and become papery, they have subtle beauty. Their vase life is well over a week in my cold winter house, and as a bonus, they grow taller as they age. I sure wish I was growing taller as I aged. 🤔

Valentine Tulips – Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge.

Place – Six on Saturday – Cedar Lake

Twenty-five years ago, on hot summer days, I took my pre-teen sons to a beautiful swimming pond called Washington Lake. The place closed, was vacant for years, but recently was repurposed into a walking park. The day was warm, but there was plenty of ice on the water to remind us it was still February. It was a perfect opportunity to visit a beloved place I hadn’t seen in decades.

The beach, once dotted with lawn chairs and umbrellas, is still wide and inviting. New docks now stand where once my boys jumped from diving boards and slid down slides.

The water is so clear it reminded us of the Caribbean. It is pristine, almost like looking through glass.

We walked all the way around, something you couldn’t do years ago, now the walking trails give you a 360 degree view.

This little knoll seemed a perfect place to picnic.

The white pine in the surrounding woodland is beautiful. I saw a lot of milkweed pods too, a good place for monarch butterflies to thrive. In about six weeks or so the trees might begin to bud. We will try to visit often in the next few months.

This challenge is part of Six on Saturday and Skywatch.

Planting & Quick Tip – Simple Pleasures Seed Sprouting

One of my simple pleasures in life is sprouting seeds in the house under lights. I’ve started the large seeds of Moonflowers early. They grow quickly, but are slow to blossom outdoors. The moonflower sprouts are large now, and growing through the netting of their pots. This morning I transplanted them into large size cell packs saved from last year’s planting.

Lack of humidity in the house sometimes causes the sprouts of larger seeds to become trapped within the seed coat. When this problem occurs I give the seedling a chance by dribbling water over it several times through the day. If I try to remove the seed coat by hand, almost always, the plant inside is torn and ruined beyond saving. Keeping the seed coat wet gives the sprout a better chance of survival.

Plants – Sea Beans

Sea beans, the name is surprisingly unknown to most people. Are they edible? No. Where do they grow? They self-sow in most cases, and are responsible for diverse plants finding root in new places.

Nickernuts, dove gray in color, like the sky before a storm. The seed coat is near impenetrable, almost as hard as the glass marbles they resemble in size. I planted the seeds in soil to no avail. I soaked them for days without any water absorption occurring, my next attempt might be drilling them with my Dremel tool.

These sea beans are stored in a hidden area in my home. Several of them appear to be the seeds of the Castor Bean plant. This plant is extremely toxic. I haven’t planted any of these seeds; I don’t want a Castor Bean plant growing in my home or garden because of possible danger to pets and children.

I managed to grow a few of the sea beans we collected in October on Sanibel Island, Florida. After soaking in water, they sprouted and grew slowly, but have been great fun to watch. The advice I read that sea beans might take a year to sprout is correct. The tiny sprig on the left appeared months after sowing.

Wordnik has a good definition:

Any of a diverse variety of fruits, seeds or disseminules of land plants that find their way into the world’s oceans and ride currents for months or years before washing up on distant beaches and coastlines.

~Wordnik

Want to learn more about sea beans? Check out this site: What’s A Sea Bean?

Phlowers – Final Bow and Wow

These beautiful petals, and spring-like fragrance they emitted in their final days, were a pleasant surprise this week. They began their display in my home, a bit disappointing being a little shorter than expected. They finished off their flowering with a bang, wowing me with streaks of pinkish red and wide open bloom. The flowers above are yellow tulips.

When I look at the unfurled petals my first impulse is to grab my watercolors and brushes. Perhaps I will do just that this week if I find the time. The tulips are bordered by spider plantlets rooting in green glass. The chartreuse leaves behind the flowers are a newly acquired philodendron called, ‘Golden Goddess.’

The tulips are part of Cee’s Flower of the Day, Floral Friday, and Floral Fotos.

Perspective – What Do I Save?

The Ragtag Prompt today is the word Save. Without even a minute of thought my post almost wrote itself. Throughout the day, 5:00 a.m. to now, 1:16 p.m. (EST), I set aside the trash in the photograph to save. I realized, that without trying, the items followed a theme: things to recycle for gardening.

The can full of water is soaking the label off a cinnamon spice jar. I can use this to hold my own dried herbs. The can itself will be put on a shelf in my garage, ready to hold bacon grease or other refuse. Empty cans are indispensable in the garden, and in previous growing seasons I’ve used several for small plants. Larger-sized crushed tomato cans are a good one to keep, perfect to measure out a daily portion of bird seed. The mesh bag, cut off a ham that is even now simmering on the stove before baking, can be used to dry vegetables, suspend melons or squash above the ground, and can also store bulbs in the Autumn.

The cheesecake container, empty now, (wish it was still full) can hold expanding peat pots. They make a great instant greenhouse. I have quite a few Moonflower vines sprouting in one I saved a few weeks ago. Hmmm? I wonder what I’ll save next.

Perspective – Upside Down

My wonderful father, after 87 years of serving the Lord on this earth, is with him in heaven. Even though I knew he could not go on much longer, my heart is aching without him. I know he has rejoined my mother and so many others who went on before him. God is good. I have the assurance of a better world after this one.

He always had movie star good looks. He was often mistaken for ‘The Man from Uncle,’ Robert Vaughn, or sometimes people thought he looked like Johnny Cash. He certainly could sing like Mr. Cash. The photo above is of Dad with my sister and me, Frontier Town, Ocean City, MD, early 1960’s.

Perspective – Throwback Thursday

This beautiful oak cabinet belonged to my parents. It sits in a corner of my living room; a unique piece of furniture I feel blessed to have it in my home. Inside are vintage novels, many written by Grace Livingston Hill. I haven’t read all of them, but perhaps at some point I will find the time to immerse myself into each one. The stories were written in a different time, and might be considered quaint by some, but they are also comforting in their lack of descriptive violence, swearing, and the ‘other things’ that cause me to cringe when I read today’s brand of fiction.

I also enjoy the non-fiction of Faith Baldwin and was delighted to recently find my sixth volume of her prose. This lady had a sweet wisdom that both counsels me and uplifts my spirit. No matter she lived in an era different from mine. Her timeless words live beyond her lifespan.

Gratitude is a humble emotion. It expresses itself in a thousand ways, from a sincere thank you to friend or stranger, to the mute, up-reaching acknowledgment to God–not for the gifts of this day only, but for the day itself; not for what we believe will be ours in the future, but for the bounty of the past.

~Faith Baldwin

This last photo might seem strange, but it illustrates my life at the present moment. Another person I love has come down with Covid even though they received the vaccination. Everything seems awry today, even something as simple as opening the curtains properly. I laughed when I walked into my living room and noticed the disarray of the front window.

Thanks be to God the new person who has come down with this virus seems to be recovering. I won’t tell you how I feel about the virus, what I believe about the origins, reasoning, and treatments, that is for each person to decide for themselves. I will tell you though that I so agree with the four words one of my cousins texted to me yesterday, “I’M SO COVID WEARY.” I think we can all nod our heads and shout, “Me too!” God bless us all in this time we were born to live in. He will equip us to live for him.


Photo Challenges – Fire and Ice/Two Different Things/Cee’s Black and White Challenge

Two opposites – Cee’s Black and White Challenge – Fire and Ice

FIRE AND ICE

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if I had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

~Robert Frost
Two blocks of ice.

After I took my ‘Fire and Ice’ photograph I remembered the birds need a source of water in the Winter. I overturn my warm weather birdbath in the wintertime to keep it from breaking in the weather extremes. In its place I use a dollar store tray. Works great, although I did break a bit of the edge trying to get the ice out.

After a week of dreary skies, the snowstorm left brilliant sunshine in its wake. The sun’s rays as it went down set everything ablaze. I took this photo hanging out of my second (two) story back window.

Two pines, two houses, one chimney

Photographs – First Snowfall 2022

The first snowfall of winter is drifting down from whitened skies here in Southern New Jersey. The quick accumulation of several inches is surprising after last week’s record warmth. I took a quick stroll around my yard and found this small sparrow watching me from the leafless Vitex tree.

The gourd birdhouse is vacant, and I am reminded I need to repair the opening and rodent-proof before Spring arrives.

My Rosemary plants are covered with blue blossoms. I’m glad I waited for the first snowfall to use the surprise burst of florets for Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge.

The bright contrasting tones of peach, courtesy of my last blooming rose of 2021, give me chills in reality, and also in spirit. Covered in a white blanket of snowflakes the flower suggests a mysterious slumber before rebirth in Spring, truly a sleeping beauty. I can see a few starry points of individual flakes. How beautiful and rare, snowdrifts on live rose petals, not a sight I often see.