Phlowers – Wildflower Walk

“May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day.” ~ Native American Proverb

Jewelweed – Autumn Wildflower

I haven’t taken part in a WetCanvas Plant Parade Challenge for quite a while. For the month of September, the host has chosen wildflowers. I thought it a great opportunity to grab my camera and take a walk to look for Autumn wildflowers. The jewelweed, in the photo above, might seem fragile, but the plant has some mighty powers; jewelweed is a natural remedy for poison ivy.

“If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for a moment.” ~ Georgia O’Keefe

Other wildflowers I found were goldenrod, autumn clematis, late-season honeysuckle, and evening primrose.

My wildflower walk is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Phlowers & Photograph – Rose of Sharon

My Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) photograph is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge.

Today is an overcast day in southern New Jersey…again. We’ve had a very wet summer and it looks like the upcoming Autumn season might bring the same. When I take a walk a little later in the morning, I will be sure and grab my camera to take along. I have found grey days create an amazing background for skyline photographs. The moisture in the air forms a screen of sorts, and shadows magically appear within the mistiness surrounding the plant. You can see this effect in the unretouched photo above.

A few years ago a generous friend sent me seeds from her Rose of Sharon bush. This sweet little tree is the result. I grew it in the house for quite a while, and then, when I felt it was hardy enough, planted it outdoors. It has thrived this summer and grown to about three feet tall. Plants given to me by friends always bring me great joy.

The leaves of the Rose of Sharon are glossy and green and don’t appear to be tempting to many garden pests. Hooray. Thanks again to the kind lady who sent me these seeds. You can find excellent growing and pruning tips for Rose of Sharon at The Spruce.

These photographs are part of Skywatch Friday. Thanks for stopping by today.

Phlowers – Sunlit Crimsons

Crimson Blooms are still blossoming in my gardens.

The Lady Baltimore hibiscus is one of my most reliable perennials. She is always late to the party, her stalks being one of the last to emerge from the ground in the spring, but she always outdoes the other perennials in color, bloom count, and size. Each blossom is as large as a dinner plate. Lady Baltimore grows 4 – 5 feet tall each year.

My red tropical hibiscus is a favorite too. I carried this plant away from a neighbor’s trash heap several years ago. The hibiscus wasn’t in the best of shape, half dead and a bit buggy, but I’ve nurtured it over the years and it has rewarded me with double blooms all year long. This hibiscus must be brought indoors before the first frost arrives.

Angel-wing begonias come in pink and red. My hanging basket has done well in semi-shade all summer. I will try and save the entire plant in a sunny window to bloom again next year. I also rooted a cutting in water; it is now planted in a small pot and growing under my basement plant lights.

All of these plants grow reliably outdoors. Lady Baltimore dies back to the ground every winter but sends up new stalks in the spring. The tropical hibiscus and Angel-wing begonia do double-duty as houseplants.

Phlower – Hibiscus/Unlikely Sources

Several of my favorite plants have been found in the unlikeliest places. I discovered this beautiful hibiscus for sale in a local deli. It wasn’t blooming when I bought it; I assumed it would have the appearance of a typical garden shop hibiscus. What a surprise awaited me when the multi-hued double petals opened for the first time. In the Autumn, I will bring the plant indoors and try to keep it alive and blooming for years. At some point I know I will have to capture this flower in watercolor.

This beautiful bloom is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Planting & Phlowers – Wildflower Packets

I planted three small garden patches with an inexpensive wildflower packet this year. I think I paid about 20 cents each for a handful of packets. They grew with hardy exuberance, filling the patches with foliage. When the temperatures warmed up they began to bloom in a glorious array of variety and colors.

The nectar and pollen draw all types of pollinators, both large and small, and today when taking photographs I saw a few butterflies hovering over the patches.

The foliage can look a little weedy and that’s okay because, in reality, many of these wildflowers are considered weeds.

I love the Black-Eyed Susans that grew from the packets. The close-up details fill me with awe over what the good Lord has created in miniature. This photo is part of Skywatch Friday. The burst of petals is reminiscent of the fireworks on Wednesday night.

Sir Water Scott perfectly describes the way my wildflower garden grows and how I want to live my life. I like orderly garden beds that bloom with decorum at the right time and in the right place, but I prefer the glorious action and surprises in a patch of mixed wildflowers.

If you press flowers, you will find that many of these wildflowers make terrific candidates for pressing, as does their sparse foliage.

Sketching, painting and other forms of art using wildflowers becomes easier by isolating single varieties with a large sheet of posterboard.

It’s not too late to plant wildflowers. I will be adding fresh seeds to my gardens for a few weeks yet in hopes of enjoying wildflowers throughout the entire summer and fall.

Photographs & Phlowers – Poppies and a Weather Vane on the 4th of July

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY! 

Beautiful fringed poppies are growing in my garden. I don’t know what’s prettier, the flower or the pods they develop after blooming.

Today’s 4th of July Weather Vane Wednesday.

I miss the WordPress Photo Challenge and thought an interesting alternative would be to offer one of my own on Wednesdays. Weather Vane Wednesdays is just what the title implies, a photo of a weather vane.

Create a weather vane post, the name doesn’t have to be in the title. If you would like others to see your post leave a link to your blog in the comment box. You can also tag the post #weathervaneweds. If you place a link to my post in your post you will create a pingback that will appear in the comment section. Thanks so much for taking part in my challenge

Phlowers – Shine

    I picked a humble dandelion puff yesterday and held it toward the sky to study its many facets.

    What a difference it made to lift a flower puff into the rays of the sun. Each cypsela and calyx (seeds) reflected the light; sunbeams radiating off of the puff were the result.

    It reminded me that if I dwell in the holy light of Jesus and accept his saving grace for my own I can be a reflection of him no matter how humble my life and witness. To that thought, I say a big, “HALLELUJAH & AMEN!”

    Since the Dandelion can thrive in difficult conditions, it is no wonder that people say the flower symbolizes the ability to rise above life’s challenges.
    ~ The Meaning of Flowers

    When I pick a dandelion puff and blow the seeds into the wind, I feel young and full of laughter again.

    This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,
    This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,
    This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,
    Let it shine, Let it shine, Let it shine.
    ~ Folk Melody

Phlowers – Blooming in the Garden/Late April

There are many beautiful purple-hued flowers blooming in my garden this week. I love the lines on the pansy faces. These markings are called pencilings. They look a bit like the whiskers on a cat’s face to me.

“Nobody can keep on being angry if she looks into the heart of a pansy for a little while.” ~ Lucy Maud Montgomery

The Johnny-Jump-Ups are also part of the viola family. I planted these in the Autumn, they lived through our terrible winter and are growing strong, and as an added bonus self-seeded everywhere.

Perwinkles, also called vinca, are putting on quite a show right now. The color is gorgeous and a favorite shade of mine. I also love this periwinkle quote from one of my favorite books and movies, The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim.

“All down the stone steps on either side were periwinkles in full flower, and she could now see what it was that had caught at her the night before and brushed, wet and scented, across her face. It was wisteria.”~ Elizabeth von Arnim, The Enchanted April

Violets are blooming throughout the yard in both garden and grass. Their fragrance is amazing, their color divine. I think this quote by Mark Twain is a good way to end this Springtime post.

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” ~ Mark Twain

 

Phlowers – Blooming in the Garden/Daffodils

Some think them common ; I think them sublime!

Then my heart with pleasure fills And dances with the daffodils.
~ William Wordsworth

You normally have to be bashed about a bit by life to see the point of daffodils, sunsets and uneventful nice days. ~ Alain de Botton

I have seen the Lady April bringing the daffodils,
Bringing the springing grass and the soft warm April rain. ~ John Masefield

I think if I were living in a utopian world, then it wouldn’t be political commentary; it would be about daffodils. ~ Emily Haines

Awakening Daffodils

Phlowers – Welcome Spring

“God is an artist of Nature;
He paints in colors, so rare,
The bursting bud in the Springtime,
The lovely trees everywhere.”
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham



“Nature’s beautiful dancers — flowers, water, leaves
Dancing to the music of God’s sweet breeze.”
~Terri Guillemets

“Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher.”
~William Wordsworth

Phlowers & Plants – Yellow

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge  for this week is yellow. I love yellow. I plant yellow flowers, wear yellow clothing, and find ways to use yellow in my artwork and projects. For me, yellow signifies joy.

Mint seed head with yellow bumblebee in background
Mint seed head with yellow bumblebee in background

The photo challenge for this week is the word “Local.” The challenge states—

This week, show us where your heart is.

Nasturtium
Nasturtium

My heart is happiest when I am in my home or garden, add my family into the setting, and I will not be able to think of any situation sweeter. Today as I strolled around the yard, camera in hand, searching out bits and pieces of yellow for Cee’s challenge, contentment filled me much the same as the yellow sunshine flooded warmth all about me. Yellow…a perfect celebration color for an Autumn afternoon. Thanks Cee. Your challenge brought me joy today.

Zinnia
Zinnia
Marigold
Marigold
Fallen Oak leaves
Fallen Oak leaves
Gold Marie Vining Bean
Gold Marie Vining Bean

I end this post of yellows with one of my favorite vegetable garden plants – Gold Marie Vining Bean. This luscious bean grew prolifically in my garden this year. I planted the seeds  after the cucumbers bloomed their last in mid-summer. I enjoyed the color and taste of these beautiful beans. Even better, they were easy to grow and needed no help vining around the trellis. These beans and other heirloom vegetables are available at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

P.S. This is not an old photograph, it was taken today. In mid-October the vines are still producing fabulous beans.

Phlowers – Tulips

It’s tulip time at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

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Tulips come in a wide array of colors and dazzle the eye in mass plantings in the Longwood garden beds.

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This bright purple perfectly displays the “Vivid Violet” of today’s Color Your World – 120 Days of Crayola Challenge.

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My favorites are the coral-pink variety.

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They are beautiful planted in abundance, but I prefer to zoom in on a smaller group and enjoy the beauty of the sun’s rays shimmering through each petal.

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Phlowers & Pressed Phlowers – Periwinkle

I’ve begun pressing flowers again now that the weather has warmed and early wildflowers and foliage are emerging.

periwinkle 1

Periwinkle (Vinca minor) are one of the earliest flowers to blossom. An amazing groundcover, the ground vine can also become invasive if left unattended.

perwinkle 2

I pressed these periwinkle blossoms and stems only a few days before taking the photograph. Because I pressed in a hardback book, rubberbanded, and then microwaved, the flowers are ready to be used within a few days. The color of flower petals will usually darken a bit. The periwinkle blue of these flowers darkened to a Purple Mountain’s Majesty hue, a perfect choice for today’s Color Your World/120 Days of Crayola challenge. Always press more flowers than you think you will need to avoid disappointments, not every flower will press without blemish.

Directions for pressing flowers/foliage in a microwave.


When the flowers are dry I remove them from the book I used for heating. If I leave them too long in the original book they could become impossible to remove.

periwinkle 3

As you can see in the photograph, the stem of the periwinkle easily lifts, but the more delicate flower is sticking to the page. I first lift the page and roll it a bit to help loosen the petals.

periwinkle 4

If rolling the page does not totally release the flowers, use a soft bristled paintbrush and gently tease the edges of the petals away from the page.

periwinkle 5

A pressed flower will stand on its own if it is dry enough to use in projects.

Prompt – The Celandine Flow

The flow of celandine 1

When I read today’s Daily Prompt title, “Flow,” I immediately thought of celandine. Also known as the fig buttercup, celandine rivals the common buttercup in the wow power of its brilliant gold petals. Add to that, its propensity to follow the flow of running water, in this instance a creek, and you will find a wildflower that creates a  carpet of gold  to greet the early warmth of March.

the flow of celandine 2

Celandine is considered invasive in some states. It can be toxic to grazing animals. On the other side of the problem of its invasive tendencies, is the ease of gathering and pressing, if you are a presser of flowers and foliage. Celandine retains its gorgeous gold color and presses well for me in traditional methods and in the microwave. Because it is very abundant, I never fear I am taking more than I should. Each year when I return to my favorite gathering places for celandine, I find the flow of flowers has taken over even more of the land.

the flow of celandine 3

The color yellow, at least in the realm of wildflower spunk (I’m thinking dandelions, buttercups and celandine here) usually signals, “Charge!”

Phlowers & Poetry – Daffodils

Today’s Color Your World – 120 Days of Crayola color is Goldenrod. I don’t have any goldenrod flowers on hand, but I do have the promise of daffodils growing in my garden. Yesterday, I walked around the yard and found the promise of Spring in the midst of a nice clump of daffodil leaves.

daffodils

“I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”

~ William Wordsworth

daffodil meadow

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.”

~ William Wordsworth

The entire poem by William Wordsworth can be found here: I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth

daffodils close-up
Daffodil Photographs were taken at Longwood Gardens Conservatory, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

Phlowers & Quotes – Pink Roses/Welcome February

“Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses.”
~Alphonse Karr

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“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature
is that all of us tend to put off living.
We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over
the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are
blooming outside our windows today.”
– Dale Carnegie

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“Loveliest of lovely things are they on earth that soonest pass away. The rose that lives its little hour is prized beyond the sculptured flower.”
~ William C. Bryant

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Vibrant – Roses in February