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Posts Tagged ‘names of flowers’

The Ant & The Peony, a garden haiku, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2009, all photos © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

benevolent myth
growing in gardens worldwide
do ants open buds?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Do Ants Open Peonies?, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2009, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

When the peonies on the side of our house start to bud in June, lines of ants quickly follow. Until a moment ago, I believed that ants licked the sugar off the peonies, helping their transition from bud to bloom. Turns out that’s a myth. According to Robert F. Gabella at GardenOpus, the ants’ annual ritual of  “tickling of the buds” occurs because they are attracted to the sweet resin on the peonies; the buds would open regardless of the ants.

Of course, it’s more fun to bury my head in the compost and keep believing that the ant has a reciprocal and benevolent relationship to the peony, much like the mythology surrounding the ant and the grasshopper — (for more detail, see ybonesy’s post The Ant & The Grasshopper – Ann Patchett & Lucy Grealy). For me, the myth is more delicious than the truth; perhaps the ant wants to keep its little secret.

 
 

Do Ants Open Peonies?, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2009, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 
 

A few other Fun Facts about peonies:

 
 
 
 

  • they may not flower until after the first season
  • established peonies can be heavy feeders
  • peonies are especially needy of potassium (essential for stem strength and disease resistance)
  • herbaceous peonies are known to remain in the same position, undisturbed, for over a century
  • after cutting, you can remove ants from peonies by using a mild soap spray or dish detergent (from The Old Farmer’s Almanac)
  • ants do provide protection–they attack other bud-eating pests by stinging, biting, or spraying them with acid and tossing them off the plant (also from The Old Farmer’s Almanac)

 
 
If you are like me, you spend a lot of time digging in the dirt and constantly have questions about plants and gardening solutions. Do you know the names of your flowers? Maybe you have trouble with groundhogs or slugs, or need advice about seed startingpassion flowers, or orchids. You can read more tips from award-winning horticulturist, hybridist, photographer and author Robert F. Gabella at GardenOpus (also found on Twitter!)

 

-posted on red Ravine, Thursday, June 18th, 2009

-related to posts: haiku 2 (one-a-day), Ghost With A Green Thumb, PRACTICE: Digging in the Dirt – 10min

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Bloom On The Prickly Pear, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Bloom On The Prickly Pear, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

mothers past, present
holding up the other half
of a timeless sky

 

 

 

 

 

Prickly Pear Buds, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.           Bees On The Prickly Pear, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.           Before The Bloom, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Prickly Pear Buds, Bees On The Prickly Pear, Before The Bloom, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 

 

Post Script: Happy Mother’s Day and much gratitude to ybonesy, Amelia (I miss you!), oliverowl, gritsinpa, ybonesy’s Mom, Jim’s Mom, red Ravine readers who are Mothers, and all the other Mothers who show up and make a difference in the world. May your Spring day be filled with passion and wonder.

 

-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, May 10th, 2009

-related to posts:  WRITING TOPIC — NAMES OF FLOWERS, day after mother’s day haiku, haiku 2 (one-a-day)

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No bunnies in the garden, Easter bunny statue
after a visit by the ghost, April 2009, photo ©
2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.



On Easter Sunday night, the night Patty came over with my ugly rabbit in tow, the ghost was active. We sat in the great room, exhausted but satisfied. The party had been a success. The house was clean (we vacuumed up edible Easter basket grass from all corners of the playroom), ham was in the fridge, the dishes done. Patty, Jim, and I stared at my ugly Easter bunny — Patty found it at Marshall’s — and laughed. It stood two feet tall on hind legs. Other than the basket it carried in its paws, the rabbit was meant to be realistic, not a cartoon bunny. It was painted khaki tan.

When the gate outside the window snapped closed, Jim glanced my way. “What?” I said, knowing exactly why he looked at me. He told Patty that it was the ghost. Like Jim, Patty has a sixth sense. Jim told her that the ghost was matriarchal, that she had been a gardener and wanted the place to be looked after.

Patty looked out into the darkness. It was late. She got up to leave. I walked her to the front door as Jim took my ugly bunny out to the back patio.


The first year we lived here the ghost was most active in the master bathroom. She flushed the toilet at random, sometimes several times a night. One time she bumped me as I leaned over the sink brushing my teeth. Jim had also felt her presence, even seen her—not her face but the old-fashioned fabric of her dress—in the laundry room. I pictured her to be matronly, gray hair in a bun, benevolent but stern like an elderly woman in a Mary Cassatt painting.

But lately she’s been out by the side gate, along a brick path leading from the front porch to the rose garden in the back. That’s where the greenhouse is, too. Jim is convinced she wants to see us using the greenhouse. He thinks my recent project revitalizing the rose garden is especially making her happy.

It is a sweet spot. An old apple tree anchors it, hanging like a weeping willow over the large plot. In the dirt are the graves of two dogs, an entire sprinkler system that no longer works, and several round stepping stones that were (until we uncovered them) buried under debris. The only living remnants of a thriving garden, besides the apple tree, are the several rose bushes, one taller than me by a couple of feet. I’ve told Jim, “Someone once loved this space.”

It must have been lush at one time.




Easter bunny in front of the garden, April 2009, photo © 2009 by ybonesy, all rights reserved




Day after Easter we wake to rain. It’s come down all night, gentle but steady. I stay in bed; I worked hard getting ready for the party, getting ready for spring, getting that special garden into shape for the first round of perennials I planned to plant there soon. Em runs into the bedroom.

“Mom, did you paint the rabbit?”

I’m not sure if I heard her right and if I did, what in the world was she talking about?

“What?”

“Did you paint the rabbit??”

Paint the rabbit? I turn it over in my head. What rabbit?

Jim comes in behind Em. “Roma, the rabbit has green splotches on it.”

Green splotches!?

I get up, trudge to the windows looking out over the wet patio. There the ugly rabbit stands on hind legs. He is khaki tan, yes, but now he has big army green splotches all over him.

“Were they there before?” Jim asks, mostly to the universe. We wrack our brains. I don’t remember them. Em doesn’t remember them.

I call Patty. “Patty, our rabbit has green spots. Big green spots. Did it have green spots last night?”

“No,” she says, laughing.

“Are you sure?”

“I drove around with that rabbit in the back seat for weeks; of course I’m sure. It did not have green spots!”

We develop our theories: water-activated paint, all of us were just too tired to see the splotches, or the ghost has a sense of humor.


Two weekends have passed since Easter. I’ve managed to get more than 40 plants into the flower garden. Two mums, four hollyhocks, three clumps of daisy. I planted the Easter lillies we got as gifts for hosting the Easter celebration. Under the rose bushes I put leafy coral bells, the color of ruddy cheeks, as ground cover.

A patch of columbines sit in the shade of the apple tree, penstemons in full sun, flowering woodruff, soapwort, salvia, coleus for the exotic red-green foliage, evening primrose, Icelandic poppies, a bleeding heart bush. Near the brilliant violet of a plant whose name I’ve forgotten, I seed small marigolds. I can just imagine the bright orange-yellow against the purple in summer. Because I know Jim loves herbs, I plant a large oregano in the corner closest to the back door, and I leave room for the chives he bought at Grower’s Market.

Jim remarks that she’s happy to see the garden take shape. I have noticed less of her. The last time I felt her presence was one morning early in the week after Easter; I went outside, not a breeze in the air, and the gate swung slowly closed. It dawns on me that I had been schooling our pug, Sony, to use the garden as her potty area. Nowadays my refrain to Sony is, “Out of the garden, out of the garden.”

The ghost is happy.

Jim is comfortable with her presence; me, less so. I don’t much like the idea of just letting a ghost be. At one point I suggested that we invite a friend of a friend, a ghost whisperer, to come and at least make contact with her, see why she’s here. Jim looked at me askew. “You’re not going to pay for him to do it, are you?” I know what he was thinking: I know why she’s here.

And the truth of the matter is that I trust his instincts. I can sense that she’s found some peace of late. Or maybe it’s me, finally digging my hands into the earth, taking the patch of land into my care. A few days ago I moved one of the mums from the spot I first planted it. Too crowded into the rose bushes and the flowering woodruff at their base. I planted it in a roomier spot, in full sun.

Mums are an old-fashioned plant, hardy like dahlias and zinnias, a flower I associate with ancestors from a long-ago past. I have a feeling she likes them.





Image, I noticed the image of a face in this photo that Jim took of an ice crack over a hole, photo © 2007-2009 by Jim, all rights reserved   Image, I noticed the image of a face in this photo that Jim took of an ice crack over a hole, photo © 2007-2009 by Jim, all rights reserved
Image, I noticed the image of a face in this photo that Jim took of an ice crack over a hole, photo © 2007-2009 by Jim. All rights reserved.




Postscript: I wrote this as a Writing Practice (later edited) Monday night on the plane ride from Albuquerque to Portland. I was looking through pictures stored on my computer when I noticed the above photo that Jim took two winters ago. It is a shot of an ice crack over a hole. Suddenly the image of a face jumped out at me. It’s a benevolent face, like a young Madonna or the Christ child.

I marveled at Jim’s gift, how he can commune with hummingbirds (they’re back, by the way; just showed up this week) and the ghost of a former matron of the house. Patty says Jim is an innocent, that he has a clear channel to things the rest of us don’t.

This photo made me realize that the ghost is OK. As Jim said when I brought up the notion of inviting over the guy who talks to ghosts, “Not everything has to change. Some things are fine just the way they are.”

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Window Geranium, looking inside the potting shed window at a geranium stored there until winter’s last frost, photo © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.










one morning in march
nose pressed against the window
i spy spring’s arrival













-related to posts WRITING TOPIC – WINDOW, haiku 2 (one-a-day), late winter haiku, and WRITING TOPIC – NAMES OF FLOWERS

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Passion Flower, Augusta, Georgia, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Passion Flower, (Passiflora Incense), Augusta, Georgia, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.








raw beauty rises
from pine needles and sandspurs
ground dry as a bone



purple passion blooms
not a flower but a vine
wilting Georgia heat


veined leaves swallow sun
digest light into flowers
one day of glory








Life Blood (Of The Passion Flower), Augusta, Georgia, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Not A Flower But A Vine, Augusta, Georgia, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Not A Flower But A Vine, Augusta, Georgia, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Life Blood (Of The Passion Flower), Not A Flower But A Vine, Augusta, Georgia, July 2008, all photos © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



Post Script:  I feel fortunate to have gotten these shots last week. I had never seen a Passion Flower up close; I found out later that many species only bloom one day a year (much like the Prickly Pear cactus). If Mom had not turned her head out the car window that day, I would have lived another year without experiencing this beautful flower in the flesh.

I am grateful that Mom knows her flowers. (Thank you, Mom. Oh, and Happy Birthday, Sis and Uncle B.!) Here are some other secrets of the Passiflora from different sites (the Wikipedia entry is excellent with photographs of many of the different species):


  • ABOUT THE PASSIFLORA:  9 species of Passion Flower (out of about 500) are native to the United States, found from Ohio to the north, west to California and south to the Florida Keys. Most are vines, some are shrubs, a few species are herbaceous. The fruit of the passiflora plant is called passionfruit. The bracts are covered by hairs which exude a sticky fluid that sticks to insects. Studies have suggested this might be an adaptation similar to carnivorous plants.
  • ONE DAY:  In Victorian times the flower (which in all but a few species lasts only one day) was very popular and many hybrids were created.
  • HERBAL REMEDIES:  The leaves and roots have a long history of use among Native Americans in North America. Passiflora edulis and a few other species are used in Central and South America. The fresh or dried leaves are used to make an infusion, a tea that is used to treat insomnia, hysteria, and epilepsy, and is also valued for its painkilling properties. Some contain beta-carboline harmala alkaloids which are MAOIs with anti-depressant properties.
  • POLLINATION:  Decorative passifloras have a unique flower structure, which requires a large bee to effectively pollinate. In the American tropics, wooden beams are mounted very near passionfruit plantings to encourage Carpenter bees to nest. Some species can be pollinated by hummingbirds, bumble bees, wasps; others are self-pollinating.
  • WHAT’S IN A NAME?  Passion Flower does not refer to love, but to the Christian theological icon of the passion of Christ on the cross. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Spanish Christian missionaries discovered this flower and adopted its unique physical structures as symbols of Crucifixion. The radial filaments which can number more than a hundred and vary from flower to flower represent the Crown of Thorns. The 10 petals and sepals represent the 10 faithful apostles. The top 3 stigmata represent the 3 nails and the lower 5 anthers represent the 5 wounds.
  • KNOWN ACROSS THE WORLD:  In Spain, Passiflora is known as Espina de Cristo (Christ’s Thorn). In Germany it was once known as Muttergottes-Schuzchen (Mother-of-God’s Star). In Israel they are referred to as clock-flower (שעונית). In Japan, they are known as clock plant (時計草 tokeisō). In North America they are also called the Maypop, the water lemon, and the wild apricot (after its fruit). Native Americans in the Tennessee area called it ocoee, and the Ocoee River and valley are named after it.



-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, August 10th, 2008

-related to posts: WRITING TOPIC – NAMES OF FLOWERS, PRACTICE – Summer – 20minhaiku (one-a-day)

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Naked at Birth, Aunt Olivia’s poppy in Taos before blooming,
photos of flowers © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.




Early in his book Seeds from a Birch Tree: Writing Haiku and the Spiritual Journey, Clark Strand laments that we Americans have lost the vital connection to nature that haiku requires. This essential something is “the sketch from life.” Just as the landscape painter draws what he sees outdoors, the sketch from life is a way for writers to see nature as if for the first time.

In America, as we come to the end of the 20th century, it is questionable whether we ever really see nature at all. Most of us live our lives behind walls. We drive nearly everywhere we go. We work in temperature-controlled environments. When snow falls, we salt our driveways to melt it right away. Few if any of us know the names of more than twenty birds or flowers.

Did you catch the last sentence? Few if any of us know the names of more than twenty birds or flowers.

Because we have lost our connection to nature, Strand goes on to say, modern people carry a feeling of loss. We carry a unique sadness, which may account for why many of us feel that our lives have lost meaning.




                 poppy                                columbine

 




Morning glory!
Another thing
I will never know

~Basho





              wild rose                                geranium

 


 

Few if any of us know the names of more than twenty birds or flowers.

It’s a simple thing, being able to name flowers. Yet, it’s true — many of us don’t know the names of even the flowers that grow in our own yards, much less the bigger world around us.

Let me show you. Here are the flower names I know:

rose, hollyhock, lilac, delphinium, larkspur, columbine, iris, lily, geranium, pansy, petunia, zinnia, marigold, cosmos, dahlia, snapdragon, sweet william, sweet pea, morning glory, bird of paradise, daisy, sunflower, lavendar, flax, poppy, porchulaca, gladiolus, tulip, daffodil, cornflower, mum, mexican primrose, datura, statice, bachelor button, black-eyed susan, carnation, hyacinth, yarrow, lambs ear, aster, poinsettia…

Ah, that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Still, do you have any idea how many flower names I don’t know? Hundreds? No, thousands. Botanists estimate there are more than 240,000 flowering plants in the world!



  


Natalie Goldberg, in her book Old Friend from Far Away, offers these suggestions, among many, for writing memoir:

  • Use your senses.
  • Get concrete.
  • Stay detailed.


These recommendations are related to being connected to nature, to knowing the names of flowers and birds. Open your eyes. Carry with you on nature walks a book of flowers that grow in your part of the world, and when you come upon a blossom you don’t know, look up its name.

Summer is one of the best times to learn the names of flowers. Just the basics. Great if you can distinguish between a California poppy and an Oriental one, but isn’t it enough to know a poppy from a primrose? And how much more rich my writing if I can paint a picture of the decades-old potted geraniums, ancient and spidery, versus just talking about the potted plants my mother-in-law tends.

So do this: walk around your yard or down the road, to a place where flowers are in bloom. Which ones do you know? Look at the ones you don’t know. Consult your book to see what they’re called.

Come back and write about flowers. Use their names. Or, if you prefer, pick a flower you knew by name and write only about that one.

Walk, observe, write. For fifteen minutes. Prose or haiku.

When you’re done with this Writing Practice, keep on learning the names of those flowers. Your writing will blossom.



Cornflower Blue, wild cornflower blooming on Morada Lane,
photo © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.



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