Sunday, June 13, 2021

Cowboy's Delight, Scarlet Globemallow, Sphaeralcea coccinea

Across the West, a spot of bright orange--it's cowboy's delight, copper mallow, scarlet globemallow, Sphaeralcea coccinea:
scarlet globemallow. Sphaeralcea coccinea

This is a plant of disturbed sites but not much of a weed. It can be common along trails and by parking lots. Its range goes from the Great Plains west to the Pacific. 

scarlet globemallow. Sphaeralcea coccinea

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Scenic Plants

The idea for today's blog was to share photos of plants in dramatic landscapes across the world. I have thousands of photos, but very few are a scenic shot featuring a small plant. Some of that is the problem of focus: either the foreground or the background is in focus. Some is that I never thought to take such pictures. I will try in the future. But, enjoy these: 

A field of mustards in bloom in central Tokyo (likely Brassica rapa planted by the park): 

Mustards in flower in Tokyo

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Plant Story--Cutleaf Vipergrass, Black Salsify, Scorzonera laciniata

Right now, in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico, cutleaf vipergrass (Scorzonera laciniata) is flowering. 

cutleaf vipergrass, Scorzonera laciniata
cutleaf vipergrass, black salsify, false salsify Scorzonera laciniata

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Grass Lawns and Lawn Weeds

My yard has very little lawn, meaning areas with a monoculture of grass. Northern Colorado is too dry for standard varieties of Kentucky bluegrass, so having extensive grass wasn't water-efficient, and when we moved here, I was very conscious of the low rainfall of the region. Secondly, the need to keep a grass lawn mowed meant that the shaggy lawn would signal that we were away, back when we took extended trips. Third, my husband, the chief lawn-mower, didn't enjoy the activity. 

lawn of thyme
Thyme lawn

So I eliminated grass in the front, putting in instead shrubs and perennial herbs. We kept some bluegrass lawn in the back, for playing frisbee, mainly, and the occassional lawn party.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Big Bright Tropical Vines

We had a blast of sleet and cold rain and now a forecast for rain and cool all week. So I'm posting pictures of tropical vines in flower. All year round, you can visit the tropics and see flowers. Not all these vines bloom year round, but when you see them, wow!

red jade vine
red jade vine, Mucuna bennettii 

They are more wonderful in real life, with texture and scent, but I can only share photos today, so: enjoy. 

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Plant Story--Ground Ivy, Creeping Charlie, Glechoma hederacea

Ground ivy, Glechoma hederacea, is a plant of many common names, reflecting that it is very widespread and not very distinctive. Common names beyond ground ivy include creeping Charlie, alehoof, cat's foot, creeping Jenny, field balm, gill-over-the-ground, hay maids, hedge maids, robin-run-in-the-hedge, runaway robin, tunhoof, and variations on those. 

Ground ivy, Glechoma hederacea,
Ground ivy, creeping Charlie, Glechoma hederacea,

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Plant Story--Sweet Alyssum, Lobularia maritima

Sweet alyssum is a pretty plant with white to purple flowers, frequently planted in gardens. 

sweet alyssum, Lobularia maritima
sweet alyssum, Lobularia maritima

It is in the mustard and cabbage family, Brassicaceae, and has the typical simple, cross-shaped flowers. The scientific name is Lobularia maritimaLobularia from the Latin lobulus, a small pod, and maritima means of the sea, as in maritime. It is native to southern Europe and into west Asia. In places without a winter, it may be perennial, but across North America it is grown as an annual. Seed it in just before the end of spring frosts. Sweet alyssum isn't picky about soil, water, or exposure, (though it doesn't grow well in deep shade or soggy soil), making it very easy to grow. It flowers quickly, will continue to flower all summer, and has a lovely fragrance (if you get your nose down close to the flowers). Under many conditions sweet alyssum will self-sow, scattering seeds that produce plants in subsequent years.