Thursday, September 8, 2011

August Part II - Flowers


One of my favorite flowers, next to the daffodil and the zinnea, is the angel trumpet (Datura). Datura is a large, showy plant with huge blossoms, about  4-5 inches across. I purchased the [what I thought was way too expensive] seed from Burpees one year and not one germinated. This year I found a nursery that had the plants started, so I purchased two 5" tall plants and set them out after June 1. With lots of water, warm temperatures, and full sun, they grew like crazy. Later on they developed seed pods, but before I could catch them, a few had burst open and the seed fell on the soil in the pot.

 The Tough, Prickly Seed Pods of the Datura

I was advised to put a nylon stocking around a few of the remaining pods so they would burst into the stocking, catching the seeds.  I had one pair of pantyhose to my name, so I cut them up and wrapped sections of stocking around six seed pods. I waited forever for them to burst, but none did. I finally got tired of watching the other smaller pods pop open and drop seed on the ground. So I cut the stockinged ? pods off, took them into the house, and put them in a box. One by one, they ripened and popped open.

 Burst seed pod

 Clover Blossom

I wanted this photo for my 'Clover Blossom' soap!

Clover blossoms - a common sight in days past, when people raised hay (a mixture  of timothy, clover, alfalfa, etc.) for their cows. Now that every field around here seems to be planted to corn or soybeans, I only see clover at the edges of what were once hay fields. When we were kids, we used to pull the clover blossom petals out and suck the nectar from the ends of the blossom. (We also built forts and camping sites, floated rafts in the creek, and climbed trees for recreation. You can tell this was in the days before the PC and video games...which reminds me, I rarely see kids outdoors playing anymore, which I think is a very sad thing.)

 The Butterfly Bush

When I checked on this plant last week, there were several caterpillars busily chewing their way to a bigger self, ready to form a chrysalis. Now most of those caterpillars are gone. Where did they go?? I looked all around the vicinity and could find no chrysalis(es)?? hanging anywhere. When the kids were little we captured a few monarch caterpillars, fed them milkweed, and kept them until they formed their chrysalis(es), then hung them out on the eaves of the house until they hatched, dried their wings, and flew away. 

 The Pink Zinnea, August 2011

These zinneas are so different from the ones I've raised before. The petals are not as rounded. I like this look, ragged and stunningly beautiful!

 See the difference?
2010 zinnea

 Reclaiming the Flowerbed North of the House

For a few years, this flowerbed had been nothing but a big weed patch. With the vegetable garden and the pond garden, this one just got away from me. I hated even looking at it. BUT, RoundUp became my new best friend early in the spring when I went through that flowerbed and killed huge areas of weeds. At last my plants were freed to live, grow, thrive. And they did. Left to right: Red salvia, purple asters, patchouli, echinacea.

 In the Pond Garden: A few Echinacea and Rudbekia, which has pretty much taken over everything in late summer. Where did I put that RoundUp?

My favorite orange zinnea, after a morning rain.

I am in the middle of making applesauce, so I better get back to the kitchen. I'm hoping to get 20 pints out of this batch (if I don't scorch it!)



Candace said...

So beautiful! I love the droplets on the datura and the orange zinnia, which is my very favorite, btw. Have a wonderful day!

Diana Ferguson said...

Beautiful pics!!! How did that applesauce turn out?

Bethany Nash said...

I looked it up. There are two acceptable pluralizations of chrysalis: chrysalises and chrysalides (chri-SAL-uh-deez). I would guess that chrysalides is the older of the two.

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

Beautiful flowers!! I love the datura bloom, so graceful and elegant. Wonder if they'd grow here...hmm :)

Carla from The River said...

Atticus planted Zinnias this year too. They are beautiful and he is proud of them.
I love the orange photo.

Empty Nester said...

Such a lovely visit in your yard! My grandmothers would both have loved your flowers! As do I! Hope the applesauce didn't scorch!

Heide at ApronHistory said...

Isn't there something cheerful about Zinnias? We have always grown them in our garden as long as I can remember.
I don't think I have ever seen a Datura. What an interesting plant.

Debra Hawkins said...

What beautiful flowers and photographs. I wish I was there to see them, I have never even seen some of these types of flowers before and they are beautiful!

Mama Hen said...

Gorgeous! Great pictures! I hope you are doing well my friend. have a great day!

Mama Hen

Rachel said...

The Datura might be my favorite!! It's so beautiful!! So, how do you make homemade applesauce (not sure if I'm brave enough to make it myself, but I'm curious!!) :)


Judy S. said...

Hi Judy,
Nice photos of your flowers. I've always admired the Datura but have also wondered about having it around with kids and animals because it's supposed to be very poisonous. Have you read anything about that? Love those dahlias! I was laughing this morning because the garden columnist responded to a tomato question by telling the person," Your first mistake was to live in Western Washington." That should ruffle a few feathers.....

Elizabeth said...

If you like the flowers that grow from those sticky seed pods but you're having to pay for the seeds/plants - DON'T! I have one plant that has produced about 17 million seeds. I'll send you an envelope full. Here in TX, mine grow like weeds. They seem to love the heat (silly!).

Let me know at
if you want some

Cranberry Morning said...

I grow the Datura as an annual. It's not hardy to this climate, so I would imagine it would grow almost anywhere unless you never get sunshine.

I've read that the Datura's (angel trumpet)leaves are hallucinagenic (sp?), so I do keep the plant behind other plants where dogs and kids don't go. If I had kids around regularly, I'd probably fence it in with a cylinder made of chicken wire. It's worth going to the trouble, for the foliage and the blossom are beautiful!

Thanks, Elizabeth, but I did get many seeds from the seed pods this year. Funny that it's like a weed in Texas. My pond plants are imported from the South where they're considered weeds...but I have to pay money to get them! :-)

Anonymous said...

that orange zinnea almost looks like it glows from within! Beautiful!

Also, I've never seen a Datura. It's lovely. And I'm glad you captured the seed pods opened-that is quite a shot! Hope the applesauce turned out well. :)

Katie said...

I'm such a novice and am inspired by your flowers. Love that Butterfly bush and Clover Blossom. I also have apples to make into applesauce soon!


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