susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Alluring Artichokes

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After our share of thistle hearts (in case you didn’t already know, artichokes are in the thistle family), I let the last few buds go to flower.
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This was not the only bee allowed a last fling before I cut the flowers.
If you get a chance to feel them, fresh artichoke flower tops are very soft.
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Copy of DSCN3475A dried artichoke flower from last year is on the left and a fresh cut flower on the right.  Not only the color of the new flower base (it is green), but its shape reveal the difference in age of the two.  As water evaporates, the bud will shrink and lose weight quite a bit.

These flowers are standing in a Goddess Vase that I made.
I love to play/work in the mud – clay and flowers both live in dirt.

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One of the coolest things about artichokes, is that the mother plant that yielded delicious eating chokes and pretty flowers for drying, makes baby plants before it dies.
There are two artichoke plants coming from the ground, in the photo above.  On the left side is new growth with the mother plant’s leaves turning  yellow on the right side.


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Green Flowers?!

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From what I can determine this specimen is in the papyrus family.
It does re-seed itself, but not on an invasive level.  This medium-small plant can take lots of sun, looks unusual in the garden and I like it!
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On the other hand, this plant has shown itself to be invasive.
My plan this year, is to prune off all the ‘flowers’ so it cannot reseed itself.
I believe it is a sea holly, but, to me, it resembles a thistle.
On a positive note, the deer are not remotely interested in this greenery.


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Wildflowers from Death Valley to Big Pine, CA

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What a drive we took from Death Valley over the mountains to Big Pine in California.  Not a direct path, as there are no roads “as the crow flies”.  A very circuitous route:  northeast, north, west, then southwest.  Over 3 mountain passes that were higher than one mile in elevation.  We saw so many wildflowers on this drive, I was amazed.  It is a function of sun exposure, moisture, elevation and just plain luck.  Try as one may to plan ahead, I have learned that wildflowers will bloom in a certain order, but the date is entirely dependent on the weather.

I do not know the names of all of the flowers, but I do recognize some.  The white flower here is a thistle, as I know those leaves.  Such a pretty flower on such an obnoxious plant.  Sorry to be so judgmental!

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These blue flowers are lupines.  They will bloom all summer in various colors, at home, but this must be a wild, mountain cultivar.


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Artichoke Flower

Artichoke flower on plantArtichoke flower in Turtle Vase

These are really quite stunning flowers, and as an added bonus they keep beautifully if dried.  Camaroon is a cousin of the artichoke that is grown for its flowers rather than the edible thistle bud.  The camaroon can get quite tall, easily 5 or 6 feet high.

I like to let some artichoke buds mature and flower, rather than harvest them all earlier in the growth stage, for eating.   Since my artichoke vegies do not grow especially large, I get tired of the ‘labor-intensive’ process to eat the small bites of the tender heart. 

Pictured is an artichoke flower in a porcelain Turtle Vase, made by yours truly.