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Posts Tagged ‘poppies’

For as far back as I can remember, and by some reports farther back than that, I have been a sucker for growing things.

gardener Ellie

That picture was taken when I was three.   We were planting peas and what I was doing was pulling the soil into the furrow.

The story goes that one fine day when I was closing in on my third birthday, it came nigh on to meal time and my mother put out the dinner call.   Needless to say, my one year old brother was johnny on the spot, having been put into his high chair willy nilly.   My older sister showed up fairly promptly, as did my father.   But there was an unoccupied chair at the table, and the question arose:   “Where is Ellie?”

Another call made from the back porch, and again, no response.   A posse was formed and the search for the miscreant began.   It wasn’t long before the forces of the law discovered the fugitive’s whereabouts.   I was crouched at the edge of the bean patch, delightedly engrossed in the show that was going on there.   Urged by the warm Southern California sun, the bean seeds were emerging from the soil, literally popping from the u-shaped form to erect with their little dicotyledons deployed to catch the rays and begin their job of growing.

My mother reports that I was laughing and cheering each victorious seedling, heedless of hunger or parental calls.  After a suitable celebration, we all went inside to eat.

My fascination has not abated.   I still like to watch the beans unfold.   I like to see the plants in my garden thrive.   Today I went out on a safari through my urban jungle to see what was going on.

The poppies are blooming in the stroll garden.

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Personally, I think they bear a closer look.

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I proceeded out to the pond to see if I could spy a dragon fly.   They were still asleep, it being quite early in cloudy and cool morning.   The water lilies were not open yet either, but there was a pond denizen in evidence.

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Out there is where the pipe vine grows.   I planted it as a food supply for  the pipevine swallowtail, in the fond hope that one would happen upon it and start a colony, but so far they have not shown up.  I may be located too far from their usual habitat.   But I love the vine anyway.   Right now it is covered with little “dutchmen’s pipes”.

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You might wonder why I entitled this post “Hosta love” since I haven’t mentioned them yet.   Well, I’m getting there.   Just be patient.

I have quite the collection of hostas.   They are actually fairly trouble free plants, and the huge variety of color and form make them a wonderful thing to fill dark corners.  I started out with just a few varieties in a garden on the north side of the house.  In addition to hostas, this garden contains hellebores, a couple of bleeding hearts and sundry filler plants.

This beauty is located there, and she is the perfect exemplar of what I love about the genus.

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Here is a broad shot of the area I call the Hosta Dell, that gives you an idea of what a beautiful garden you can create using hostas as the main focus.

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That is where you can find this variety.

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And this one too.   It may be the star of the show, but the two Heucheras behind it make a pretty fine back up section.

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I am very sorry to report that I have neglected to mark and remember all the varietal names of the hostas I own.   I started out with good intentions, but I was derailed by certain events that I had no control over, namely the blue jays’ penchant for stealing plant tags for nest material.  I always have good intentions of making maps with labeled plant locations, but then I move a plant or one dies and gets replaced (or not), and the mapping falls by the wayside, so to speak.  So I really couldn’t tell you these particular lovlies actual names.   Sorry.

Of course, all is not perfection in the gardens of The Havens.   I have a rose I need to move off the root cellar so that we can cover the area with more dirt in preparation for the solar panel installation.   The garden I wish to transplant the rose into was choked with weeds yesterday.   I have it 80% cleaned out, but the north end of the Hosta Dell is sadly in need of attention too.

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I guess I’d better stop procrastinating and get out there and get to work!

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The stroll garden is looking fantastic right now.  That’s the small prairie with the barn behind.

The poppies are blooming.

So are the campanula.   I have two kinds intermingling.   They make wonderful bouquets that last well in the vase.

The swamp milkweed is out now, and the honeybees have found it.   They are also really interested in the lamb’s ears right now, which are producing pollen for feeding the young brood.   The colonies are both growing nicely.

Up close and personal with a poppy —

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Well, Jim has started his new job at the Commissary for real now, training is over.   They assigned him to the Produce Department, which really is a very good fit for his skills and expertise.   And it is also more interesting than running a register.  It is truly amazing how much business goes through that store.   He told me last night that they regularly sell $9000 worth of produce EVERY DAY.   That is a heck of a lot of lettuce.

The irony of working for the gummint is that you start off and you work and you work and you work and then after two pay periods you actually get paid.   So we haven’t actually seen any money from this.  But the good thing is, we know we will.

I still remember when I worked for a certain person (who shall remain nameless), and when her employees got paid we basically raced each other to the bank because the last one there usually had a rubber check in her hand.  She always blamed the bank, but in my experience the bank is usually not the one at fault in these sorts of cases, especially since it happened EVERY week.   But I digress.

This job has caused a huge shift in our lifestyle, which is particularly ironic because not two weeks ago I made a statement elsewhere in the blogosphere about how hard it was for me to get up early so I could catch the dawn light for photography in the garden.   All I can say is, the Universe is always listening, so be careful what you ask for.   Jim has been put on the morning shift, and so four days a week he is expected to be AT WORK at six ante meridian, which no matter how you write it is pretty early for people who have had the habit of staying up ’til midnight every night for the past decade or so.  Since he does have a bit of a commute to work, and he also likes to have coffee before he goes off, we are getting up at 4:30 a.m.  I fully realize that he is capable of getting himself off to work all by himself, but we have always been a team and so I have been getting up right along with him.

I have been enjoying the early mornings in the garden.   Since it has been heating up into the 90s by mid-day on a regular basis lately, the cool of the morning has been very pleasant for working in.  There are other advantages as well.

I have been able to capture a few dawn-lit images out in the garden that please me.   I have a squash blossom, the first one on my zucchini plants.

Sharing her pot is a scarlet runner bean vine.

Hollyhocks and day lilies open early in the morning.

This is my borage blooming.

Not that long ago, some other blogger was talking about how much her bees loved her borage, that they swarm all over it.   Well, my bees have something more compelling to avail themselves of at present, and are studiously ignoring the borage in favor of the poppies.  There is a tachnid fly in there in the first photo, too.

Now, those poppies are Papaver somniferum. I find it interesting that as long as I don’t go out there and slice the seed pods for resin production, it is legal for me to grow these poppies in this country.   I guess the poppy seed producers had better lobbyists than the hemp fiber producers.

My honey bees are very enamored of the poppies, they wallow around in them all morning.   They have a distinctly different aspect when they are dealing with poppy nectar than they do when they are dealing with other nectars, say like the asparagus (which they also love), or the lavender, or the clover.   When they are at those flowers, they view me with grave suspicion and studiously move away from my photographic efforts, frustrating me no end.   But when they are indulging at the poppies, they don’t seem to care and I can get the camera right up there next to them.

We had a wild swarm of honeybees move into “The Havens” about six weeks ago.   We have a flicker nest box that the flickers eschewed, and when the starlings started using it, Jim blocked their access by nailing a couple of slats over the next box opening.   He didn’t take it down, hoping that the hollow behind the slats would induce the wood pecker types to pound their way in.   No such luck.   Then a swarm of honeybees moved in and so we decided that was cool and they could have the box for their very own.

There is enough of a gap that the bees seem to think this box is just the ticket.  Here’s a closer view of them going in and out busily this morning.

I hope this hive does better than the last group who moved into this box, which was about three years ago.   They did not make it through the winter.  It was the year of the ice storm, so they may have suffocated when the box was encased in ice.   Anyway, I wish we had a proper hive for them to live in, but this wild swarm seems to think that the accommodations are just fine.

And I am happy to have honeybees pollinating everything.   I am rather curious about the honey they are producing.   First they collected from the lavender, then from the poppies.   They are also loving the asclepius, and all I can think is that this must be a quite interestingly composed honey.    Relaxing. . .

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The poppies are blooming, and the bees think it is terribly exciting.

The Hosta Dell.

Echinacea, liatris, coreopsis in the Rain Garden.

Black eyed susan and skullcap in the Petite Prairie.

Oriental lilies, asiatic lilies, orienpet lilies, day lilies in the Front Garden.

Baby robins in the Marechal foch row of grapes in the vineyard.

Little green apples — golden delicious.

Water lily on the pond.

Have a beautiful day.

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