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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Textures Involving Water

 
These are three pictures from the southern trip, all involving water, that I just like for the "feel." And they are all different.

The first is Cane Creek:

water on rocks

I'm sure you can tell this is just a reflection but I like how it slides from seersucker to shiny.

reflection

This one was pure luck. The backdrop is Shoal Creek, and the camera totally blurred it out to give a soft background to the bare branches.

bare branches

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Oh, Those Common Names

 
One new plant today, and a little discussion. This plant is tiny, but I think it's a little beauty. It's Cumberland or Mercury Spurge, Euphorbia mercurialina, another southern species.

Cumberland spurge

Euphorbias, like this is, are the plants I usually think of as being called spurges. I've shown you a number of succulent ones from the Philadelphia flower show. And there are some that grow wild around here. I haven't done a good job of getting their pictures yet.

But remember yesterday, I said the plant that looks something like an orchid, that Chuck said looks like a maggot tree (it does, too), is called Allegheny spurge. These plants are not related at all.

As it turns out, the word spurge comes from Middle English where it means to purge. The milky sap of many of the plants with that common name is a strong laxative, if not outright poisonous.

Here is one more Euphorbia from the 2009 flower show, that I really loved. Euphorbia x martinii 'Tiny Tim' spurge


This is just a reminder that common names are fine to use, but they can't really tell you about the relationships of plants to one another like the Latin names can.

See Philadelphia Flower Show 2013: Euphorbias
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Monday, April 14, 2014

More White Flowers

 
There is SO much to learn and so many surprises with plants, I just can't get enough of them. But I hope I'm not boring you. I'll group three together today. The only things they have in common is a white blossom, and that they are native to the south.

First let's do a tree. This is the Little Silverbell Tree, as near as I can figure. It's one of the Halesias, but the taxonomy is all goofy as to the genera. So I'm calling it Halesia carolina. It was just calmly doing its blooming thing off the in the woods and no one was paying the least bit of attention to it. But it was beautiful!

photo label

Now, how about a shrub? A tiny shrub, which I guess is now called a sub-shrub. Anyway, you probably know one of its cousins, and if you have a shade garden you may even own some. This is Allegheny spurge. (More on that topic tomorrow). But it's really a Pachysandra. The one that gets planted in gardens is a Japanese Pachysandra. This one is native, Pachysandra procumbens. If you know the garden plant, this one has similar leaves, but the flower of this one is much more striking.

photo label

Finally, a little herbaceous gem. This grows like a weed in the south- just a common plant no one pays any attention to. But it's beautiful. It's called False Garlic, Nothoscordum bivalve. That's a mouthful. I can't seem to find out too much about why it's a false garlic, except that it doesn't smell like garlic or onion, and that may be the only reason. It's a cousin plant, in the same family and subfamily.

photo label

And that's enough for today!

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Carolina Wood Vetch

 
Just one more flower today. This was a new one to me, although it supposedly grows in all of the eastern US, except New England.

I think of vetches as growing in fields and weedy places. This one likes woodlands. In fact, our guide called it Woodland Vetch. It also blooms earlier than others. However, it has a habit of trailing all over everything and will attach itself to anything else, like all its cousins.

Carolina wood vetch

This one has white blossoms. It was a delicate plant, but showed up well against the brown leaves.

Carolina wood vetch

I'll have to watch for it other places, now. The books call it Carolina Wood Vetch, Vicia caroliniana.

See Cow Vetch
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Saturday, April 12, 2014

We Interrupt These Flowers...

 
I was hoping to wake up early enough to spend some outdoor time before the rain started. Nope. Home at 8 am, couldn't get to sleep till 10 and awoke at 2. While I was eating something the rain began. Sometimes hard, sometimes gentler, always steady.

Well, it's spring, right? Rain is good. Glad it wasn't all this hard, though.

rain

The trees are waiting for that sweet juice from heaven. A little warm weather and they will pop their green and white and pink.

rain

My kingdom is soggy today.

rain

But it will make short work of the last of that white stuff out there.

rain

I am soon going back to bed with a book. Palm Sunday tomorrow! And probably back to sharing the southern flowers.

See Cool Rain
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