Sunday, April 25, 2010

Passion flowers!

passion flower
Originally uploaded by odoublegood.
This image is rather impressionistic (meaning "blurry"), since I stood too close to the flower for my toy camera. One passion vine has never produced any flowers at all until today, and at the other location we've seen no flowers for at least three years. We were inspired to buy the seeds one year after seeing a spectacular display outdoors at McPhail's Florist on Barton. In other yarden news, we actually caught a flower thief in the act. That was Friday at suppertime. "But I thought they were wildflowers." "But I needed them to for a birthday." "I didn't think they belonged to anybody." "Nobody else wanted to pick them or they wouldn't be here." "This isn't theft, because they're not worth anything." As is usually the case, some plants were uprooted during the course of the theft, many stems were broken or bent, and some plants were trampled. There was a vehicle waiting a block away. What I retrieved, we took indoors and placed in water, but some of these flowers don't take well to being cut, and we prefer to enjoy them where they bloom.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Just like my pen, only not quite

The above provides a comparison between a printed image of a pen (in an illustration appearing in last Sunday's NYT magazine) and a scan of an actual pen in my possession, a pen used for decades and decades by a member of my family, and then for quite some time by me. The pen in the picture appears to be "golden pearl," while the actual pen scanned for the image is "azure pearl." These are Parker Vacumatic pens. The blue striated lacquer pen was a gift, one given when these pens were new, in 1940. The arrow on the clip is handsome, and so is the arrow inscribed on the nib. This pen is small and finely balanced in the hand. This is a better picture of an azure blue pearl pen than my scan. Pens were very far from being disposable items when this one was new, and for a very long time thereafter.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

New arrivals in the pleasure grounds

We hear warblers every morning, but so far we've caught a good glimpse of only one: a yellow warbler shooting across a small open space. Very much to our surprise, this morning we found bud stalks on many amaryllis plants (hippeastrum), some in pots and some in the ground. Coreopsis is now in bloom, and so is a mauve poppy opening from large buds on very tall plants with light silver-green and very serrated leaves. These came from seed and this is the first year we have planted them, whatever they are. I think they've been returning for several years in a yard farther up the hill. There's a departure to be recorded: someone dug up one of the clumps of red A&M bluebonnets. Two kinds of nasturtiums are blooming in pots; one is plain orange and one is a creamy pale yellow with red-brown streaks at the throat. We think these are from a Fordhook mix from Burpee. Johnny jump-up volunteers continue to appear and bloom. We continue to enjoy various kinds of poppies, sweet peas, ranunculus, delphiniums, calendulas, bachelor buttons, firewheels, and new waves of red anemones. The mystery rose continues to be heavy with countless blooms. There are buds on the oleander. It's not yet known whether Pride of Barbados will show any signs of life. Turks caps are leafing out everywhere. Lantanas may need to be pruned back entirely, since new leaves seem to be appearing only at the base. On the bare lantana plants are green chrysalises of an unknown butterfly. Loquat fruits are few but very large and are turning yellow. The peas we've been enjoying at suppertime are about done.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A rose is

mystery rose
Originally uploaded by odoublegood.
There are more flowers on this mystery rosebush than there have been in years. The flowers are scented, semi-double, and dark red with brassy centers. Today also brought us three calendula flowers, one with a brown center and two entirely yellow. We have rudbeckia flowers (black-eyed Susan) and towering mauve poppies with silvery-green leaves. Firewheels are more numerous than they've been in years. There are more varieties of sweet peas, and we can see the first nasturtium bud but are unable to tell what color the flower will be. We keep thinking that we hear warblers but have not seen any.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A floral selection

People are stopping to take photographs of these, people who are not I. Theft out front continues. Remaining anemones there were stolen in one big batch. One poppy plant was uprooted. We still have various sorts of poppy (true, corn, Shirley, Iceland), ranunculus, pink or red bluebonnets, bachelor buttons in every color, delphinium, fennel fronds, four types of blue Dutch iris, two kinds of yellow Dutch iris, a crimson Dutch iris, and several colors of ranunculus. In the side yard are the last iphieon flowers, a couple of Dutch irises, pink oxalis, and the short-stemmed allium plants with green in the middle of the white flowers. In Mack's yard are these: 15 clematis flowers from a one-dollar plant, older and smaller anemones, many kinds of ranunculus, dark blue-red flowers on the mystery rose bush (they are scented, semi-double, open flat, and have strongly golden centers), six different colors of old-fashioned scented sweet peas, poppies, every kind of Dutch iris (including a tall, white one that we've never seen before), the last of the old-fashioned alliums, pink oxalis, fennel fronds, and a few tiny doubled narcissi of some sort. Pollinated flowers are falling from one oaken source. The oak motte is still dropping leaves. Tiny leaves and the first flowers are appearing on the pecan tree, but it is not yet perfuming Mack's yard, deferring to roses and sweet peas. It's not yet too hot for our little volunteer Johnny jump-ups, which sprang up and bloomed in cracks. Potato plants are in bloom. What lettuces have not been consumed by creatures are very pretty right now. Weeds are pesky this year. They include yellow oxalis, horse herb, a little sticky weed (bedstraw), some wild carrots, and the various forms that will turn into burrs if permitted to survive.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Theft again and more arrivals

All season long there have been thefts of flowers from the front yard. The most recent to go, along with some other flowers, was our sole Dutch tulip, a surprise returnee from many years ago, a true flower, not the sort of almost-a-flower that sometimes reappears. It's no wonder that we plant more and more along the side of the house and in back of it and add nothing to the front. We are enjoying ranunculus flowers of all colors. Pink "bread" poppies and red corn poppies have joined the giant red true poppies. We have a very old-fashioned cream-and-pink sweet pea. There are now six open clematis flowers and plenty of very fat buds. New among the Dutch irises are two additional kinds of blue ones, one with short upright petals, beautiful yellow-and-white ones, and a white or very pale blue one that we've never seen before. There are still some leaves to come down from the oak motte. Tiny leaf buds can be seen on the pecan tree, but we don't yet smell the sassafras-like scent. The red anemones and the iphieon continue to be spectacular. Poet's narcissus has been prolific, too. On the mystery experimental rose are more buds than we have ever seen. Four o'clocks are showing themselves above ground for the first time.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The display continues

Newcomers to the pleasure grounds include a red bluebonnet (not seen for a while), several Johnny jump-ups from volunteer seed popping up and blooming in strange places, several kinds of lettuce volunteers in odd locations, a handsome deep pink Dutch tulip benefiting from the winter chills, many colors of ranunculus, the fancier and shorter kind of allium with the green center, the first firewheel, and the first open flower on one of our one-dollar clematis plants. We're about to enjoy yellow Dutch iris, but no flowers are yet open. We continue to see many mysterious narcissi and tazettas. Both volunteer and deliberately sown morning glories are appearing in various places.