Odds & Ends

Alcea rosea seeds starting to sprout

Let’s start with the odd. I plucked this seed pod from a stalk of Alcea rosea, a single, nearly black hollyhock. See how the surface of the pod looks almost mossy and the seeds within are beginning to sprout? I had never seen anything like this before. Scott of Rhone Street Gardens noticed the same phenomenon on some of the seed heads that he had left standing in his garden, and was equally perplexed.

Alcea rosea seeds two ways

The seeds on the right came from that pod, while those on the left came from one I brought in earlier, before the monsoons set in. I think I will experiment with planting both to see if all are viable. I also left some on the stalk and scattered others around, just to see what will happen.

drab maple

Here’s another garden event I’m puzzling over: this maple turned brilliant shades of red for several years running. This year it was satisfied to cloak itself in shades of gold-to-brown. Any ideas what’s up with that?

Digitalis seedlings

Another result of lazy gardening practices: when foxgloves are left to dry in place, the ground becomes choked with seedlings. Here they are duking it out with Ajuga ‘Black Scallop’. I am leaving them to it, to see which of them gains supremacy. In future, I think I will cut down the dying stalks of the foxgloves.

leaky pipe

Here’s a situation I brought on myself. Late in the season, I started digging up an area where I wanted to establish a new bed. I got as far as removing all the sod when the rains set in. During the holidays, R’s sister, Kathryn, was visiting. She called to our attention that a virtual stream was gushing forth out there. Oops! Without the grass to absorb the rain, the water had accumulated to such a degree that it had caused the water line from the pump house to the main house to rupture. We really know how to entertain house guests: R & John spent the next couple of days up to their shoulders, digging a trench and repairing the pipe.

the hole

We marked the path of the pipe before filling in with planting mix and making sure that the area is planted with plenty of Acoris, whose root systems should take over where the missing grass left off.

ornamental kale in red pot

Not everything around here has been an unmitigated disaster. About the time bloggers were debating the pros and (mostly) cons of ornamental kale, R came home with one. I had proclaimed my love for red and purple as a color combo. I plopped the purple kale into this red pot, and quite like the effect…how about you?

daggawalla seeds

Speaking of seeds, I came to this local company by a circuitous route: Margaret Roach’s A Way to Garden, to be exact. These folks are a brand new company right in my own back yard, so to speak. They feature a collection of hard-to-find Nicotiana, among other things. One of the joys of dealing with start-ups is the personal touch. They sent me a hand written note and a bonus packet of seeds with my order. Won’t this be fun? Take a little side trip to check out Daggawalla to get in on the ground floor of this new enterprise.

seed card

Here’s another seed experiment waiting to happen. This was a birthday card. The yellow outer card is impregnated with flower seeds. Supposedly, it can be buried under a light topping of soil to produce a floral display. I can’t wait to try this.

gardening sentiments

A gardening friend brought me this card, along with a bright bouquet, when she came to dinner. I thought you would enjoy the sentiment.

woven card by Ellie

Another friend, Ellie, makes these cards. They are stacked and woven from papers that she designs and has printed in soy-based inks on recycled paper. You can find her cards and papers at her Etsy shop.

spring card

Email has replaced much of the correspondence that used to take place, but I am fortunate to have a few friends who still send hand written thank-you’s. Some even make these cards themselves. Here’s a hand calligraphed and painted card from Susan to leave you with thoughts of Spring.

11 thoughts on “Odds & Ends

  1. Alison~I always leave most seed heads in place for the birds. This just strikes me as further proof that this was the wettest winter ever.

    Loree~It was…thanks.

    Mark & Gaz~That’s why I had to share that card.

    Linda~Ah, Cerenthe! I seem to remember warning you about its profligate ways.

    Heather~Those Chinese!

  2. hey ricki, i worry that your gorgeous maple might be suffering the same malady that mine got earlier this year … the leaves shrivelled and went brown, signalling die-back. I cut off the afflicted branches (http://ericasgarden.blogspot.ie/2012/06/beauty-and-beasts.html), but it was no good. Some gardeners thought it might have been honey fungus but i didn’t see any traces when i had to dig it up. i’d had it for over ten years and was very sad to see it go. I so hope yours fares better! happy new year and good gardening from ireland.

  3. Erica~Oh dear…I saw no signs of disease, but maybe that’s coming. This was a tree I got for a mere $15 at a neighborhood sale, but it was so beautiful for about five years. Thanks for your thoughts and good wishes.

  4. Angie~Hmmm…interesting theories. We had an exceptionally wet year, so I will have to look into that.
    Have you tried using Google Reader? It allows you to make a list of the blogs you want to follow, then when you log in to the reader it shows you which of them has something new posted. I hope you can figure it out, as it would be fun to have you in on the conversation.

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