Photo Friday: looking for weeds in all the wrong places

For the past two years I have been searching for wild plants to put in my garden.   They are weeds to the locals, and are often bushhogged or just simply tilled under.  Yet I find them attractive and have scouted for accessible sources to bring them home to my gardens…

The tornado storms of April 11, brought some of them to me, but I continued to look for one.  Goldenrod!  I think it is the most beautiful thing to see in fall, and so do my bees!  They drink its nectar to make stinky (think dirty rotten socks) smelling honey, and bring home it’s pollen to feast on over the winter.

So imagine my surprise when my chicken yard exploded in great yellow, plumes of the stuff!

In the photo below you will see several “WEEDS”  That my neighbors would surely not appreciate if growing in their yards.

However we,

the chickens,

wild bees,

my bees,

and butterflies do.   And, for all our sake, I certainly do.

And then there is the Eupatorium capillifolium…

The common name is Dog fennel, and it is sold as a background foliage plant in Europe under the name of Elegant Feather

I am sorry, but mine is anything but elegant at the moment.  All spring and summer it is upright and a lovely green, looking quite a bit like asparagus, or culinary fennel.

Usually, by this time of the year it has been cut back down to the ground.  This year things got in the way, and feel I let it get out of hand.  Or did I?

For the past week I have been in search of the lovely perfume in the chicken yard, which is never a place to be confused with “lovely perfume.”  This morning the scent was unmistakably coming from here.  Then I noticed the hum, and realized it was a bee magnet!

Buddy was busy sniffing at something in the bush, and found that out the hard way.  Poor Buddy.

Here is a closeup of the Dog Fennel blooms,

and others!


Hm, I have forgotten her name. 

Do you know it?

UPDATE:  Thanks to my Facebook friend Jodi, I was able to locate and identify my ‘salvia’ as Scarlet Sage.  You can find out more about this beautiful flower HERE.     Thank you Jodi!

Saturday Sanpshots: up close and personal

Yesterday about 6 PM I was out with the geese in the front yard

Honestly, you’d think they hadn’t seen grass before!


When we moved here I never gave Lantana a thought in my gardening plans.  My reasoning was that in this environment if it would not be perennial,  it was  not worth my time or my interest.

I was wrong…

I had forgotten how quickly it grows, how happy it makes the hummingbirds and butterflies, or how colorful it can be.  It blooms all summer and just looks nice!  So, for 99 cents a plant, this color combination was worth it as a temporary color fix!  These colors remind me of rainbow sorbet on a hot day.

Not remembering if it had a *scent or not I went in for a quick sniff…
and immediately jerked back!  It seems that the quarter sized bloom clusters are a nice place to hang out if you are a miniature crab spider!

Consider this,  if the compound flower is only quarter sized, and you are small enough to grace the surface of only one of the individual flowers, well then,  you are very tiny indeed!  Don’t see the spider?  Click the photo for a closer view!


*The flowers do not have a scent, however the bush itself is highly aromatic, having a pungent, spicy aroma when brushed against.

Once Upon a Time in the West: the power of a flower

Please click the photo to go to “Caesara Botanical Consulting” the source for this lovely photograph of Cleveland Sage.

Once in my classroom in California I was given a special needs student for mainstreaming.  He was brilliant in math, and very quiet.  He used to follow me around when all the rest of the kids were on the playground and would be waiting for me each morning when I arrived.  Conversation was not his way, but he sure was an observer!

One day, towards the end of a particularly stressful week,  I brought in a long sprig of Cleveland Sage.  I thought it might help me by lifting my spirits if I kept it near to inhale its heady aroma.  Placing it onto my desk my little friend spoke… “Teacher, what’s that?”

I told him it was Cleveland Sage from my garden at home and that I loved to smell its fragrance because it made me smile.  I demonstrated the action and its effect for him.

“Can I smell it?”  he asked.

“Sure!”  I said, and handed it over to him.

He told me he liked it and I asked him if he would like to keep it in his pocket so he could enjoy it for the rest of the day.  He nodded his head and stuck it in his pocket.  Many times during the day I observed him take it out to give it a sniff.  Each time it produced a smile for him just as it had for me.

It was a beginning.  A way for me to see into the depths he kept locked into that quiet little face.

For the rest of that year I would bring in special things from my gardens and we would communicate through the scent of herbs and flowers.  If he liked it, it went into his pocket, and if he didn’t he would wrinkle his nose and hand it back.
By the end of the year we were having verbal conversations.  They were short ones, but those few words between us are a treasure I hold dear to my heart.

I often think of him and wonder if he remembers our herbal communications.  Did I plant a seed?  Does he still enjoy the scents of herbs and flowers even today?  By now I feel he is old enough to plant a garden of his own, and I like to think that if he does have a garden, that there is Cleveland sage growing somewhere in the midst of it.

You may call me a dreamer, but that was a special year, and I hope the seeds we planted were special ones… and that they bore fruit.


A special thank you to Lynda Phillips Kachurek, at Second Memory, for her post on Aromatherapy which inspired me today. 

Photo Friday: my love/hate relationship with morning glory

I have always loved morning glories.

Monet used them to great advantage when he grew them amongst his sunflowers, it produced both contrast and a cooling effect to their warm hues. 

(Please do click the photo to visit casy/artandcolor’s site where you will find this original photograph and many more do delight your eye!)


Georgia O’Keefe loved them enough to memorialize them in her painting called simply

Blue Morning Glories

There is even a thermal pool in Yellowstone National Park called…

(Please click the picture to visit the source:  Wordless Tech)

Morning Glory Pool

So named for its beautiful blue depth and resemblance to it its namesake.

But for all her beauty and grace, the Morning Glory is a common hussy!  She grows everywhere here, rambling in field and lawn, scrambling up cornstalks and fences, and all but swallowing my roses!


and for all my searching, pulling, and destroying, she persists.

Yet, she beguiles me.

When on a humid, sunless, dare I say cheerless day in August I go out in the early morning only to find…

that she has sent out her snake-like tendrils to take over the fence surrounding the silkies hutch.

And reaching out to clutch her, intending to rip her from the fence, I grab a handful of leaves and realize…

I am holding her heart in my hand.

I grab again to pull…

and there amongst the perfect heart-shaped leaves I find her dew kissed face.  I’m drawn to her  intense blue, her clear white throat, and I think,

(Click on her face and have a closer look at her beauty)


“She is perfection.” 

Thus, I find myself for a third season, unable to remove Morning Glory from the Farmlet.   So she stays, having once again stolen my heart.

And in that moment

I consider the idea

of actually planting her in her own spot next year…

Perhaps amidst the sunflowers!