Fall revisited, and a bit more on Winged Sumac

First let me demystify the Winged part of Winged Sumac.

Winged Sumac gets its name from the “wings” that grow along the shaft of its composite leaf.

Here in the closeup is one composite leaf.   For those who may not know, a composite leaf is made up of several leaflets attached to a central stem.  In this young specimen the stem is attached to the main stalk of the plant.

Notice the growth along the shaft?  Those are its wings!  😉


Now for a few more photos of Autumn before it is all gone for 2012

     This was taken at the end of the day with an overcast sky.

So beautiful!



Note:  Want to know more about Sumac?  Then check out these informative sites!

How we can utilize the plant…

And how nature and wildlife utilize use the plant…

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: over the river and through the woods

Once upon a Monday I drove 68 miles (one way) to meet a woman who sells very inexpensive plants from her home.  I told Bob about going and he quickly quipped:  “With the price of gas being almost $4.00 a gallon just how much money are you saving here?”

Well, I had to admit that it was probably next to nothing in savings, but hey,  it afforded me the opportunity to get out with my camera and see some more of Alabama, as well as the chance to talk to someone besides kitties, dogs, and chickens!

On my way I stopped and took a few photos of:

A  derelict old building…

Lead Paint over Stucco

A covered foot bridge

A Cowboy Church…

The church’s concept is intriguing don’t you think?

Note the hay bale bench on the left, and the corral on the side!

and the Dam Cafe which “…serves damn fine BBQ too!”  Or so I’ve been told… 😉

NOTE:  Having been highly recommended by the lovely Plant Lady, I wanted to stop in on the way out and get some for that night’s dinner,  but they were closed!

Then I followed a very curvy road through an oak forest to arrive  here!

(I wish this image was sharper, but you get the effect at any rate.)

The Plant Lady told me that they had found an old house that was being torn down, so they acquired these doors and retrofit them to make an entry to their screen porch!  I, of course, love her color choice!  Don’t you?

Now when I left that morning I had imagined that I would get my plants and be off, but as it happens, the lovely lady who lives here was a chicken lover like myself,

This is the biggest rooster I have ever seen!  He must have been over two feet tall!  Well, OK I’m embellishing a bit, but he really was very big!

and an artist as well as gardener of native plants!

This garden is a mix of native and other plantings, but it is done with a very natural effect!  It was very peaceful here.

And so it was that we ended up spending the afternoon together talking about the things that were important to us.   Her plants, native gardening, her children, and the state of the school system were among the many topics discussed.

During this time we walked across the road to see one of many inlets along the Tennessee River.

On our return I saw a shy Red Fox in the tree studded meadow behind her home.  How I wished I could have gotten close enough to get a better shot!  Having never seen one in the wild before I found myself holding my breath, as if in so doing he might linger for my camera’s lens, but he did not!  Instead he ran off into the deeper grass and disappeared from view altogether.  I must admit that I was only a little bit disappointed at not getting a better photograph, because after all…  the very fact that I got to see him was a gift.

All too soon it was time to go home and I had over an hours drive ahead of me.  It is a funny thing, but driving back the way you came, the miles seem fly by and you arrive home in no time at all!

So what did I get from the lovely plant lady?  Red bud trees, Joseph’s coat ground cover, Lamb’s Ears, Monarda (aka: red bee balm) variegated Solomon’s Seal, Wild Phlox, and May Apples!  All the native plants went out under the Fringe Tree at the head of the drive, and the trees (also native) are to be planted along the edge of our parking area giving us a gorgeous view in spring, and a bit of shade in summer…

Perhaps more importantly I made a new friend, and that is priceless!


Notes:  These photos of my visit were taken on April 24 of 2011,  three days prior to the horrible tornado outbreak in our region.  Hence, my delay in posting this lovely visit.  Sorry it took me so long.

Also, out of respect for the plant lady’s wishes, I’ve restricted my photos to the environment about her home.  Just in case you wondered.  Oh yes, and the lovely lady and her family were all OK!!!  🙂

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!