Saturday, April 30, 2016

Flower for the Day Hesperis 4-30-16

This purple flower has burst out in my gardens and along country roads. It is Hesperis (Hesperis matronalis).
It has many names including dames rocket, damask violet. dames violet, dames wort, dames gilliflower, night-scented
gilliflower queen's gilliflower, rogue gilliflower, summer lilac, sweet rocket, and mother of the evening.
For years I thought this was phlox. They are different in that hesperis has altertnately arranged leaves and four petals per flower 
while phlox has alternate laves and five petals.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Flower for the Day Spanish Blue Bells 4-27-16

Blue bells bring a feeling of peace. These are Spanish Blue Bells (Hyacinthoides hispanica). In comparison to common blue bells
they are a paler blue and have no scent.

The Bluebell

A fine and subtle spirit dwells
In every little flower,
Each one its own sweet feeling breathes
With more or less of power.
There is a silent eloquence
In every wild bluebell
That fills my softened heart with bliss
That words could never tell.

By Anne Bronte

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Flower for the Day In the last two Days 4-26-16

I had to take these under the duress of on oncoming hail storm. They have all bloomed in the last 2 days.
Spring has sprung. Enjoy.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Flower for the Day Tulip 4-23

The tulips are winding down and what should appear but this TULIP.  Honest, it has tulip leaves and a tulip stalk.

        Has this happened to you? I showed someone this tulip, that I    had never seen before and they said, "Oh, that's a double tulip.
We have them all the time." 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Don's Blog Family Breakfast 4-23-16

I was having breakfast at a Bob Evans Restaurant and was amazed at the animated loving discussion at the table nearby.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Fwd: Flower for the Day Indian Paintbrush 4-22

Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja), also called prairie fire, is a rare visitor to my gardens.

Its red color is intense. Its seeds can remain dormant for years and following biologic activity can begin to grow.
Because it is hemiparasitic it is placed in the broomrape family. It has modified roots (haustoria) which grow until
they come in contact with a host (grass or forb)and penetrate the host extracting water and nutrients.

  This poem is dedicated to GB.

Indian Paintbrush

She tells me that she likes Indian paintbrush
and if she could she says she would have
an entire garden full swaying in the noon breeze
on sunny Summer afternoons.

I smile at the old woman I have known
since I was a little boy.
Helga had a spirit about her.
a blue eyed  mule of a woman.

She still talks about the time I misbehaved
and she paddled me good.
I acted as if my entire world fell apart.
She smiles "I am glad I don't have to spank you now."
A slight trace of German accent still whispers through.

She tells me about the days in Nazi Germany
before and after the war. Days of eating
Frozen potatoes and  nights shivering
in a bomb shelter.
How she met the young soldier
learning of his kindness and love.

They raised eight strong children together
Four boys and four girls
Through long where house hours
and picking crops on the weekends
they all went to college.

Now she looks across her yard
at her perfect tulips
and her daffodils.
She wishes she had
Indian paintbrushes.

I think to myself yes
Isn't freedom wonderful? 

Flower for the Day Azalea 4-21

Azaleas are flowering shrubs in the genus Rhododendron. So all azaleas are rhododendrons.
My azaleas are over 30 years old and are beginning to show it. Some have died off and have      
 been replaced. I have two kinds: Herbert  has a 'single' flower and blooms first, and Karen has a 
'double' flower and blooms several weeks later.

Below is Herbert with a 'single' bloom (one row of petals).

Below is Karen with a 'double 'row of petals. This is called hose in hose.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Flower for the Day Daffodil Doubles

We are into the third wave of daffodils. Initially they arise as yellow on yellow followed in several weeks by various other colors.
Then after several more weeks we are treated to my favorites - the double daffodils. These rich and succulent flowers arrive in many different color combinations. To me they have the feel of camelias 
 but with smaller centers.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Don's Blog Trilobites 4-18

My son Gordon and his family recently visited us at the Lake House. With the water level down for winter maintenance he found
this rock on the shore with trilobite fossils on the under side.

Trilobites are fossils of extinct marine arthropods.Trilobites first appeared in the Early Cambrian Period 521 million years ago. Trilobites were among the most successful of all early animals roaming the oceans for over 270 million years.

Arthropods are invertebrate that have an exoskeleton, a segmented body, and paired jointed appendages. The trilobite body is divided into three major sections: cephalon, thorax, and pygidium. The exoskeleton cuticle is made of chitin mineralized with calcium carbonate. The rigid cuticle inhibits growths it is replaced periodically by molting. 

Most of what is commonly seen is the fossilized thorax.

I first learned of fossils through a school science project  in the late 1940's. My friend Dan Wegner 
and I found trilobites in the Braidwood quarry south of my hometown in northern Illinois. 

Flower for the Day Spring Beauty 4-18

Spring Beauty (Clayton virginica) is a miniature native perennial that has been blooming for several weeks and is a sure 
sign of spring. It literally carpets uncut lawns. Here it is on a churchyard lawn.

To really enjoy miniatures you must join them at their level.

When you do get close to spring beauty you can the pink/purple veins and a yellow center.

             We should not mind
             So small a flower
             Except it quiet bring
             Our little garden that we lost
             Back to the lawn again.  ……
                    Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Flower for the Day Phlox 3-12

My phlox beds have been scraggly this year due to wind and rain and new plants. I have added white
phlox.  (Better viewed in large format on the computer.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Flower for the Day Tulips 3-11

The tulips are thriving with the cool weather.


neath parasols
in May fields, chime in Dutch
whose petaled voices wreck the skies
like breaking music from a diva's breast
in chords of praise that cleave the dawn
and notes of prayers that lull
the night--my prized

Monday, April 11, 2016

Flower for the Day Narcissus Quandary

Several weeks after the initial  yellow daffodils other narcissus family flowers appear. Both daffodils and jonquils are narcissi (or narcissuses)
but I cannot tell you how they are different from each other. Paper whites are narcissi  and are not daffodils or jonquils. All daffodils and jonquils are
narcissi. In some areas of the country jonquils are held distinct because of tubular leaves and multiple flowers per stem. Likewise daffodils are so-called because of flat leaves and singular flower stems. As you wish.

No matter what you call them they are beautiful.

Here Comes Spring

One lonely jonquil bows her timid head.  From earth and rain her slender leaves are fed.  Then, sunlight peeks upon the shaded site.  Sun offers warmth from snowy chills of night.    As days grow long and springtime tiptoes near,  The woodland fairies giggle while they dance.  Sweet violets spread their blossoms without fear.  For posies soon shall usher in romance.    In full array the meadow colors burst.  The leprechauns bring magic as rehearsed.  Wild flowers spreading, decorate the Earth.  Where shamrocks grow, good fortune will disperse.  The butterflies and bees with nectar sing.  The ground hog sees no shadow; here comes spring.    Copyright February 27th, 2014    Written for Poetry Soup Member Contest:  Here Comes Spring (Flower Song )  Sponsor Rick Parise  
Copyright © Dane Ann Smith-Johnsen | Year Posted 2015 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Flower for the Day Celandine Poppy 4-8

This is one of my favorite Missouri native wildflowers. It is Celandine Poppy (Stylophorum dyphylum). It has been battered 
by the heavy winds and cold for several days. It can take it - even the freeze forecast for tonight. 

What I like about it is that it has been blooming for several weeks and will continue to bloom formally months - probably into June. It is draught and deer resistant and grows in partial shade. It is a perennial and once a stand of it is established it will return each year and when the bloom is over the green remains until the frost.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Flower for the Day Magenta Flowers 4-5

This week we have different forms of magenta showing up.The first one shows that if you look close at the flowers of the
 Redbud Tree you can see the pollen bearing anthers on the stamens. They come right off the branch.

The anthers come off the curved filaments.

The phlox in the rock garden show the same phenomenon. Notice the different stages of flowering and the tiny  hairs on the cupolas.

This azalea is blooming early. The stamens are surrounding the taller pistils. Love is definitely in the air in 
magenta this week.