Spring Planting

First Planting March came in like a lamb with several warm days in the high 60's, tempting all the gardeners to put something (anything) in the ground. As usual, March has a little something for everyone, and it went out roaring like a lion, ending with several blustery days in the 30's. Oh well, it … Continue reading Spring Planting

Resting on Your Laurels

Kalmia Latifolia A common plant found in the Great Smoky Mountains is the Mountain Laurel. Its bright white flowers contrasting with glossy green leaves create a festive atmosphere in the spring. In ancient Greece; a "laureate" was crowned with a laurel wreath as a sign of victory and status. Today's Nobel Laureates are also honored … Continue reading Resting on Your Laurels

Prairie Flower

Mystery Flower I found this flower blooming in mid summer in a pasture near Niobrara, NE. It looked at home among the tall prairie grass, rolling hills and cattle. Can you identify it? Please let me know. Thought for the Day: It is the sweet, simple things of life that are the real ones after … Continue reading Prairie Flower

New Flower

Rocky Mountain Bee Plant This strange plant showed up in my new wildflower garden. I contacted the source where I bought the "Pollinator Mix" to identify it, and was informed it is a Rocky Mountain Bee Plant. Hmmm, I thought the mix was native Nebraskan wildflowers. (Who cares!?) The wildflowers I planted this spring to … Continue reading New Flower

Clematis Left-Overs

Clematis The clematis bush that provided such vibrant color in late spring (see here) now looks like this. This is the seed pod for future generations of clematis. Even though the plant is well beyond its prime this time of year, I still see unique beauty in it. Thought for the Day: The best and … Continue reading Clematis Left-Overs

Gaillardia

Gaillardia This flower has been blooming in my pollinator garden for about three weeks now. I believe this is some variety of Gaillardia, but it's totally different in color and size from the "Blanket Flower" I have. This reaches 2' in height, where the Blanket Flower is only about 6". Coloring on the Blanket Flower … Continue reading Gaillardia

RUKM!?

Christmas Cactus As a silhouette, this would look like a Canadian or Snow Goose taking flight. But, it's not. It's a beautiful flower, somewhat magnified. This is a Christmas Cactus, blooming in our sunroom just two days ago. Christmas Cactus? A little late isn't it, or is it eight months early? This particular plant has … Continue reading RUKM!?

Spider Flower

Cleome I found this beauty among the hundreds of colored plants in my wife's flower garden(s). The unusual structure of the flower head caught my eye: beautiful shades of lavender petals standing on spider legs surrounding the deep purple stamen at the top of a 5' tall stem. And a funny name to boot: Cleome … Continue reading Spider Flower

April Snow

Frosted Leaf Just when I thought we had seen the "last gasp" of Ole Man Winter, we get five inches of heavy wet snow. The flower beds had been cleaned of mulch and winter debris, flowers blooming, trees were leafing out, the grass was emerald green and recently mowed, and spring vegetables had been seeded … Continue reading April Snow

Winter Color

Any kind of foliage is a welcome sight this time of year, even in pictures. I found this flower among the tall wild grasses in a sandy Florida beach. I rediscovered it among my photo archives of winter vacations. It will have to do for this cold February day in Nebraska. Thought for the Day: … Continue reading Winter Color

Clematis

Clematis We are barely three weeks into the winter season and I'm sick of it already. Three measurable snow falls and three days of single digit temps was a brutal wake-up call. The fields are brown, the trees are bare, the nights are long, the fireplace broken in, the garden a distant memory, the bird … Continue reading Clematis

Sunflowers

40 acres of sunflowers On US 136 five miles west of Fairbury, Nebraska, I found a sea of sunflowers in full bloom. Three feet tall, standing shoulder to shoulder, soaking up the bright sun with hardly a cloud in the sky. Pollinators were gorging themselves. It was a great day to be a sunflower! Thought … Continue reading Sunflowers

Sunflower

Giant Sunflower Sunflowers are in full bloom, peak time for butterflies and Nature's warning that the lazy hazy days of summer are numbered. The first plant to show up in my new "prairie" this year was a volunteer sunflower -- center stage, like it was the star of the show. Not knowing if anything else … Continue reading Sunflower

Monet’s House & Garden

Monet's House and Garden Two surprises awaited me when I visited Claude Monet's house and gardens in Giverny, France. One, his house was much bigger than I thought it would be -- a mansion for the times he lived, and two, his gardens were less formal than imagined. Mid summer was the perfect time to … Continue reading Monet’s House & Garden

Mystery Plant

The blue and reds are so vibrant on this plant, it caught my eye from across the conservatory.  The plant was screaming, "Come take my picture!"  (I never know if the closed quotation mark comes before or after the punctuation ending a sentence.) I found this in the Des Moines Botanical Gardens.  The spiked "branches" … Continue reading Mystery Plant

Coneflower

Mid-September, and we're getting pretty close to the end of late summer blooms, but these Coneflowers still look pretty good. Taken at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE.   Thought for the Day:  I hate flowers -- I paint them because they're cheaper than models and don't move.                   … Continue reading Coneflower

Palm Frond

An unusual (Wow!  Three "u"s in a 7-letter word!) palm tree thrives in the conservatory at Omaha's Lauritzen Gardens.   Its fronds (leaves) are a dirty gray color, like unpolished silverware covered with dust.  There is no sheen whatsoever on the fronds, on either side. From underneath, the shaded areas are almost black, which provides a … Continue reading Palm Frond

Sunken Garden

Robert Buchart, pioneer in the growing cement industry, opened a limestone quarry in 1904.  As the limestone deposits depleted, Robert's wife, Jennie, hauled in tons of topsoil from their nearby farm to plant flowers.  She was determined to turn the giant eyesore into something of beauty. Exotic plants from all over the world were imported.  … Continue reading Sunken Garden