Posts Tagged ‘Plants’


There is a volunteer on my deck.

Is it the Spider or or is it the Sunflower?




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Pyracantha ViewI like to think my garden is charmed.  Some things actually grow and flourish in spite of harsh sun, drought, flooding rains and winds, all encompassing weeds, and benign neglect.

Our  Pyracantha, alias Firethorn,  is a prime example.

There are actually two of these standing near to each other but one has never bloomed.

I am assuming the boring one is the female (who is no doubt working too hard to be bothered with beauty).

After all, only the male of any species is stunningly adorned, right?

Anyway, the Magnificent Male bush next to its unattractive female companion is sometimes striking for its rusty red berries.  Perhaps that is its only job – to look good.  But in all these years we have never seen such magnificent white blossoms in Spring.

I am convinced this is the male version of plant attraction.

What do you think?

Pretty Pyracantha 1

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There are certain puzzlements in life

even I cannot figure out.

Dirt is one.

Candle wax is another.

And both have made a mess of my perfectly perfect home.

Dirt – there is natural dragged in dirt of course (I am tempted to make everyone remove shoes upon entry but have never sunk to that earthly level) – or the real sneaky dirt that comes in potted indoor plants!

Even my plastic plants die, but at least they don’t leave soil on the carpet or stains on the furniture!  Real living specimens are supposed to add healthy qualities to the air we breathe.  But as they begin to slump (and die) I try revival tactics like taking them to the bathtub for a drenching and dribbling wet dirt all over the place on the way back.

Fake Palm - No Soil

Fake Palm – No Soil

And no matter where those plants sit, they leave dirt rings, dirt spots, dirt stains – dirt.

Though I loathe admitting it, there are no more real live plants in the house – only close replicas that do not add breath taking qualities except in their remarkable likenesses to the real things.

Candles – well, candles “take the cake” and I haven’t stopped using them on birthday cakes, but…..

I have tried everything I know to avoid wax damage.

My niece gave us two elegantly tall candlesticks with catcher plates at the top.  Aha!  I will put those on top of the wood stove for ambience.  One night I craved ambience so lit them, and fell asleep.  So much for romantic illusions.   Results: WAX all over the wood stove top.  Plastic greenery is now a camouflage technique.

Wood Stove Camouflage

Wood Stove Camouflage

The candles in this photo are still in their wrappers and are now just for “show.”  Bill removes all of it when we need the warmth of the wood stove .

  • To date, there is also a wax ruined dresser top.  Thank goodness for old fashioned doilies.
  • There is a saved glass topped coffee table but that took hours of scritching and scratching to remove all the melted wax.
  • There are numerous perfectly fine candles that have been trashed.
  • And I threw away a pretty candle snuffer that kept sticking to melted wax and dripping onto the wrong places.Jar Candle Bathroom

Yes, there are candles in the house (on birthday cakes sure) and for emergency black-outs in jars (which I still put on saucers), or for romantic illusions floating in holders that start with water and look like full champagne glasses, or there are tiny little votive candles dropped into rose bowls for fancy dinners.  I guess I haven’t completely given up on ambience after all.

Champagne Candles

But feeling somewhat lacking and intimidated by the fact I cannot grow clean  indoor plants or light regular candles that don’t drip beyond their saucers I am seeking help in the blog-us-fear.

Any solutions to the problems of candles and dirt?





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What is this plant

I should probably know such things but in admiring beauty and color I tend to forget who plants really are.






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Volunteer Poplar Tree in a Pot

It was yesterday’s pot, last year’s soil, unplanted, and left to thought.

I forgot the flower pot this spring and there it stood – waiting.  Occasionally I thought about what might flourish in that soil filled container in the hot, desert-like conditions of a windy deck.   But quite simply I never got around to doing anything and planned to empty the pot and store it in the garage.

Awaiting some action, the pot of old soil just stood there looking empty and forlorn.

Spring was glorious but suddenly it was summer when I noticed a little green sprout – a so-called volunteer.

“Maybe it will be a magnificent flower,” I thought.

It turned out the baby green thing is a Tulip Poplar, a tree that grows to  80 to 100 feet tall with show-off blooms of tulip shaped flowers.   There is a stand of

Tulip Poplar Leaves and Flower

Tulip Poplar Leaves and Flower

these trees at the edge of the property, no doubt watching over little “Toolip”.  Her leaves are precisely the same and that’s how I recognized the sprout.

I have no heart to kill such a brave and hearty volunteer so Toolip is still growing in her pot.

She requires almost no attention but I tend to “mother” her anyway.

She is healthy and green.

I talk to her and she seems to understand (hopefully no one else is listening).

She is there – always there, and somehow makes me smile.

Perhaps when she is a plantable sapling size or looking ready for more soil, I will find a more permanent place.

But for now I am Toolip’s volunteer Mother and she is temporarily mine.


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Mystery Flower "Fights the Cancer."

Mystery Flower “Fights the Cancer.”

I could hardly believe that overnight, the Mystery Flower that “fights the cancer” was identified – and by two very special friends!

Friend #1 said:

“Oh, how I love Google!! I’m not sure, but I think it might be Carissa Macrocarpa, also called Natal Plum. It’s from Africa, but it can now be found in southern Florida and southern California.”

That was from Cindy, of Photos from the Loony Bin.  Cindy is Canadian!  Would you believe she immediately identified that tropical-style flower?  Cindy is a great photographer and a fun-loving, obviously brilliant person.  She also has the distinction of being the only blogger friend I ever met in person.  Cindy also does “Mystery Photos” and gets the most hilarious responses.  Check out her blog if you haven’t done so already.

Friend #2 is Ted.  He was my very first boyfriend before we ever reached the teen years.  He walked me to school every morning and brought me a gardenia most mornings (from his Mom’s garden). No wonder he knows his flowers!  He is also obviously brilliant and always has been.  Here is what he said about the Mystery Flower:

“Google on ‘natal plum.’ You will find both medicinal and toxic references. Horticulturally, it is used as an attractive trespass barrier because it is both visually attractive and horrendously thorny at preventing unwelcome incursions. Ted”

I also looked around Google for a site that talked about the nutritional benefits of the Natal Plum (sometimes called the Num Num).  This link is interesting and also talks about the potentially poisonous leaves of this very interesting plant:   http://genuineaid.com/2010/10/08/natal-plum-nutrients-health-benefits/ .

Probably, by the time I get this follow-up post going, others will have identified the mystery flower.  Isn’t it amazing the things you can find now in cyberspace?

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Does anyone know what flower this is?  My sister-in-law met a woman at her church in San Diego who was gathering some.   When asked what the flower was she answered, “It fights the cancer.”  No other information was offered since the lady did not speak fluent English, but she gave a cutting to my sister-in-law to take home.

Mystery Flower "Fights the Cancer."

Mystery Flower “Fights the Cancer.”

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Some folks just don’t like to be touched.

Some trees don’t like it either.

Thorny Tree Trunk in San Diego, California

Thorny Tree Trunk in San Diego, California

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