Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Images of Life

Fig. 1      Bok Choy  (March 5, 2011)
Last August I planted a second crop of bok choy.  From this crop, some were left unharvested to continue growing.  The summer-crop bolted at 30 days after sowing.  For this crop (Fig.1) however, it took four months before flowering began.  
Fig. 2     Cyclamen
 Cyclamen in my patio remained green and blooming throughout the year.  The problem encountered at this time is crowding.   There are too many leaves in one small space (pot). To divide or to to plant them in a larger pot is the question.   I am open to suggestions. 

Fig. 3    Chives
Chives are among the first herbs to come out in my garden.  They are always green until they bloom when they will be crowned with lavender heads.  I used to have my chives in the ground but those lovely seed heads scatter seeds freely and generously - and chives were growing everywhere.   Now they are in pots of different sizes and slowly but surely I dug up all the volunteer-chives in the garden.  The ones in the picture (Fig. 3) were started last fall from dividing an old plant. 

Fig. 4    Sedum 'Autumn Joy'
One of my favorite plants in the garden is the sedum 'Autumn Joy'.  It is a beautiful drought tolerant perennial.  Its flowers start as grey-green turn pinkish in the summer and then turn bronze in the fall.    Even the young sprouts are beautiful as they come out from among the old stems (Fig. 4).  

Fig. 5     Clematis 'Ville de Lyon'

Clematis 'Ville de Lyon' line up one side of my yard to complement the roses along that side.  During this time of the year, they are just beginning to lengthen the first and second internodes on the vines.  Late in the spring, the roses and clematis will be mingling as good friends. 

Fig. 6     Cymbidium spike.

The blooming period for cymbidiums is long.  The spikes come out months before the flowers open.  One has to appreciate the beauty of the unopened flowers in order to find joy during the long wait for the flowers to open.  This variety with a droopy spike (Fig. 6) will probably open between April and May.  
Fig. 7    Common Blue Violet  (Viola sororia
  Some years ago I planted one, just one, blue violet into a pot. The next year there were several young blue violets around the pot.  Then they were all over the vegetable garden. I like the plant because it is one of the early flowers that bloom in the area during late winter but now the plant is a weed.  I have been removing every single plant that I can find.  This plant (Fig. 7) is a survivor. 

Fig. 8     Ornamental Pear tree (Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford') blossoms.

Today my driveway looks as if it is covered with white snow from the falling petals of the flowering pear.  The trees are all white right now but soon green leaves will replace the flowers.

Fig. 9    Purple-leaf flowering plum tree (Prunus cerasifera) blossoms.

These flowers (Fig. 9) remind me of the 'Sakura' or the cherry blossom, a well celebrated flower in Japan. They are beautiful as they bring life and color at the end of the dormant season.  However, they are short-lived. They last for just a couple of days and then they are blown away by the wind.  While they last, one must take the time to enjoy them.  They also remind us that life moves on so that new blossoms will come again.   Japan is hit by an earthquake, tsunami and, heaven forbid, by a nuclear meltdown.  Thousands of lives are lost...but hope is not lost. By God's grace, new beginnings will come to every survivor.

Sometimes plants remind us of our own mortality and sometimes they remind us of our hope for a new beginning.


p3chandan said...

Such lovely blooms you have especially the sakura-like flowers. Yes such a sad and shocking thing about whats happening in Japan now, a triple disaster! Hope is always there...

Judith said...

WOw!ganda ganda!!!

VW said...

Cheerful spring photos! My grandparents used to live in El Dorado hills and we drove up from Santa Clara to visit several times. Nice place, though a bit hot in August! We've been praying for the Japanese people, they'll have such a long road ahead trying to recover.

Jennifer G. Horn said...

Hi there, I just discovered your blog and will be adding it to my blog roll. Great site. Perhaps you could check mine out: plantedcloud.com.
Best, Jennifer

LisaJennings said...

What a beautiful post. I'm always amazed that even on the West Coast some of my favorites are still on the same time schedule (Like the Autumn Joy)

On another note, Throughout all the hardships in life there will always be flowers to brighten our day. In fact, areas around Chernobyl, while still abandoned, are now known for flowers and wildlife... sending hope for a better tomorrow.

Christine said...

I love your plants and reading your descriptions. Such a joy to visit your blog!

Nell Jean said...

I will watch for your roses and clematis blooming together. When I lived farther north, my clematis climbed into crape myrtle trees. I loved them blooming in the trees ahead of the crapes.

Stacy said...

Even though they're kind of a nuisance, chives are some of my favorites, because they are so early to emerge. I am willing to forgive them anything because of the signs of hope they give in late winter!

You're right--sometimes plants remind us of mortality and sometimes of life. We wish the people of northern Japan and all who are in crisis the reminders of life!

Helen Lewis said...

Stacy -
I am with you - chives are one of my favorite herbs. They are very useful and versatile. Sometimes they also double as green onions. :)

Helen Lewis said...

Nell Jean --
It must have been beautiful to see the larger flowers above on the crape myrtle.

I will definitely show pictures of the flowers of the clematis. Last year we changed the fence on that side of the yard. The workers were not so careful that new shoots on the roses and clematis were broken. However, they were able to recover to give us a lot of flowers later.

Helen Lewis said...

Christine --
Thank you for for visiting my blog. I appreciate your time.

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