Sunday, May 22, 2016

Helleborus vesicarius

Helleborus vesicarius  - Pencil Sketch* 

*This picture is based from a botanical sketch by Helen Campbell as published in the English Garden magazine (May 2016).  Although I haven't drawn anything before other than stick figures and circles, learning to draw is my new hobby.  And what better subject than plants? 

Helleborus vesicarius is considered a rare plant that grows on a certain mountain region that extends from Turkey to Syria and Lebanon.  It is highly toxic which explains why it can survive on hillsides where goats graze.  Unlike the more common helleborus with gorgeous flowers, the balloon-like seedpods of Helleborus vesicarius is the most notable feature in this plant.  I can only imagine that as the seedpods mature and break off from the plant that they would move around in the landscape easily with the wind.  So the balloon-like characteristic of the pod is just another seed dispersal mechanism in nature.

Draw a plant you have not seen before 
and learn something about it.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Hort Art - Photographic Impressionism

"Blue Brodiaea Breaking Through"

So my older daughter has been helping me play with some artistic tools on Photoshop lately.  Here are some of my first attempts so far using the blurr filter.  It is fun because I can hide the less important parts of the picture.  Some might call it cheating but I call it art - Hort Art.  Someday I might learn to use a drawing tablet to have a finer and better control of the cursor.

"Eden Through the Mist"

When a gardener learns a new software - art is born. :)

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Hummingbirds and Succulent Flowers

Hummingbirds are attracted to aloe vera flowers

Hummingbirds love the flowers of succulents.  Alright, maybe they don't love the flower per se but the nectar is like a special treat for them.  It has been my observation that they would check on these flowers way before they open.  Once the tubular flowers crack slightly the birds begin to stake their claim.  Any other hummingbird trying to intrude on well defended flowers, would soon find out that it was not a good idea.  

Hummingbirds will linger where there are plenty of food.

Fortunately for the resident hummingbirds, we have many different succulents in the yard -- that is in addition to three hummingbird feeders. Different succulent species bloom at different times which prolongs the season for nectar harvest for these birds.  Earlier this year some of the aeoniums and echeverias opened up.  At this time the aloe veras are in bloom. 

Hummingbirds always return to their favorite flower.

If you want to attract these beautiful creatures in your yard, plant something they like.  There are many plants that are known to attract hummingbirds, but one thing is true - succulent are among the easiest to grow. 

Entice the hummingbirds to stay in your garden - plant succulents.
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