Category: flowers

Photography Challenge Day 171: Wisteria seed pods

The winner of today’s photography challenge are wisteria seed pods.

Wisteria seed pods

The wisteria is a climbing vine that is native to the eastern part of the United States. This flowering vine is actually a member of the pea family—which is one reason why it’s seed pods look like pea pods.

Though unlike peas—wisteria plants are poisonous, so it shouldn’t be planted in areas where child play, and shouldn’t be planted in areas where someone might accidentally pick the seed pods and eat the seeds.

We have the wisteria growing along the back fence, and I’ve been thinking of trying to start a new wisteria vine elsewhere in the yard—that way once it does flower (in ten to fifteen years), it can be seen closer to the house, and it may add value to the house whenever it comes time to sell. The only thing is—I’ve never tried to grow the plant before (the one we have, we got as a smaller plant from a friend who was thinning her’s out).

But I’m thinking that I’ll check on the wisteria over the next couple of months and maybe pick a seed pod or two, and see how many seeds are inside. Then I’ll dry them out, put them in an container for the winter and then try planting them somewhere in the spring. If nothing else, we’ll get some green growth going as the vines are suppose to start growing rapidly.

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Photography Challenge Day 146: The white false garlic

Today’s winner of the photography challenge is another early spring wildflower: the false garlic (Nothoscordum bivalve), and also goes by the names of crow poison.

This is one of the more numerous wildflowers up at Boomer Lake in the early spring time, it looked like the entire field was covered with them.

Numerous blossoming white false garlic

It will bloom in the early spring, and potentially again in the fall (now I have something to keep an lookout for on my walks this fall). It is called false garlic, because it looks like a wild onion but lacks the onion odor.

It is a native wildflower to the south plains and south eastern states (basically from Arizona east to Virginia), and it’s blooming schedule is March through May, and then again possibly in September and October.

It can also be found growing in Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile as well.

I wonder that even though it doesn’t have the garlic/onion odor—would it have the garlic/onion flavor? This could be a possible native wildflower to plant in the yard to help naturally deter the moles from coming through and destroying everything—it is something to look into.

It would also be interesting to try to find the origin of the other common name–crow poison. Just a quick google search didn’t really turn up anything–it might require looking into older botany papers and books to see if origin (or even old wise tale) about the other name. My hypothesis: someone (years upon years ago) found a dead crow in the middle of a field of false garlic, and though it ate the seeds and died; they therefore named the flowers crowpoison.

That is one of two main reasons why I haven’t done much gardening over the years—the moles have a habit of eating the flower bulbs (didn’t realize they liked tulips as much as they did until they ate like two dozen tulip bulbs the second year we were living here). The second reason why I haven’t done much gardening—is the soil—it is really nothing more than solid red clay, and it is a pain to dig in. You need to add in some much extra mulch and topsoil and hope that you’ve added enough extra that the soil will actually drain and not drown the roots of your plants.

It’s looking like it could be August before I really try to do any type of even weeding of the front garden—starting Tuesday it’s going to be triple digit weather for at least 10 days—and that means I may not even get my morning walk in at Boomer Lake next weekend (depending on what the temperature and humidity is at 7am).

Starting tomorrow I’m going to try to do another week of pictures that follow a certain trend—something for me to think on tonight and most of tomorrow.

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Photography Challenge Day 145: White and Purple wildflowers

So I’m doing a dual flashback Friday post for the color/flower challenge. These flowers were some of the wildflowers that bloomed earlier this year up at Boomer Lake. I managed to spot both of these white and purple flowers, and I’m pretty certain they’re from the same family (if not the same flower species–just different color genes were activated during germination).

White Carolina anemone

So this plant goes by two different names, and depending on what name you call it—it can change it’s scientific name.

One name is the Carolina anemone (Anemone caroliniana), and that places it within the genus Anemone and the family Ranunculacae. It is also native to the central and south eastern parts of the United States.

Purple Carolina anemone

The plants flower in early to mid spring, with coloring of white, soft rose, and occasionally purple flowers, with one flower per stem.

The other name that they can go by is windflower. Now windflowers can refer to anemones in general (so that is fine)—but the main anemone that goes by that common name is Anemone nemorosa (or the wood anemone), and it found mainly in Europe.

So if one is referring to them as windflowers—we also need to add in the other common name of Carolina anemone.

I’ve always loved anemones, as they’re some of the first flowers to bloom in the spring time. We have some of the smaller purple anemones planted in the front yard, but they’re slowly dying off (since it’s been about twenty years since I originally planted the seeds). I’m thinking that maybe it’s time to get some more seeds and start a new batch of anemones in the front yards.

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Photography Challenge Day 144: The pink-purple (maybe wine colored) poppy mallow

Today’s flower/color photography winner is also a Thursday throwback to the spring when more of the flowers were in bloom. That was one of the really nice things about walking up to Boomer Lake–the hill closest to where I’d cross the street was in full bloom of wildflowers during late spring and early summer months.

The bright pink/purple (or maybe even wine colored) flowers are poppy mallows and the main winners of the photography challenge.

The poppies and other wildflowers were in bloom

This is the common name for the nine species found within the genus Callirhoe. These plants are all native to the prairies and grasslands of North America.

Since I see these flowers basically yearly (though I will admit I’ve only really started noticing plants as I’ve started to get more into photography), I’m pretty sure that these are one of the species that are perennials (meaning they come back year after year).

One of the things I’ve been thinking of doing is figuring out what type of native flowers and plants we could get that would add both color to the yard and also attract bees, butterflies, and birds.

I’ve actually looked into trying to get seeds of the poppy mallow to plant around the house–but they need basically full sun, and there is only one area of the house that gets full sun. That would be the side of the house, and it is also the side that everyone forgets about–these are such pretty flowers, they should be planted in an area where they’d be seen more than maybe just once or twice a day (or week).

So I still need to do some research into different types of flowers and plants that are hardy for the extreme weather changes and seasons in Oklahoma, and that can also deal with either total shade, or part shade/part sun. It would be nice to get some color (other than mainly green) in the yards again.

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Photography Challenge Day 143: the rose and I do miss gardening

Today’s winner is the red rose. We have a climbing rose vine on the side of the house, that seems to grow taller each year.

With the way the weather is going, the rose vine actually flowers in early to mid spring, and is done by the time the summer temperatures hit. Some years are better than others in terms of how many roses bloom on the vine, and whether or not I remember to get out and get a picture of them.

Red rose

This particular rose vine has flowers that are both red and then ones that are on the pinker side of things (or that may be how the light was reflecting off of them as I was taking the picture).

The roses do attract the bees during the early months of spring before other plants are even thinking of flowering.

The rose vines

Did you know that there are over 300 different species of roses, with thousands of different cultivars (which is a plant variety that has be produced in cultivation by selective breeding—usually for color, texture, or some other physical property).

We use to have smaller rose bushes in the backyard–but the Saint Bernard didn’t like where I had planted them, and she pulled them up. The bush only survived getting replanted twice before it died. One thing I might do when I move is start a small garden in pots and maybe look into have a mini rose bush in my kitchen or living room (depending on which room gets more sun).

Having plants (gardening) is one way of naturally dealing with, and lowering stress and anxiety levels. While everyone can’t have a full size garden in the middle of the city–there are community garden areas (I saw one or two out in Boston), and I’d guess even having small potted plants in the apartment can help deal and lower stress and anxiety levels. If nothing else–they’re pretty to look at.

What I’m thinking of doing is an small herb garden, have a few flowering plants, and then some cacti as well. I just want to make sure that I will be in a place long enough to enjoy the benefits of getting the plants (it would be a pain to start having plants only to give them away if I have to move long distance again–I don’t think they’d survive the move).

But that is still at least eight to ten months out–what I can do now is try to clear out the front garden, so that flowers and bulbs can be planted in the fall. The flowers would give immediate color, and the bulbs if they survive the winter–flowers and color in the spring, summer, and maybe fall. This will be something to do in the earlier hours of the morning on the weekends (at least until the heat index is below 95 by 3:00PM).

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Photography Challenge Day 142: The coral (or trumpet) honeysuckle

Today’s winner of the color/flower photography challenge is the orange-red honeysuckle flower. The name honeysuckle refers to members of the genus Lonicera, which include arching shrubs or twining vines (though most species are vines).

This particular type of honeysuckle I see on my walks around Boomer Lake, and also up at the bus stop in the mornings. They are definitely more of the twining vines than arching shrubs. I’m pretty sure that this is the coral or trumpet honeysuckle, with how the flowers look like mini-trumpets.

Trumpet honeysuckle growing at Boomer Lake.

These plants are native to the northern hemisphere (so this includes any country/land mass that is north of the equator). To date there have been ~180 different species identified throughout the northern hemisphere, with over half the species being found in China.

I love the flowers as they are nice and fragrant, and bring back childhood memories of picking flowers and sucking the nectar out of them. The flowers also attract hummingbirds and butterflies that also like to drink the nectar as well. Though I do see some bees around the backyard honeysuckle in early spring when they’re just started to flower.

The trumpet honeysuckle is a native species to the eastern parts of the United States. There are several different cultivars of the plant that have been grown and selected for their variation in flower colors. Depending on where they’re growing in the US, they can be considered either evergreen (in the warmer climates) or deciduous (in the colder climates), this also can result in their flowers being pollinated from mid-spring through the fall by hummingbirds and various insects.

One thing I didn’t realize (or more accurately haven’t thought of) is that they also produce fruit. The honeysuckle fruit can be either a spherical or elongated berry that can be either red, blue, or black in color. While the most of the fruits are non-edible for humans, they are edible for wildlife—which allows for the spread of the plants (which is one of the numerous ways that plants ensure their survival).

I’m going to have to try and be on the lookout for the berries this fall—not to eat, but to photograph.

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Photography Challenge Day 141: The yellow-red iris

So continuing with a combination (flower and color) scheme today–the winner is the yellow-red bearded iris that we have in the front yard. We have them planted in a couple of different areas in the front yard, but only one actually flowered this year (the rest just showed the leaves).

Yellow-red iris

So the name iris–actually refers to both the flower and the genus Iris (which has somewhere between 260 and 300 different species within). The origin of the genus name comes from the Greek goddess of the rainbow–Iris.

I’ve realized over the past few years that I have probably planted them in the wrong areas of the yard (they’re all currently under trees), to where they aren’t getting that much direct sunlight.

The one that flowered this year, it did get direct sun during the day off and on (depending on how the leaves were coming out on the trees). The ones that were planted in the other front garden, they’re in total shade. I may have to go out in the spring and dig them up and replant them in a more sunny area of the yard.

Hopefully if they’re replanted in sunnier spots, they’ll flower and attract the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Gardening is something that I enjoy doing (when it doesn’t feel like a million degrees outside), and maybe just maybe I need to start trying to make it a priority again (even if it’s small container gardening to begin with).

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Photography Challenge Day 140: Little blue flowers

So I decided that I would try switch things up and may start a theme for this week in terms of my photography challenge. I just haven’t quite decided if the theme is going to be flowers, colors, or maybe both.

Therefore the winner of today’s photography challenge is the little blue flower I noticed on some of the ground cover in the backyard.

Partial blue flower on some of the ground cover.

So I’ve realized that I’m not the greatest gardener or botanist in the world. When I decided to share this particular photo, I knew that I needed to know more about particular ground cover that it was a part of–so I turned to google.

Well, it is going to take me awhile to figure out the specific type of ground cover that we have in different parts of the yard. We’ve been calling it ‘periwinkle’, and that turns out to be the wrong name for the plant. Our other ground cover, ‘vinca’, is actually known as ‘periwinkle’ due to the color of it’s flowers. So our actual ‘periwinkle’ hasn’t started to flower yet.

This ground cover is actually an perennial that popped up in the yard years ago, and comes back every year. I actually need to move some of it to an area where we really don’t have anything growing and see if it will 1) take, and then 2) come back the following year.

Even these little blue flowers are important for the bees–it gives them food, and they help pollinate other similar plants (as I have no idea of this particular ground cover self pollinates or not). I actually saw some bees in the yard today–so that made my day.

I miss the days when I would walk past a holly bush and see them swarmed with honey and bumble bees. Now I feel like maybe things will turn out if I can see just a small handful during the week.

So the theme for the week’s photographs will be either color, flower, or both (it will depend on my mood and what I manage to photograph).

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Photography Challenge Day 139: Black Swallowtail Butterfly

The winner of today’s photography challenge is the state butterfly: the black swallowtail butterfly.  These butterflies are found throughout most of the eastern United States, parts of Canada, and south through Mexico and Central America. It is also the state butterfly for New Jersey and Oklahoma (where it can be seen from March through October).

Black Swallowtail Butterfly on wildflowers

On my walk this morning, I was fortunate to see the black swallowtail butterfly on some of the wildflowers along the shore. I wasn’t able to get super close to the butterfly—I didn’t want to scare it off, so pictures don’t do full justice to the beautiful butterfly.

I’m not certain whether I managed to get several pictures of a male or female black swallowtail. The distinguishable area is towards the bottom of the wings–the females have more blue towards the bottom of their wings. Also the males have larger yellow spots than the females do, but since I could’t get closer to it (I didn’t want to scare it off), I can’t say for certainty which sex it is.

Black swallowtail

These are rather large butterflies, as their wingspan can be between three and a quarter and four and quarter inches (so somewhere between eight and eleven centimeters). Females will lay eggs on the leaves and flowers of host plants (such as carrot, celery, dill to name a few), which then serve as food to the caterpillars. The young hibernate as a chrysalis (pupa) before emerging as an adult.

Black swallowtail

The adults feed on nectar from flowers, which include milkweed, thistles, and red clover (to name a few). One goal for this summer is going to try to identify this flowering plant. The black swallowtails aren’t the first butterflies I’ve seen on it this summer.

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Photography Challenge Day 111: Visit to the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve

Today’s photographs come from our “quick” visit to the tall grass prairie preserve today. The Tall Grass Prairie Preserve is located just outside of Pawhuska, Oklahoma and is home to a fairly good size buffalo herd.

I’m betting you noticed that I had “quick” in quotes—when we were leaving the preserve, we ended up with a flat tire, just inside the preserve. Now, if you know Oklahoma geography—Pawhuska is a fairly small town, with the next largest city to get triple A service is a good hour away. So by the time triple A almost showed up, some kind strangers had stopped and helped us change the tire.

Buffalo grazing at the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve

So the first few buffalo that we saw were probably within just a few hundred feet of the opening of the preserve. These guys were just grazing and enjoying having this part of the preserve to themselves.

So we managed to see some of the herd of buffalo—it numbers between 1 and 2 thousand animals. Some of the bulls were close to the road, while a another portion of the herd could be seen in the distance. Since there are calfs present, and we’ve had decent rainfall the herd has quite a good area to graze on this year.

More buffalo off in the distance, chilling in the cool prairie grasses

There were probably about 150-200 buffalo that we saw off in the distance (which is a good percentage of the total herd). The calves, are the light brown ones.

The partial herd from a different angle.

So if you can see the one or two pale brown animals–those are the calves that were just born this year.

There were also still numerous wildflowers in bloom. These flowers included:

Butterfly milkweed

Butterfly milkweed, this was one that I had to google once we got home, as I hadn’t seen any blooming for quite awhile. This is another wildflower that is native to the prairies of the midwest. Prior to the 1930s, it was actually listed as dietary/herbal supplement, as it was served in tea to help treat chest inflammations.

Slightly blurry black-eyed Susans

Black-eyed Susan, which were growing along the road and out in the prairie. This plant is native to the prairies of the midwest, and while some parts of the plant are edible, other parts aren’t (it is used by certain Native American tribes as medicinal herb).

So it will be nice to maybe try to get back again in the fall to see possibly more of the herd (but without the added headache of a flat tire), and see what type of possible fall wildflowers we may see.

If you’re ever in the northeastern part of Oklahoma, the drive through the Tall Grass Prairies is totally worth it–you may or may not see buffalo, but you will see some land being transformed back to how it looked a couple of hundred years ago–prairies, which are a vital ecosystem for North America.

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