Monday, May 22, 2017

The Irises That Need a Shave

I gotta say the "beard" on these Irises looks a lot more like a caterpillar to me than some facial hair.

                                                      A goatee? Well, perhaps that I could see.

Saturday, May 20, 2017


When you stop and think that all of these things are green and all of these things are leaves and all of these leaves are on plants can thrive in shade or part shade, one word that comes to mind is the one that Aretha is known for singing and spelling. Another word? Awesome!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Props to the Azaleas and Rhodies This Year

It's time to give some proper props to the Azaleas and Rhodies this year. Different shrubs have been blooming for nearly a month already now and the show isn't over yet.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

White Bloom Scorcher

                The alliums appear to be dandelions going to seed which means I must be a giant.

                                 Wouldn't it be nice if ice cream scoops grew on trees?

                                      Hang on, are those snowballs on sticks I spy?

                         It's mid-May and the first scorcher of the year. Is my mind melting?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

With Silverbells, but no Cockle shells

As it turns out, that contrary Mary might not have been a gardener at all, but even if she was, it's unlikely that the silver bells of the nursery rhyme have anything to do with the Carolina Silverbell blooms I was standing under this morning. This is only the second time I have seen this native plant blooming, so bumping into these flowers at Hofstra this morning was especially sweet. Some other noteworthy spottings of the day: first yellow swallowtail butterfly of the season and a dragonfly!

"Hallelujah! Halesia!" is how I remember the genus name for this species.

Monday, May 15, 2017

A Little Bit of Bark from the Week

The word is that this Chinese Quince's bark will be even more amazing later in the season. It's something to see right now so I will be keeping my eyes open. And the Parottia persica below, with it's graceful mutliples branches, makes me think of Bonsai.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

It's looking Like Fall in Spring

I wouldnt blame someone for being confused about the season when standing before this crepe myrtle one bit.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Alliums (alliyums) For All

Alliums just for decoration to go with the grass or alliums for the bouquet or to sprinkle in a salad.

Alliums for making soup and to make most things you can think of more delicious or native alliums for pollinators up high on green roofs.

How useful, delicious and gorgeous is this genus? Very. Some alliums are outside blooming now.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Grass Might Not Be Greener

The grass might not be greener on the opposite side of the fence but the wisteria flowering there sure looks dreamy and the scent was delicious. I would wear it but then I think the bumble bees would be chasing me everywhere.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Raspberry Conifer Season

You mean you didn't know some raspberries grew on Christmas trees? Well, now you do.

When was the last time you really looked at what the conifers get up to in the spring? They have spring fever too.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Botanical Heaven on a Hofstra Arboretum Tour with Fred Soviero

I thought I had died and gone to botanical and plant geek heaven yesterday when I was lucky enough to catch a tour of Hofstra's South Campus Arboretum with grounds director Fred Soviero. Of course it's sort of true that I feel like I'm in botanical heaven on a walk on any given day through this campus. But it's not every day that I get to hear binomial names rapid-fire and the Latin too!

So instead of just taking in all the colors, textures and the growth of the moment, which is my habit, I got to hear some of the history of the campus and stories about specific trees while touring the pinetum and some of the fabulous South Campus grounds.

Turns out that the mammoth commanding Katsura I fell in love with the first time we met is the oldest tree on campus and the Chinese Quince with the incredible bark, which I just met last week and is my latest crush, was actually saved and then transplanted from the north shore of Long Island when it was already 30 feet tall and quite massive.

I didn't know that the Hofstra campus was a registered arboretum when I first went for a walk on the grounds, but I knew immediately I was somewhere special that people had spent a good while creating and maintaining.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Hardy Geranium Buds

If the rose-hued buds are any indication, it looks like these hardy geranium flowers, fixing to bloom in a bed at Hofstra, will be awfully pretty in pink.

Now, is Google so smart that it actually knew I was standing before these beautiful buds in a cool spring breeze today when it created this gif?

Friday, May 5, 2017

Birdlike Bracts and Petals/Tepals

Overhead, the bracts of a blooming Dove Tree (or Handkerchief Tree) are the attraction as they flutter in the wind like the wings of a dove. On the ground, some tulip petals are reminiscent of some pink and yellow bird I have never the seen the likes of's feathers.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Valentine's Day in an Early May Sky

It almost looked to me like this Eastern Redbud cultivar was celebrating a belated Valentine's Day in the early May sky. Tiny perfect heart-shaped leaves, the first of the season, were open and emerging in today's bright sunlight.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Cordate = Heart💟-Shaped Leaf

Because I keep bumping into plants wearing their hearts on their leaves, cordate has been selected as the official botanical word of the day.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May Twosday in New York at the Beech and the Woods (Dogwoods) Postcard

If today's post were a postcard, the message would simply say: "Wish You Were Here. Love Spring."

The postmark would be dated May Twosday and the carrier would likely be a pigeon.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Fothergilla: Plant of the Day This Early May

Petals? Who needs them. Just wave your stamens in the air like you don't care, I guess, is Fothergilla's motto. Aesthetically, this North American native's flowers are all about the male organs. Perhaps this is fitting, as the new lesson I learned about Fothergilla this spring is that the genus name honors a man named Dr John Fothergill (1712–1780), an English Quaker physician whose 18th-century Essex garden garden included one of the earliest, most extensive collections of North American native plants. (Essentially this plant is named after an old timey plant geek!)
Just like some other native members of the witch-hazel family (Hamamelidaceae) worth knowing, come autumn and its leaves will be the stars of the show.