Blue Days In The Garden

June is a month for blue flowers. High summer is a time for reds, oranges, and (especially) yellows. But the transition to summer is a quieter time, notable for blues and whites. Let’s look at some of the blue flowers currently blooming, then shift to something completely different.

DSC_0878

Read More

The Lurie Garden in June (2018)

In late May and June the River of Salvia flows through the Lurie Garden. I visited Lurie with camera in hand on the 14th and 15th of this month. There were patches of the river that were done blooming, showing only bare flower stalks.

DSC_0738

Read More

To Chop, Or Not To Chop

Late May and early June are the days to cut back your tall perennials in this part of the world. I’m talking about cutting back before flowering, not after. Which is to say, cutting back to achieve a more compact, bushier, and less floppy plant.

3 Cutting
This is me cutting back dead plants in early spring, so a bit off topic, but you get the idea. 

Read More

Soggy Delights At Mettawa Manor

This past weekend was a rainy one, but Judy and I weren’t going to let that deter us from going to a garden tour of Mettawa Manor, organized especially for members of Lurie Garden.

mettawa m
Approaching the house at Mettawa Manor, which was built in 1927 as a wedding present for a young bride.

Read More

Repost: From Drupes To Nuts

It’s late; it’s been a long day. I wanted to write a post, but I’m kind of tired and not feeling very enthusiastic. So I thought I would do something I’ve never done before: reblog an old post. This one was written in 2012, not long after I started Gardeninacity. I hope you enjoy it.

DRUPING UNDER THE WEIGHT OF BOTANICAL KNOWLEDGE

I’m very glad I recently took an evening class in botany. For one thing, I now know what a drupe is.

A large berry.
A large berry.

You know when you are reading about some plant, say a serviceberry (Amelanchier), and the text says that the fruit is a small drupe? I no longer think that “drupe” is some random typo that sounds vaguely insulting. Now I know that serviceberries have drupes, not berries, and so should properly be called servicedrupes. This is an even worse name than serviceberry, but more accurate botanically, which is what is really important.

Drupes, you see, have a single seed. Berries have multiple seeds. Tomatoes are berries. Really. So are blueberries. To botanists, tomatoes and blueberries are practically indistinguishable, which is why I don’t visit when they are making spaghetti. (Tomatoes are berries botanically, but are vegetables legally as determined by the US Supreme Court in Nix v. Hedden.)

You know what else is a berry? A watermelon. Yup. If you don’t believe me, look it up. Watermelons and other melons are pepos, berries with a hard, thick rind. So on summer picnics we should be enjoying some juicy waterpepo, or waterberry. Oh, and an orange is a hesperidium, a berry with a leathery skin.

Strawberries have multiple seeds, so you might think they are berries. You’d be wrong. A strawberry is an aggregate fruit, because the fleshy part is derived from many ovaries. Each one of the seeds counts as  a single fruit called an achene, so the famous Ingmar Bergman movie should be called “Wild Aggregate Achenes.” When I say achene people often respond: “Bless you!”

Aggregate Straw-Achenes.
Aggregate Achenes.

Peaches and apricots are drupes. Cherries are drupes, so you could say that life is just a bowl of drupes, though that doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Almonds are drupes, not nuts, but hazelnuts are nuts. They just are, OK? Walnuts are a subject of some controversy. Some botanists think they are nuts, but others think they are drupey nuts, or nutty drupes.

berry club
My thanks to JL Westover of www.mrlovenstein.com for permission to use this cartoon.

 

So I am grateful to my botany instructor. I now know that some berries are not berries. I know that other things are berries even though the thought would be absurd to the uninitiated. And while some nuts are nuts, other nuts are  not nuts, while still other nuts might or might not be nuts.

And now I have shared this knowledge with you.

You’re welcome.

Peonies And Fringe Trees

So I’ve got good Peony news and bad Peony news. I only got Peonies to begin with because Judy wanted some. But now I do like to having a few Peonies around.

DSC_0415
Peony ‘Snow Swan’

Read More

The Fleeting Pleasure of Poppies

The Poppies put on a nice show this year, the third season since they were planted. These are orange poppies, double-flowered. My friend Linc gave them to me. I do not know the variety or even the species, so I just refer to them as ‘Linc’s Poppies’. If I had to guess I would say they were some kind of Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale).

DSC_0246

Read More

Back And Sides

Most of the horticultural drama around here is in the front garden. But we shouldn’t forget that on either side of the house there are narrow strips within our property lines. And then there’s the back garden. Let’s take a look at what’s going on in those relatively neglected areas.

DSC_0355
Wild Columbine flower

Read More

Spring Onions and Geraniums Gone Wild

These days if you walk by our house the first thing to strike your eye will be the ‘Globemaster’ Alliums blooming in the Parkway Bed.

Allium sidewalk
‘Globemaster’ Alliums on the Parkway Bed

Read More

Lilacs And Other Flowering Shrubs Of May

There are certain shrubs and small trees whose flowers symbolize the peak of spring.

lilac b

Read More

%d bloggers like this: