Thursday, April 30, 2009

Yellow or Tulip Poplar

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It's not often that I see a limb low enough on a poplar tree to get a good look at the flowers, but I found one in Auburn a few weeks ago that just begged to be examined. Poplar trees grow so tall and fast that the flowers usually outdistance my eyes. Yellow or tulip poplar is the tallest hardwood in North America. The flowers have a superficial resemblance to tulips, hence the species name. If you click on the picture you can get a pretty good magnification. Poplars are among the first trees to leaf out in the spring and usually the first to start turning yellow in the fall. They typically begin turning in late August here in east central Alabama. The tiny brown cones found on the ground in fall resemble magnolias, a clue to their heritage. I have often tried to collect enough of these cones to make something with or decorate a wreath, but they are frequently few and always fragile. The tall straight and tapered bole of the poplar,the beautiful flowers, and the splendid leaf shapes make this a wonderful tree, but it has a scientific name that is equally beautiful: Liriodendron tulipifera.
The wood of this tree is today used in the manufacture of furniture and pallets. I have a chest made for me by my Dad from wood cut from his farm. The planks are eleven inches wide. Poplars grown in the swamps reach an impressive size quickly. Native Americans used them to make dugout canoes.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


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I guess you can see I like irises. They are such wonderful hardy plants. I have dug and pulled them up for replanting and left them lying in a heap for weeks, but when I got back to them they were as good as ever. Don't bury the corms; they should only be partially covered. O! The fragrance of the flowers! I love just walking by and getting a whiff of them. They seem so fragile and delicate, but they are really very tough. You can't ever have too many irises. I just wish they lasted all summer.
Aunt Thelma had some yellow ones that grew on the south side of the house and they started to bloom in December. The small whites are the oldest variety and are usually found blooming around old home sites before their hybrid cousins have even budded.

On another note, here is an interesting link
It is about... well it is hard to tell exactly what it is about. Check for yourself.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Different Greens of Spring


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The early colors in the trees are so beautiful. Of course we are much further along now than when these pictures were taken. Going to the Smokies last week was like going backward in time to early spring.But it did torn hot the last 2 days there. The greens on the mountainsides were so soothing.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dutch Iris

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This is why I love Dutch Irises. And they are wonderful in an arrangement Most of mine have multiplied through the years as this one has. It seems like they either multiply or die out after one year. They are definitely worth the price. Plant some next fall.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Atamasco Lily

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I first saw these lilies when I was taking systematic botany in college.Even though I had grown up in the country and woods, there were many plants that I had never seen before I took that class. I was in the first class in systematics that John Freeman taught at Auburn University, and I credit the class to opening my eyes to what is growing around me. At that time he was just a kid, only a year or so older than the students he was teaching. I can still hear his gravelly voice when anyone would say that did not know what a plant was. He would say, "Well, did you ask it?" By this he meant to look carefully at the plant's characteristics and compare it to something we already knew. The year was 1969, and he took us a field trip to the Wildflower Pilgrimage to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It was a pivotal point for me in many ways.I saw many people, including John, who were so excited over the blooming woods and meadows that it sparked an excitement in me that has never waned. It was also on that trip that I became acquainted with my future husband and we were married less than a year afterward. Not many years have passed since then when we didn't make our own pilgrimage to the Smokies to see the early flowers and refresh our souls in the hills and waterfalls.
The simple beauty of an Atamasco lily is unbeatable.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I'm back! I hope.

I have been lax on my posting and have missed about 2 weeks in posting. Seems like I think about it more than I post, so I hope to reform. I am making a trip to the Mountains next week so I hope to get a few postings written before I go. The income tax I was complaining about has still not been done but I did ask for an extension, so I am not in the doghouse (yet) on that account. There have been so many beautiful things blooming and greening up (not to mention my 2 feet tall grass)in the past ten days that I have just stood back in awe. I have seen so many beautiful Grancy Graybeards blooming. I took a picture of mine when I thought it was at peak, but since this picture it has gotten even whiter. I hope the rain predicted today goes not destroy it's bloom. But if it does, there will be countless other wonders to replace it.
The fuschia Azalea beside the Grancy is Pride of Mobile. We got two as rooted cuttings under Miss Dimple's bush more than 20 years ago. Miss Dimple is remembered for her strong Christian life and the hummingbird that nested in her porch fern. These azaleas have persisted in this dry spot and grown bigger every year. I do water them in exceptional dry spells but they nearly always make a good show.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Fern Fiddleheads

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These are so fresh and full of promise. I think these are Ostrich ferns, but they are a wild fern native to our area of central southeast Alabama.

I am overrun with stuff that should have already been done. I'm working on that damn income tax.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009

Wood Hyacinths

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I have quite a few of these wood hyacinths. They are sometimes known as English wood hyacinths. They multiply wonderfully and the more you have, the better the show. They bloom for a long time and come in blue, pink, and white. I prefer the blues,because they are bigger. That could be due to where they are growing though I guess. I wonder if they will survive tonight's frost. We may awake to a blackened world tomorrow.

Yeah!! Escaped the bullet! It was 37 degrees at 6:30 this morning.

Sleeping Bumble Bee

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I caught this bumble bee asleep one morning early in a blossom. He fell asleep the night before and will resume his work when the sun warms him a bit.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Native Azaleas


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Here are some of my native azaleas. The yellow ones have bloomed out more since I took these pictures a few days ago. they are not the greatest in the world, but they are mine and I like them. what I like most is the fragrance, although the flowers are beautiful. When I was a child, these plants were referred to as bush honeysuckles, and they were highly coveted then, too.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Great Pictures




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I received these pictures in an email and wanted you all to enjoy them.
Thanks, Diane!
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