Wild Columbine

29 04 2009

Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), photographed at the Huntsville Botanical Garden—this beautiful perennial, native to the U.S., flowers in spring and is a favorite of moths and butterflies. It grows from a thin, woody rhizome and can be found on rocky ledges, slopes and low woods. The spurs of the petals contain nectaries and are attractive to insects with long proboscises.

From the website, www.rook.org:

Aquilegia, from the Latin, aquilinum, “eagle like,” because the spurs suggested the talons of an eagle to Linnaeus; OR, from the Latin word for “water collector,” alluding to the nectar in the spurs of its petals.

canadensis, from the Latin, “of Canada”

Columbine, from the Latin columba, “dove,” the spurred petals perhaps having suggested a ring of doves around a fountain.

    © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

    columbinelorez





    Peekaboo

    28 04 2009

    Yet another case of “I didn’t see that little guy when I was getting this shot.” Look in the center of this Siberian Iris—there’s a tiny green bug staring directly at you! I’m pretty sure this little bug is a Katydid nymph Scudderia. I photographed him/her at the Huntsville Botanical Garden last week.

    Click here to see what one looks like up close and personal in a photograph I shot and posted on my blog last year.

    © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

    bugwhiteiris1





    Judy, Simon & Beyond the Garden Gate

    28 04 2009

    Sue and I met Judy and Simon while out window shopping in Little Rock last week. Judy is the proprietor of Beyond the Garden Gate, located at 5619 Kavanaugh Blvd. in The Heights section of Little Rock. The shop sells silk flowers, plants, trees, and unique decorating accessories. The one-year-old daschund serves as the unofficial store greeter and was such an energetic and sweet pup. Judy says lots of people return to see Simon but don’t always purchase anything because they get so distracted playing with him! I told her she needs to wear a t-shirt that reads, “Please buy something—Simon needs kibble!”

    So if you happen to be in the area, stop by and see Judy, Simon, and all the wonderful items for sale. And for Simon’s sake, buy something!

    © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

    judy-simon





    Ruffles have ridges

    28 04 2009

    The leaves on this tree reminded me of Lay’s potato chips because of the pronounced veins. I photographed this not-yet-identified tree this past week at Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

    © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

    ruffledleaveslimegreen





    Japanese Roof Iris

    27 04 2009

    The Japanese Roof Iris (Iris tectorum) is native to China. It was first discovered in the 1860s, growing in Japan on thatched roofs, hence the common name. Below is an excerpt from a newsletter article by Gerald Klingaman, former extension horticulturist for the University of Arkansas, Cooperative Extension Service:

    This charming little plant became known as the Japanese roof iris because that is where it was first observed by a Russian scientist, Carl Maximowicz (1827-1891). He spent three and a half years botanizing in Japan in the early 1860s and introduced numerous Japanese plants to Europe through his base in St. Petersburg.

    In China, apparently the original home of the roof iris where it has been grown since at least seventh century, the plant grows on the ground like any sensible iris. But in Japan, it was found growing on the ridges of their thatched roofs.

    Apparently this tradition started in Japan because of a decree by a Japanese emperor during a period of wartime when it became illegal to waste land growing flowers. All available land had to be used for rice or vegetables.

    The main reason for growing the plant was not for its flowers, but for a white powder that was made by grinding the roots. The makeup used to create the white faces of the Geisha girls was made from the rhizomes. So, the plants moved from the garden to the roofs where it remained until being “discovered” by science.

    This evergreen perennial is hardy to zone 5 and flowers from April to May. The 4-inch wide lavender flowers (‘Alba’ is the white cultivar) bloom for about two weeks. Growing just 12-14 inches tall, the Japanese root iris has a spreading, rhizomatous habit common to most irises. Also known as Wall Iris, the plants grow as well in partial shade as they do in full sun, but they perform best in dappled shade. Great for use in front of a border and in rock gardens, they prefer soil that is high in organic matter. Seeds can be collected in late summer and directly sown into the garden.

    I photographed this beautiful flower on a shady walking trail in Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs, Arkansas last week. Garvan Woodland Gardens is a 210-acre wooded peninsula on Lake Hamilton. The Gardens were the vision of founder and benefactress, Verna Cook Garvan, who donated her property under a trust agreement to the University of Arkansas School of Architecture in 1985.

    © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

    purpleirisgarvanlorez





    Afternoon glow

    27 04 2009

    I shot these beautiful red leaves on one of the 60 types of Japanese Maple trees at Garvan Woodland Gardens on Lake Hamilton, surrounded by the Ouachita Mountains, in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

    © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

    japanesemapleleaves





    Upside down swan

    27 04 2009

    Cloudspotting in downtown Hot Springs, Arkansas, April 23, 2009. Crazy about clouds too? Check out The Cloud Appreciation Society!

    © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

    swancloud