September 28, 2008

Winding Up The Season

Time to start bringing things indoors. It's been fun watching my tropicals flourish and grow while enjoying the summer sun. Now they'll have to make due with strip lights and a crowded plant table for the winter months. I am already looking forward to spring.

(Left - Plumeria)

(Below - Madagascar Palm, Pachypodium lamerei)

September 22, 2008

Monotropa uniflora - Indian Pipe

What a cool find! While on a mountain biking ride in the woods, I came across this "fungus flower". I thought it was so interesting. It is a Monotropa uniflora, also known as Indian Pipe or Ghost Plant.

I was even more excited when I learned that it is a relatively rare occurrence. It is an herbaceous perennial, recently grouped in the same family as azaleas and rhododendrons. There's a short article about it on Wikipedia. What a wonderful little flower!

September 12, 2008

Plant Identification - ??

Does anyone know what this plant is?

I can't seem to find an identification on it anywhere. I LOVE this plant! It was at a relative's house in Lansing, MI. It is potted outdoors.
She has no clue what it is either.

Any ideas?

September 11, 2008


I bought this years ago as a very small plant from a catalog. It was sold to me as a Billbergia nutans, but I think this is an incorrect identification. The flowers are not the same as photos I have seen of
B. nutans (Queen's Tears).

I will try to find out what this plant actually is, but regardless - it is beautiful and impressive and I love it!

I think I have narrowed this down to a Billbergia kuhlmanii, or perhaps Billbergia zebrina. If anyone knows for sure, please advise.

August 30, 2008

Veggie Garden

I grew my first veggie garden this year. It's a small container garden on the deck of the master bedroom. I started seeds in April and most of them germinated and made it outdoors. My lavendar seeds did not fare so well - two of nine sprouted, one immediately withered, and the other soon after. My three types of peppers have all done wonderfully!

My tomatoes from seed survived, but never thrived. I eventually went out and bought tomato plants. I also bought dill, catnip, chives, and chamomile.

Other seedlings of mine that have done well include blue fescue and Johnny Jump-ups, just for ornamental value.

The biggest problem in my little garden is that our lot has quite a few mature trees. Even though all the plants get light at some time, none of them really get a large amount of light. Yet, I have still gotten a bit of produce.
It's fun and exciting to be enjoying the tasty "fruits" of my labor. I am looking forward to trying again next year with a bit more experience!

July 11, 2008

Bristlecone Pine

I absolutely fell IN LOVE with this tree in Yosemite National Park, California. For as aged and long-lived as it looks (and probably is), it was relatively small - maybe 13 feet? The tree fascinates me. I did not know what it was at the time, but learned later that it is a Bristlecone Pine. Most likely the Great Basin Bristlecone Pine - Pinus longaeva.

These trees are one of, if not THE, longest lived organisms on Earth, reaching an age of nearly 5,000 years! The oldest known living organism is "Methuselah", a Bristlecone Pine in a park in California. The exact location is undisclosed to protect the tree. A tree like this certainly demands respect and admiration!

California Trees

There were several trees in California that stood out to me and really caught my attention.
First, was one that I saw at the San Diego Zoo. I later found it to be a Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo). I loved the colorful, spiky berries. I would love to grown one of these, but they're only hardy to zone 8.
Another tree I really enjoyed was the unusual-looking Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia). I had never seen anything like these and was really intrigued.

I had a chance to see the Giant Sequoias as well (Sequoiadendron giganteum). Unbelievable!
It is impossible to explain, or to even portray in a picture, how increbly HUGE these trees are. I mean, look at it in comparison to me!

One final tree was a favorite of mine. It was in Napa Valley at the winery where we did some wine tasting. I suppose it is not as unusual as the others I've posted, but I thought it was really neat and kept saying how beautiful I thought it was.
But then, I love EVERYTHING after a few glasses of wine.

June 28, 2008

Calypso bulbosa

One of my favorite finds when I go out west. This was my second encounter with the beautiful Calypso bulbosa (Calypso orchid). I simply love these guys! I am always thrilled to see this relatively rare flower scattering the trails in the Rocky Mountains. What a wonderful flower!
I saw these at the Michigan Orchid Show a couple years ago. I would love to try to grow a few. They make me smile. I've heard they can be a bit tricky indoors, though not impossible. Maybe I'll give it a shot.

Another orchid I encountered on the trail in the Rockies is the Spotted Coralroot - Corallorhiza maculata. Not extremely showy, but that's usually my favorite type of flower - one that is the unobvious beauty; nature's intricate little gems.
One final note - I saw this in the same area as the other two flowers. Does anyone know what this is? Perhaps a coralroot emerging? I know there are yellow ones, but I didn't see any other yellows in bloom anywhere around.
(Click photo to enlarge)

June 27, 2008

Denver Botanic Gardens

When in Denver... sure to check out the gardens!

This is surely one of my favorite botanic gardens I have ever been to. It is HUGE! There are so many different "zones" of plants. One could spend an entire day there, or at least I could.

Even after hours there, I left having not seen it all. I guess that just means I'll have to be sure to go back!

June 03, 2008


Just had a little fun taking pictures of the ferns on a quick trip up North to Glennie, Michigan.

I also found this while traipsing through the woods. It reminded me of a small orchid, but I learned that it is not. I had looked it up at one point and found what it was, but I forgot and will have to look it up again.