Henbit is an early spring-blooming edible member of the mint family. Members of the mint family have square stems. (Feel them!) The flowers look like fairy orchids. Hens love them. They also provide urgently needed nectar and pollen to early arriving hummingbirds and honeybees. I will get a better photo. They often grow near chickweed and are regularly confused with dead-nettles.
Dead-nettles are also members of the mint family. Their blossoms peak out from under fuzzy, edible leaves. The leaves turn reddish-purple as the season progresses. It’s Greek name, Lamium purpureum, means “the purple monster’. Sometimes they cover a plowed field, turning it completely purple. Watch along the road as you drive through farmland.
No, it’s not a Johnny-Jump-Up! Too early for violets here but not too early for Creeping Charlie. Often called ground-ivy because of the way it covers the ground, this edible member of the mint family has many names: Creeping Charlie, gill-over-the-ground, alehoof, tunhoof, cat’s foot, field balm and run-away-robin. It was among the first herb and edible plants brought to North America by early settlers.
Here’s a coloring project for you! Photo below provided as a guide or just do your own thing! Please let me know if you come up with something yummier than this chocolate, vanilla and raspberry orchid?
Have you ever had 21 orchids in bloom in your bedroom- or anywhere else in your life? It was such a crazy realization that I had to count them twice. Then my husband started counting the buds that hadn’t opened yet. More photos to follow in a future blog!
Lichen captured a swamp maple blossom! This lichen is the kind hummingbirds use to construct their nests. Notice the pale green of the algae on top side of lichen and the white of the fungus on bottom side.
Phaius Tankervilleae, Nun Orchid, Nun’s Cap
This genus is composed of 40-50 species widespread through Africa to the Philippines and the Pacific Islands. It is a wide spread genus that for the most part has a pleasing vegetative appearance even out of bloom They are mostly shade loving and terrestrial with a few epiphytes and generally like even watering [see individual species listing]. When in their growth phase weekly fertilizer is recommended year round. Phaius are sympodial and most often terrestrial, with highly variable plant size. The pseudo bulbs are small with new growths arising from the base of the pseudo bulb or from the rhizome. They have large plicate leaves that can be ruffled as well and generally have a pretty out of bloom appearance. The inflorescence arises from the base of the old pseudo bulb or from the rhizome and has its flowers racemose at the end of the spike. Phaius in general has large showy flowers with a pleasant fragrance.
New plants can be obtained from the old spikes, just lay the spike out in a plastic flat filled with sand and half cover them. Keep in a shady moist area and in 1-2 months the new plants will appear from the nodes of the spike.
I may actually try this. Meanwhile you will see more of my orchid as its buds continue to open.
The world is unfolding! Bradford pear, a terrible invasive from China, brought to US because it is so lovely…
Pussy willows are my weakness so I had to start my Spring Flower Show of Southern MD with them! These were cut from a bush I am trying hard to protect from local beavers.
Then come the camellias. These are the only two varieties that have survived a string of harsh winters and they only bloom if the winter is mild. One cold snap at the wrong moment and all the buds freeze, leaving us to dream about what could have been if only…
Cora’s winter jasmine are a reliable special treat. Somehow they always bloom, no matter what the weather does.
Not many people are happy to see swamp maples in full bloom. It means tree allergy season has arrived. But they are amazingly beautiful, sparkling gold against red.
And for all you wild edibles lovers, the tiny white blossoms covering the ground are a reminder to collect and enjoy winter cress right now, before it goes to seed.
Last but not least is a cabbage left over from the Winter Flower Show! Who could resist that color?! Please sign up for my blog so you don’t miss a day!
I suppose you need a Saffron Crocus but I am still recommending my neighbor collect the stigmas from her lovely crocuses just in case they work! The following information is from White Flower Farms, who I love and who sells actual Saffron Crocuses.
Harvesting and Using Saffron: Three stigmas are borne in the center of each purple, cup-shaped bloom. The best time to harvest the stigmas is mid-morning on a sunny day when the flowers have fully opened and are still fresh. Carefully pluck the stigmas from the flowers with your fingers, then dry them in a warm place to preserve them for cooking. Store in a closed container. To use saffron, steep the threads in hot liquid (water, broth, or milk, depending on the recipe) for about 20 minutes. Add both the threads and the steeping liquid early in the cooking or baking process, and the threads will continue to release their color and flavor.