I know it’s out of focus but check out that color!

Flower henbit

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.

flower 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.

Flower Creeping Charlie

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.

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Orchid with 21 blooms & 25 buds!

Flower phaius sketch

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?

Flower orchid phaius 2

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!

Meadowlark Lemon is a color!

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Have you ever seen a more wonderful lemon color? Shouldn’t it be called Meadowlark Lemon? 3/1/17 a pair of Eastern Meadowlarks stalked through our lawn, probing the ground for insects with their long, sharp bills.

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On the ground, their brown and black dappled upper parts camouflage the birds in the dry grasses. This was my first view, so hard to see I got out my spotter scope. That allowed me to try to take some photos through the scope with my iPhone.  Hard to do but worth trying.

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This is the mate. They are chunky, medium-sized songbirds with short tails and a sweet, lazy, repertory of flute-like whistles. The Eastern male meadowlark sings 50-100 songs. Sounds like we should compare the Eastern Meadowlark with the Northern Mockingbird! Both like to sing from exposed perches.

bird-meadowlark-pair

Male and female look alike. We rarely see them.I keep records in our Sibley. Prior sightings were 3/31/05, 3/18/10, and 3/22/14.

 

What a difference a day makes!

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Bradford pear blossoms are everywhere today!  They are the perfect tear-drop shaped trees in heavy bud or flower like snowstorms all along the edges of practically every main road and highway in the area. I think they are most dense between DC and Baltimore.  These invasive trees are the first to bloom in the spring and the last to shed their colorful red, yellow, orange and purple leaves  in the fall. The tough leaves thickly blanket the ground, preventing all other plants from growing anywhere near them. One of the reasons you don’t want to plant them in your yard is their trunks break easily in a strong wind. FYI, after discovering them in China, Mr.Bradford loaded his tree specimens on a ship but passed away before he could travel back to the United States. Unfortunately his trees made it safely.

flower-bradford-pearYesterday they were just getting started around here. They are FAST!

Meet my crazy orchid

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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.