A Few Random Flowers

Posted by Jordan | Friday, June 27, 2008 | , , | 0 comments »

Here are a few random flower pictures from out in the garden. The first flowers are from a new Sempervivum tectorum (Hens and Chicks) Plant that I bought a few weeks ago. I just love the intricacy and color of these flowers since they are unlike any other flower I have seen thus far in my life. Unfortunately, the flowers don't seem to last for that long on this plant so I'm lucky I got the pictures when I did. The "pot" that this plant comes in is not the most attractive one I have ever seen, but once I find a better spot for it outside then it will hopefully blend in and then hopefully the ugly pot won't be as noticeable.

The second plant featured in this post is an Allium schoenoprasum or Chives. I have always had chives growing ever since I was a child and not only do I like the taste of chives, but I like the flowers as well. If you look at the larger version of the picture you can see how colorful and delicate the flower is when it is looked at up close.

There will be more posts about flowers as well as posts about the vegetables growing out there.

A Birthday Surprise with Googly Eyes

Posted by Jordan | Thursday, June 26, 2008 | , | 0 comments »

For my birthday on Tuesday, my wonderful girlfriend Annah decorated my office at work. Part of the decorating included taping googly eyes to my plants at work. I took pictures of a few of them for you to see. She and I both think that the first picture, which is the Ficus retusa, turned out the best.

She got the idea from a skit from Saturday Night Live from a few months back called "Indoor Gardening Tips from a Man Who's Very Scared of Plants" that I have found and you can watch it here:

The googly eyes were just one of the many surprises in my office on my Birthday, but they were a great idea for me since I'm so into plants!

Mushrooms in the yard...

Posted by Jordan | Saturday, June 14, 2008 | | 0 comments »

While looking in the garden yesterday, I noticed that some mushrooms were growing in one section that receives partial sun, and was surprised because we don't normally see mushrooms growing out there. We're no expert in mushrooms (or fungi) so we have not been able to identify the exact type of mushrooms, but they look interesting. The past few weeks have been pretty wet around here and the sunshine just returned yesterday so these mushrooms probably won't be around for much longer. In parts of Southeastern Minnesota the flooding isn't as bad as Cedar Rapids and Des Moines, Iowa but there are certain towns that have received their own share of flooding around here. If the wet weather continues I'm sure we'll be in store for some more mushrooms, but we'll keep our fingers crossed that we won't have any flooding around here.

There was a period of time after I purchased my African Violets that the flowers died back and I had four plants with no flowers. However, after transferring them to African Violet pots and after adding fertilizer to each plant's water, two of the four have now produced some beautiful flowers. Hopefully the two other African Violets will be blooming shortly. The two I have blooming are a pinkish and white African Violet and a dark purple one. The other two are a darker pink and white colored one.

The growing conditions for these plants is currently a little indoor greenhouse (similar to this one) and growing them in there seems to keep the humidity up and provide the conditions which they like.

Enjoy the photos below!

Every spring, usually in the late part of May through the first few weeks in June, this lovely flower graces my parent's garden with beautiful yellow flowers. This plant is a type of orchid called the Yellow Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum). According the Minnesota DNR Website there are:

"Two varieties of Yellow Lady-slippers in Minnesota. Perennial to 23" tall. One to several stems in a clump. Leaves 2 to 6 per stem, ovate, 3"-8" long. One to two flowers per stem; flowers with conspicuous yellow inflated pouch (or lady’s slipper); bloom in May-June. Found most often in mesic (moderate moisture) hardwoods and conifer swamps, occasionally in roadside ditches."

I can tell that my parents have the smaller variety of Cypripedium parviflorum Regardless, I think the MN DNR website I think incorrectly identifies these Yellow Lady Slipper's as being Cypripedium calceolus, but from doing a little more research I think this is incorrect because at Wikipedia (even though it is not the best source in the world) it says:
"Cypripedium calceolus sensu stricto ("in the strict sense") does not occur in North America. The closely related Cypripedium parviflorum and C. pubescens are often still referred to as subspecies or variety of C. calceolus."
and to further suggest that the MN DNR is incorrect is this link from the USDA which labels it as being Cypripedium parviflorum Salisb. or the Lesser Yellow Lady's Slipper.

I was concerned that this plant might be illegal to possess outside of it's natural habitat, but through some research it was determined that "...yellow lady’s-slippers are not listed as rare species in Minnesota" and are therefore supposedly not protected from collection or harvest by the state Endangered Species Act in the State of Minnesota, which is good.

I don't recall ever seeing Yellow Lady's Slippers out in the woods, but then again I probably haven't looked that closely. Nevertheless, I think they are a beautiful flower, even though they might not be as pretty as their cousin the Showy Lady's Slipper or Cypripedium reginae (photo on the right). The Showy Lady's Slipper is the State Flower of Minnesota. I haven't personally seen the Showy Lady's Slipper in person, but it would be a delight to be able to. Perhaps Annah and I will try to go find one this weekend!

Photo Credits: Yellow Lady's Slipper were taken by Jordan, the Showy Lady's Slipper photo is from the Minnesota Secretary of State's website.