Mallows

Who doesn’t like marshmallows? Floating in your cocoa, shaped into a peep, or toasted over a campfire and smashed into a s’more, we all love the squidgy sweetness. I have always wondered where the name came from. What’s a mallow, and what is it doing in a marsh?

Turns out, Malvaceae is yet another family of plants, and one that most gardeners will recognize.

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It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane…

Red-tailed Hawk_ElPasoCo_LAH_9836r

I thumbed through the field guide. Let’s see… a Red-tailed Hawk is 19 inches, head to tail, with a wingspan of 49 inches. A Rough-legged Hawk is a couple of inches longer, 21 inches tall with a 53 inch wingspan. And a Ferruginous Hawk is larger still, 23 inches tall and 56 inches across.  Or, it could be a Northern Harrier, checking in at 18 inches by 43 inches. So which hawk was it sitting on that pole, silhouetted against the sky? I was glad that there were only a few real options in eastern Colorado at this time of year.  I flipped the page to a Golden Eagle, 30 inches in height, wingspan of 79 inches. No, surely I’d be able to tell if the bird was that large! It had to be a hawk.

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Shhh… the Plants are Listening!

Corn silks_LAHQ: What has ears but cannot hear?
A: A field of corn.

Q: Why is corn such a good listener?
A: Because it’s all ears!

Q: Why shouldn’t you tell secrets on a farm?
A: Because the potatoes have eyes, the corn has ears, and the beans stalk.

Are you groaning yet? We make (bad) jokes about ears of corn, but it appears that plants might really have ears.

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Black & White

Black coleus & White zinnias_DBG-CO_LAH_7679r

Normally, when we visualize a flower garden, we think color—yellow coreopsis, purple catmint, bright red tulips. Or, you could be more subtle, with a refreshing look in myriad shades of white. But how often do you see a garden full of flowers in monochromatic black and white? Yet, that’s one of the combinations offered last summer at Denver Botanic Gardens. And surprisingly, the results were beautiful. Continue reading “Black & White”