A few weeks ago, I wrote that I intended to verify claims that purslane (Portulaca oleracea) has “amazing health benefits.” I had read an article about this supposedly nutritional plant that seemed a little too good to be true. Being ever the skeptic, I dug in—and learned some things. I’ll use this as a case study on how to verify health claims that you read online. Continue reading “Just the Facts, Please”
Bellflower, Campanula sp.
Campanulaceae is a family of plants with members ranging from the towering palm-lobelias of Africa to cottage garden flowers with names from a child’s book of fairytales: Canterbury bells, Cup and Saucer Vine, Harebells, and Fairy’s Thimbles. Two familiar genera, Campanula and Lobelia, are members of this family.
Continue reading “Campanulaceae: Beautiful Bellflowers, Lovely Lobelia”
I just spent two weeks in the Pacific Northwest. Since our daughter and her family live there, we visit frequently, but typically at Thanksgiving or in mid-winter. This time we managed to arrive in July. What a treat! With blue skies, light breezes, and puffy white clouds, the weather was (mostly) perfect. All that rain during the fall, winter, and spring results in stunning summer gardens, with emerald green lawns and towering trees. And the flowers! Yes, the rhodies and azaleas were done, but the hydrangeas were in full bloom. Everywhere we looked, we saw huge flower clusters of bright pink, magenta, white, and most noticeably, pure sky blue.
Continue reading “Hydrangea Heaven”
Three-leaf Sumac, Rhus trilobata
Red-twig Dogwood, Cornus serica
Oregon Grape-holly, Mahonia repens
What kind of fruit comes in red, white, and blue? Berries, of course!
Blueberries are a huge treat. Our daughter in western Washington grows them by the bucketful, although our granddaughters have a habit of grazing on them in the backyard, so they don’t always make it into the kitchen.
Continue reading “Red, White, and Blue Berries”
What grows one to three feet high, has small blue-green leaves, clusters of pretty yellow flowers, and is a stubborn, nasty, and aggressive noxious weed that is supported by an extensive system of underground stems? Probably the only good news is that it isn’t typically a weed in most landscapes, but if you’ve been out hiking much lately, you’ve likely encountered Leafy Spurge.
Continue reading “Leafy Spurge? Noooo!!!”
In the last week, two people in our local online gardening forum have asked for help identifying the mystery shrub blooming in their yard:
Continue reading “Lovely Lilacs”
A few weeks ago, a friend arrived for dinner bearing a potted plant covered with the most amazing orange flowers. It was supposed to be a gift for my husband, who had recently spent 12 days in the hospital (you can read about that on my other blog), but I couldn’t take my eyes off the huge, intensely colored blooms. I’m pretty familiar with most common plants, especially ones sold in pots, already in bloom, however I didn’t recognize this one at all. What in the world could it be?
Continue reading “This Houseplant Deserves a Star!”