Sunday, May 22, 2011

Savoring the Wildflowers and Nature's Beauty

Week 2, baby 4x4 garden plot, on 5/14/11

Apple Blossoms, taken on 5/15/11
Last week I checked on my very young garden and savored some gorgeous blossoms on an apple tree nearby. Apple trees are major members of the rose family, or Rosaceae of which there are about 2000 variations of apples.

It's too soon to do much of anything with the garden but anxiously watch for weeds and pluck them as they emerge. Yesterday I took another look and staked one of the big tomato plants. We have 2 Early Girl plants, 2 Beefsteak plants (still pretty little), Italian basil, Brussels sprouts and Swiss chard.

Wild Strawberries, members of the rose family
  We also spotted quite a bit of hardy yellow-flowered Black Mustard, a relative of cauliflower, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, as all are in the Brassica family. Black mustard usually begins to bloom in June, so it seems we're getting an early start up here on the Plateau. This is surprising given we are at about 1900 feet in elevation. I haven't seen any yet but the white-flowered Garlic Mustard grows up here, too.

Wild Strawberries with their white blossoms are scattered among loose stones by the road. These tiny members of the rose, or Rosaceae family share genetic inheritance with apples, pears, blackberries and raspberries, and the stone fruits.
Blue-Eyed Grass, tiny iris relatives
Right by the roadside we saw quite a few bunches of the small Blue-Eyed Grass, a member of the iris family called Sisyrinchium. I had not been aware this was an iris relative.

My main source of information today, against which I checked my photos, is the National Audubon Society Field Guide to Wildflowers, Eastern Region, a comprehensive guide to wildflower identification in this part of North America.

Black Mustard, blooming early

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