Saturday, May 31, 2008

Picture Perfect

Today is a day of images. The one at top is so cool I just had to share it, and it looks a flower. I decided that more flowers, real ones we have growing on our deck and elsewhere in the back yard, would be fun to share and in keeping with the theme. (It'll also give me practice in posting photos and manipulation the html code to get them placed properly. A fun way to learn, I hope for you as well as for me.)

That first image is what the title of this blog "looks like" when it's run through the treatment to be found here. I have no idea how it works, or even what the process is, but you can plug any URL into it and come up with these graceful patterns. They grow and build before your eyes like some kind of speeded up, morphed snowflake. The colors vary depending on the ones in the web page you are using. For this I must once again thank The Eclectic Pundit, who never fails to amaze and amuse me with his one-off finds from around the net.

This first real flower I want to show you is called a purple oxalis. I first saw it growing in an office where I once worked and decided I wanted one of my own. It grows like a weed, winter (inside) and summer, and loves it in a shady spot on the deck, where it's only requirement is plenty of water and occasional light fertilizer. This plant is about 10 years old. It grows so prolifically that I can divide it every year and give pieces of it away, so by now it is gracing living rooms and decks in various places around the country. There is a green version, too, with pure white flowers, but I think this one, with its dramatic purple leaves, is prettier.

Next on the tour of the deck is this strawberry pot filled with impatiens and petunias. It's an idea that Steve brought with him, so we've had a variation
of it every year since we've lived together, since 1980. As the season progresses the blooms get thicker and thicker, until it's a virtual chia pet of impatiens by the end of summer. Again, the care is simple, just plenty of water and a little fertilizer. (The petunias in the top are new this year. I didn't buy enough impatiens, and when I went back to the nursery, those colors were sold out. The petunias were a close match in color, and they have the bonus of the heady fragrance of the blue ones. If it all fills in well, I'll do it again next year.)

At the foot of the deck where the sun shines most is this year's single tomato plant, in a tub. That was Steve's idea, too. This was the only way his dad grew tomatoes and I thought I'd try it. I grew tired of tomatoes succumbing to whatever blights attacked it from my garden soil; plus, there is too little sunlight left in the garden for tomatoes, anyway. I didn't want to face a summer with no home-grown tomatoes at all, so this looked like a good solution. I know container gardening for tomatoes is not really news-making, but it's an experiment for me. I hope it works the way it's supposed to.

Towards the back now, to this gorgeous specimen that's been gracing the yard from its pot for three years now. As you sit on the deck, your eye rests immediately on its lacy branches. It overwinters in place, with no attention whatsoever; the only thing it needs to get started in the sapring is a shot of liquid fertilizer. The delicate flowers fade in the extreme heeat of our summers, but they will give a smaller second crop in the fall.(I saved the tag from the nursery, but of course it's gone now. If you know the name I'd love it if you could tell me.)

We come finally to this pair of clematis intertwining at the back of the yard. They, too, are three years old and so still coming into their own; I'm very pleased with the effect of mixing the two blooms. Clematis is so impressive with its huge, showy flowers covering anything its vine can attach itself to. It was a favorite of my mother's--she had one of the classic purple varieties--and I planted one of them as soon as I had a place for it. It's still going strong, twined on a lamp post in the front, where it was planted in 1979.
I started this post at 10 this morning and now, at 2:30, it's fiinally going up. There were a few interruptions: chores and unexpected errands, of course, and then an enormous thunderstorm that took down all out power. I'm going to get this out now while the getting is good! Hope your Saturday is unfolding beautfiully.


Nan said...

how nice to see the plants that adorn your deck and yard. I like the purple oxalis!

Cuidado said...

Your containers look great, Ralph. If it stops raining I'll get some things planted too. I planted sweet pea seeds a month ago. They're doing well.

Anonymous said...

Good post Raff. Hey, did Steve tell you about the crappy tomatoes we CAN'T grow here in Florida. If you get a bumper crop up there like I used to, send me a number and I'll drop you a check. One year I canned 24 quart jars. Great launch, sonic boom pushed us back off the balcony. I see you put up the Platters . . . cool beans. It's almost 8PM here and I haven't seen my kitties in the woods, left them a tuna salad.

Ralph said...

I think sweet peas are beautiful, Cuidado, and they come in so many colors. I need to try them one of these years...

Ralph said...

Thanks, Nan. I have to agree the oxalis is a real dazzler. So great next to a window as a winter plant, too--just keeps on growing and blooming. If you ever see one, get it. If I could, I'd give you some of mine!

Ralph said...

Well, Z&M, according to Steve, his father hadluck with tomatoes in containers down there. Ever tried that?

Very cool about the launch--that's quite a view you guys get, I know!

Tuna salad? You really are trying to domesticate those kitties, aren't you? I hope the tiger stripe sticks around for you.