Meadow Vetchling

Remember how I was bemoaning my inability to grow sweet peas and how I had to be content with its cousins like tufted vetch? Well, a little after those bloomed, these came on the scene! Meadow vetchling (Lathyrus pratensis) could be called a sibling of the garden sweet pea, being from the same genus. You can even see it in the very similar shape of the flowers. It isn’t scented, but the bright yellow color makes it stand out from the rest of its kind. They don’t serve much purpose, other than to look pretty and be used occasionally for animal …

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Hybrid Rugosa Rose ‘F.J. Grootendorst’

Hybrid Rugosa Rose ‘F.J. Grootendorst‘ seems like a huge mouthful of name for such a smallish flower, but there you go. I think this is the first year this shrub rose has even put on a decent display. Like many other plants in the garden, it seems to have benefited from the mild summer. Of all the roses I’ve mentioned so far, this is probably my least favorite. I let it stay where it is mostly because of its unique appearances — you see plenty of other flowers bred to look like roses, but you rarely see roses bred to look …

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Dotted Loosestrife

Dotted Loosestrife (Lysimachia punctata) is another plant from our inherited perennial collection. It is completely unrelated to Purple Loosestrife, which I previously posted about, yet given the same colloquial name because both plants are used for similar purposes as traditional medicinal herbs. They both are dried and used for gastrointestinal problems as well as to wash wounds. The two plants grow right next to eachother in our garden and the colors complement eachother nicely. Not only do they go together well in a bouquet, but apparently they can go together in an herbal tea as well! I love that these …

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Purple Loosestrife

Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) is native to Finland, considered harmless and ornamental. Oddly enough, it is labeled an invasive species in the States, much in the same way that lupines are here. Regardless of weed status, we have these in our perennial border and I think the purple spikes are pretty! The flowers have a long history of medicinal usage, especially for digestive tract complaints. They can also be used for various external healing purposes — skin, eyes, and nosebleeds. Sounds like a floral version of aloe vera gel, come to think of it. That puts this plant firmly on my list of herbs to …

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Maltese Cross

Maltese Cross (Lychnis chalcedonica) is another one of the cottage garden perennials that came with our property. Every year it sets out the brightest red bunches of flowers out of any plant in the garden. They contrast beautifully with the blue iris they are planted next to and are fairly long-lasting in floral arrangements. They were the perfect “red” for my July 4th themed bouquet this year and I will be using it much more liberally next year, now that I know how well it performs. For more practical uses, the roots contain enough saponins to create a washing liquid …

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Roses are red.

Not always, but the ones I planted this year are. The house I grew up in had lots of rose bushes. We could have cut flowers for most of the year because they didn’t really go dormant or need to be cut down for winter. They would just keep getting bigger and bigger — I remember six-foot hybrid teas with fragrant blooms that put florist roses to shame. My attempts at growing container roses in Finland, on the other hand, have not gone very well so far. I am giving it another try, though. This time, I’ve allocated a sunny, sheltered spot …

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Foxglove success!

One of my favorite flowers, common garden foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), is native to most of temperate Europe and a classic cottage garden plant, so I was rather surprised to not find it already established when we moved in. I set myself to fixing that oversight as soon as I could. It took a few years more than I’d originally planned, but we finally had an awesome show of blooms from them this year! Planted in spring of 2013, from a packet of bargain bin seeds bought at the local supermarket. This is one of the reasons I like to post in-process …

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The 2015 harvest season begins!

This year’s harvest season started a little late, thanks to the mild spring extending into a cooler-than-normal summer. Along with the regular rainfall, this led to abundant flowers that resulted in what is looking like a bumper crop for many of our fruits. Above, my first strawberry harvest from the first weekend of July. These strawberries are typically ready by mid-June. However, once they started, I was pretty much out in that strawberry field every few days keeping those plants picked clean. Half of them went into the freezer for later use (mostly the ugly ones, which are better for incorporating …

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July Garden Bouquets

I thought the peony and lilac bouquets from last month were fragrant, but this burnet rose and honeysuckle combination from earlier in the month nearly blew our noses off. Felt like walking into a florists’ fridge when we came in the front door 🙂 Pity that the flowering season for these is so short — I will have to be more indulgent with my cutting next year! A cheery entryway combo for Independence Day weekend: white oxeye daisy, blue dutch iris, and red Maltese Cross. Long-lasting, too! Another entryway bouquet of mixed old-fashioned blooms collected during a morning stroll. Purple Loosestrife, yellow …

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Daphne, the furry weed whacker.

Every summer, the weeds start to overtake the paving stones that form a path down the side of our house between the outer wall and a row of hostas. Here, you see how far gone it has gotten as of last week, with still a couple of months worth of growing season to go. Then it occurred to me that we have a very eco-friendly, low-effort/high-reward solution. Her name is Daphne. Not only do my angoras provide substantial wool harvests, they are also voracious lawnmowers. Over the course of last week, I advanced her down the path, starting from the …

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