Japanese Anemone hybrid ‘Serenade’

  Last spring I planted two little anemones in a little leftover triangle of soil with the vague hope that they might actually survive and make an otherwise unremarkable corner remarkable. While the one on the left seems to have either succumbed to bad weather or weed competition, this little hybrid Japanese anemone has come back for the second year now. It seems to prefer putting on a show in September, which is just fine with me because that’s usually when all the other flowers in the garden are closing up shop. They are kept purely for ornamental reasons, though …

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Bunny Tractors

After posting about moving Daphne’s pen around as a makeshift lawnmower, I had a few people ask what our outdoor setup is like. So here are a couple pictures of my bunny tractors in a typical configuration. The oldest pens are two Trixie Natura pet runs with matching nest boxes, which I bought for the first two large Finnish angoras, Daisy and Basil. All the bunnies are kept separately except for breeding couples on honeymoon (which is rather seldom). These pens are generously sized but a bit cumbersome to move around by myself, which I have to do every other …

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Field Mouse-ear

The Field Mouse-ear (Cerastium arvense) is an unassuming little flower that I only noticed this year after starting this series of blog posts. Turns out, it’s a chickweed and considered edible (boiled, tastes of spinach, like the rest of the chickweeds) if slightly on the hairy side texture-wise. According to a fascinating profile on MPG North, “astringent juice made from crushed leaves and stems is a mineral-rich tonic and a treatment for painful urination.  A tea of the foliage is analgesic to treat inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and lungs, and to treat uterine bleeding due to miscarriage.  A tea …

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Poppy Parade!

A couple years ago, I visited a friend and was amazed at the gorgeous swath of poppies she had along one side of her house. I asked her how she had managed to get so many and she said she had just scattered some random seed there earlier in the spring because she was in a hurry and didn’t want to think about where to put them. That came as a huge surprise, since it can be so difficult to start fancy poppies from seed or even from live plants bought at the garden center. To see dozens of plants …

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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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