Author: Heather (page 2 of 25)

Suburban Weeds: the path

Near our house is a place we call “the path”. It’s a short stretch of paved path (from about 100 S to 500 S) next to the Lake Creek canal. Being near water, home landscapes, and a couple of ag fields it has quite the assortment of plants present.

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– marvelously monoecious –

monoecious: having male and female flowers/flower parts on the same plant

This might be a good time to talk about flowers. Some flowers have both male (stamen) and female (pistil) parts in the same flower. These are considered “perfect” flowers. An “imperfect” flower is either only male (staminate) or only female (pistillate). A monoecious plant can have either perfect or imperfect flowers, but if they are imperfect both the staminate and pistillate flowers will be present.

The opposite of monoecious is dioecious, where the plant has either staminate or pistillate flowers, but not both. If you find yourself getting the two mixed up, it can be helpful to know that both terms are derived from the Greek “oikos” which means “house”; when combined with “mono” (one) or “di” (two), you get:

 monoecious = one house


dioecious = two houses

In other words, in a monoecious plant the male and female flowers live together in one house (or plant) while in a dioecious plant you will only find one or the other.  

The catkins in the photo are from an alder (my guess is Alnus tenuifolia) I saw on a hike. The male catkins are the pendulous ones while the female ones are more cone-like. Earlier in the spring they would have appeared fuzzy (the males) or small and green (the females), but as they pollinate/get pollinated they turn brown and harder.

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day – 15 June 2020

Each month on the 15th garden bloggers around the world post what’s blooming in their gardens. Here’s what’s blooming in mine. Thanks to the May Dreams Garden Blog for the idea.

I wasn’t sure if I would participate in the Garden Blogger’s Bloom Days posts this year since I’m not in my “own” garden. But, I do have a garden, and I do have things blooming, so here’s a peek into my little rented patch of ground. Since I didn’t plant most of what’s blooming, I don’t know exact cultivar or variety names.

What’s blooming in your garden?

– extensive etiolation –

I love when I know the exact word to describe something, whether that “something” is an emotion, a color, taste, or plant part. To help you feel more confident in the words of the botanical world, I’m starting this Botanical Alphabet series. It may or may not be published in exact alphabetical order.

etiolation: the result of plants being grown in insufficient light; characterized by pale green/yellow color, long week stems.

Sometimes even a bright, sunny, south facing window isn’t enough for your seedlings. In whatever stage they are in, your plants will tell you whether or not they’re getting enough light. And for many plants, the first sign is etiolation: those long, leggy stems.

Incidentally, this is also a good time to talk about phototropism: the ability of the plant to grow towards the light, as it were. If you notice your plants are leaning towards the source of light, just rotate their pot and they’ll straighten back up. Until they start leaning again.

Suburban Weeds: the Jump-Off

For my first “suburban weeds” post, I thought it only appropriate that I focus on the place we fondly call “the jump-off”. A couple of blocks away from our house exists a vacant lot where some industrious youths have built all manner of dirt hills, wooden jumps, and other forms of biking entertainment. We visit the jump-off quite frequently, my three year old and I; not necessarily to ride our bikes (though she sometimes does that on the low hills), but to explore. It’s a great place for exploring. In addition to the bike track and jumps, there’s a ditch running through it, that depending on the water level in the canal just to the east, can either be dry as a bone or have enough water in it to get your feet wet.

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