Tag Archives: wild flowers

Tiny Flowers

Some of the tiniest flowers are some of the most beautiful. Because they are so small, they usually grow in clusters, but not always. Some tiny flowers often mimic other flowers in appearance. Take this one, for example. Is it an orchid?

ginger-flower-mlm-c

No, it’s just one of a large cluster of the orchid-like blooms of variegated ginger (Alpinia zerumbet variegata). These flowers and their buds hang like clusters of grapes. This is a hugely popular plant, and my post about how to prune and care for it is my most popular blog post. To see it, click right here.  Please note: No part of this plant is edible.

 

aggie-sweep-mlm-c

This one Lily of the Nile, or Aggie because of its botanical name Agapanthus africanus. It is one of my late-spring/early summer favorites. These tiny blossoms grow in large globes called “umbels” with up to 100 tiny flowers in each umbel. For my post on growing Aggies, click right here.

 

Shamrock Flowers - mlm c@

These are the delicate, tiny white flower of Shamrocks (Oxalis regnellii) – another of my favorites. They typically bloom in spring here in the Southeastern United States. Mine, however, are confused by our fluctuating temperatures. They have been blooming off and on since November.

Another one of my favorites is the wild violet (Viola papilionacea):

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These tiny woodland flowers are the harbinger of spring in most places, but here in central Florida, they bloom intermittently all year. They produce blossoms ranging from white to deep blue-violet. Wild violets need shade from the harsh afternoon sun, but can take morning sun. They are native to rich woodland soil, so they don’t care for the sandy soil found here. I grow them in rich black soil that I had brought in to amend my planting beds. They re-seed themselves easily, and will spread rapidly if you let them. If you have a place where moss grows, wild violets will be very happy there. I don’t mind them popping up all over my flower beds underneath larger plants, but when they get into the turf grass (and they will) they have to go.

No Clusters Here:

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This is one of the tiny flowers that does not bloom in clusters. It is the flower of Purple Queen (Tradescantia pallida purpurea) one of many variations of Wandering Jew, a plant that grows in a trailing pattern. It makes a good ground cover, but suffers in winter, even here in Zone 9a. This plant would be beautiful drifting over a retaining wall, or cascading from a hanging pot.

Another Wandering Jew (with small clusters):

variegated-wandering-jew-mlm-c

Variegated Wandering Jew (Tradescantia zebina), is the version most people are more familiar with. It, too, makes beautiful hanging baskets, and is a good summer ground cover. A hard freeze will kill it, though.

No Longer a Mystery Plant:

The name of this plant with beautiful blue and white tiny flowers was a mystery to me, but two of my readers have told me the name of it (see the comments below).  It is called Asiatic Dayflower (Commelina communis). The flowers last only one day, but each day there are many more. Many flowers that are called blue are actually a shade of purple or blue-violet. This one is a true blue.

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It was in the yard of a home we bought near Birmingham, Alabama, several years ago. I accidentally brought it with me from Alabama in the pot with another plant where it had evidently dropped some seed. It re-seeds itself easily — too easily. It quickly took over two of my flower beds and a hydrangea. I had to pull it up and put it in the trash. Not the compost. The trash can. It took two summers of pulling up its new seedlings before I was completely rid of it. I’ve learned that it is often considered a weed. That’s definitely understandable. It would be great, however, for a wildflower meadow or an area where erosion is a problem, so I’m convinced that all plants have a purpose. We just have to learn what it is.

Tiny Flowers vs. Large Flowers

Large flowers are gorgeous and showy, but large amounts of tiny flowers can be just as pretty. You simply need more of them to make a nice showing. Many wild flowers are tiny, and would be beautiful in the home garden. The drawback, though, is that they re-seed themselves and reproduce like crazy, so they can become invasive if not kept in check. See you in the garden.

 

Mountain Flowers

A Little Color - mlm c@We just returned last week from a wonderfully relaxing trip to the North Carolina mountains, more specifically Blowing Rock, NC. We hoped, but didn’t expect to see much fall color. To our delight, while there was only a little, there was far more than expected.

Orange-Green Branch - mlm c@

We usually stay in local bed and breakfasts or the Chetola Lodge. This year, we rented a cabin near Boone, NC. The weather was lovely:  70’s in the day and high 60’s at night. For the first time since childhood, we slept with the windows open.

Front Porch - mlm c@

Of course, I Snapped Photos of Flowers Everywhere We Went

Geraniums - wht w pink ctr - mlm c@Dahalia - white - mlm c@Blowing Rock has plants and flowers everywhere, and I do mean everywhere. Nowhere is there any ugly gravel or bare dirt. The town has a very active garden club that keeps the area beautified year ’round. Hostas and ferns abounded, but petunias, geraniums, poppies, candytuft, purple and white coneflowers, impatiens, and nasturtiums, to name a few. The beds looked slightly like small English gardens because of the way the flowers of complementary colors tumbled over each other.

Brown-Eyed Susan

Brown-Eyed Susans - mlm c@

Balloon Flower
Balloon Flower - mlm c@

See how the bud is puffed up like a tiny balloon? It gets larger and larger until it pops open. I had these in my garden in the Charlotte, NC, area. I’ll have to find out whether or not I can grow them here in central Florida.

Autumn Joy Sedum
Autumn Joy Sedum - mlm c@

This is another flower I grew when we lived in NC. There are many types of sedum, and this one is my favorite. Sometime in late July or early August the flowers open to a pale pink. They gradually become darker pink, and finally almost a maroon color that is perfect for fall gardens. I haven’t seen it in gardens around here, or in garden centers, so I suspect it may not do well here. Darn it!

We Explored the Mountains Again, Too.

Did you know that, a few million years ago, the Appalachians were taller than the Rockies were at their highest point? The Rockies, too, have begun to lose height at a rate of about 1/2 inch every 10 years or so. I learned that little tidbit when we lived in Colorado.

The tallest point we reached was at Rough Ridge Overlook where the elevation is 4,293 feet above sea level. Entering Blowing Rock from the south on US Hwy. 321, the Eastern Continental Divide elevation is much lower.

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Eastern Continental Divide - mlm

Entering Blowing Rock from the south, we were just barely into the mountains.

We drove up onto the Blue Ridge Parkway and looked out over the Blue Ridge Mountains, and walked a short trail where we saw many beautiful, but unfamiliar wild flowers.

Appalachian Wild Flowers

Here are some of the mountain wild flowers we saw. All were growing in dense shade. I still need to learn their names. Because they are native to a colder climate, and higher elevations, they will likely grow well in a lot of places, but not here in central Florida where we are less than 100 feet above sea level.

Wild Flowers at Viaduct - orange mlm c@

This one looks to me like a tiny orchid. Unfortunately, this was the best shot I could get. I had left my micro lens in the car, and had to lean out over a lot of snaky-looking weeds to shoot this one.

 

Viaduct Wildflowers Budded - mlm c@

I would have loved to have stayed long enough to see what this one looks like when the the buds open.

Wild Flowers at Viaduct - yellow mlm c@

We’re back home now, trying to catch up on work that was left behind. I love it here, but I miss the mountains sometimes, too. We’ve decided to go back every year, but a bit later in the season for more color. Also, so we can use the fireplace in the cabin. It just wasn’t cool enough this time. We also can’t wait to go back to some of the restaurants we discovered while there. I will write about those, but in a food-related blog/website that I am building.  It’s not yet ready for prime time.

I cut more basil today, so I need to go now and dry it. Gotta have plenty to last through the winter, you know.