September 2004

That’s my boy!

– Posted in: What's up/blooming

This is eleven-year-old Evan with one of the two pumpkins he grew this year. Of all my children, Evan showed a botanical aptitude the earliest, learning the names of flowers as a toddler and impressing my garden buddies when he came along to visit their gardens. At the moment he's more of a vegetable man, [...]

Update from the Upper Peninsula

– Posted in: Plant info, Weather

First, some more plants in lawns: tansy, yarrow, prickly lettuce and a green flowered knotweed. Also, in Peterson's Field Guide to Wildflowers, pigweed and lamb's quarters are interchangeable common names. That's the joy of common names. The scientific name is Chenopodium album. We're still having a slow year. Usually the leaves are well on their [...]


– Posted in: Forsythia

This is a photo of my Forsythia 'Meadowlark' blooming--sparsely, I grant you, but nevertheless blooming--in September. If I hadn't been checking for signs of the colchicums recently planted in this area, I'm sure I never would have noticed the yellow blossoms, so it is entirely possible this shrub has done this other years without my [...]

Present and Accounted For

– Posted in: Colchicums

Colchicum 'Autumn Herald' finally made an appearance, kind of late to be a herald, but a relief to me. Only one blossom so far--perhaps it's not thriving? Or perhaps I'm too impatient. After all, this first blossom has scarcely colored up yet. The first of the transplanted 'Lilac Wonder's is blooming, and doesn't look floppy [...]

Colchicum autumnale ‘Alboplenum’

– Posted in: Colchicums, Plant info

I got this in 1997 for about twice what Russell Stafford is selling it for this year. I hope that means stocks worldwide are increasing, because everyone should have some of these beauties around. Two words in the Odyssey Bulb catalog description don't apply to mine: "pink-tinged" and "October." I have never seen even a [...]


– Posted in: Colchicums, Plant info

I actually purchased this from Odyssey Bulbs in 2002. It bloomed nicely that fall, and if I remember correctly, the leaves came up in spring. But after that, it was no more. Since I planted that first one, I've come to realize two things. The first is that the ell of the house, where I [...]

Herbaceous Perennials Database

– Posted in: Recommended Links

Check out theHerbaceous Perennials Database created by Allison Mayer, a grad student at Cornell. The site documents data collected from the test plots at Blue Grass Lane maintained by Cornell students and staff, and "focuses mostly on lesser-known or recently introduced perennial cultivars and their performance in Ithaca's Zone 5." Lots of photographs to help [...]

Fall Rituals

– Posted in: Events

My mother and I have just done our fall pear canning, something we have done longer than I can remember, and I'm sure many other families in that house have done over the hundred years or so of the tree's life. I played under its branches as a toddler and climbed in it when in [...]

Colchicum speciosum ‘Ordu’

– Posted in: Colchicums

Sigh. Whenever I see this flower, I immediately think of a ballerina, slender and graceful, with a touch of pink. According to Russell Stafford, 'Ordu' is "the hardiest C.speciosum cultivar, named after the Turkish district whence it came." And yet, I can't help thinking of the enchantress Orddu from the Prydain Chronicles created by Lloyd [...]

‘Violet Queen’

– Posted in: Colchicums, Plant info

Colchicum 'Violet Queen' is also blooming now. It started a day or two after 'Autumn Queen.' Last year, 'Violet Queen' and 'Autumn Herald' bloomed at the same time. This year, VQ is blooming its head off, and AH has yet to make an appearance. I sure hope it's not a goner. This year, I cut [...]