Sunday, May 10, 2015

NURTURING TINY TREASURES

I've always preferred the tiny flowers to large showy blooms. I have memories of my childhood lying in the grass and looking for scarlet pimpernels. I didn't know then that one day I would have them in my own garden and consider them a weed. But why I wonder, they are pretty little flowers when seen up close.

Scarlet pimpernel, Anagallis arvensis.
When I received a prize at the age of 11, in my first year in high school, it was natural for me to spend the money( it had to be at the local book store) on a wild flower book and I chose The Observers Book of Wild Flowers. I still have the book.


I am still a lover of tiny flowers. These sedums, with their starry flowers found a perfect niche in this broken rock. I purposefully left the gap when the rock broke as it was being brought into the garden.


Sedum potosinum, forms a neat mat of evergreen leaves which burst into bloom in the spring. It is easily propagated by breaking off a small piece and tucking into the soil.


Left unchecked it will spread to cover the ground but can be easily controlled.


Thymes also work well between pavers their roots protected by the stones.


 These plants flower at ground level but tiny flowers may go unnoticed unless brought to eye level and one way to do this is plant on top of a retaining wall.


Several years ago I found this little native blue gilia, Gilia rigidula, growing under some cedar trees. I transplanted it to this area where it has spread modestly over the years. It bloomed prolifically a few weeks ago and will bloom again on and off through the rest of the season.



I have not seen this plant at nurseries or even at the Wildflower Center, maybe due to its fragility. 
A few bluebonnets bloomed here this year due to the more open nature of the area after the loss of some Spanish oak trees.
And what a lovely surprise to see a bloom stalk on my grandfather's pipe, Callisia fragrans.


The flowers are so complicated I'm not sure if it is compound and whether they are petals, sepals or tepals.


And who can forget the little flowers on the Mammilaria cactus. When I spotted these bright little flowers on my thumb cactus they were barely visible hanging from the fireplace hearth.


 I moved it up onto a ledge where its little flowers could be admired.


Do you have tiny treasures in your garden? If not it may just be that they are there but you haven't noticed them.

10 comments:

  1. Oh yes, the tiny flowers are fascinating. What a lovely story about your book. The Gilia rigidula are so pretty. After attending a wildflower walk with focus on the tiny blooms at our local park I was glad I had not pulled some "weeds" which turned out to be Venus' Looking Glass/Triodanis perfoliata. They will be left to pop up their tiny purple flowers each spring along with several others I learned more about that day.

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    1. Venus' Looking Glass. I must check that one out. I wonder if it grows around here. It's all to easy to miss those little flowers and there are so many of them.

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  2. What a sweet post... It is absolutely no surprise that the book you chose as a child was about wild flowers but who in their wildest dreams back then could have guessed that same promising 11 year old girl would end up living and gardening so close to the birthplace of the First Lady of WIldflowers, in Central Texas!

    I'm always charmed by tiny flowers. They are like secrets shared with those who will take the time (and potentially, stoop down low enough) to discover them. Some of my favorites are also considered weeds - bristly mallow with its diminuitive peach colored blooms is one, and the tiny yellow stars on horseherb is another.

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    1. Yes, the small peach flowered mallow. I have that one too and lots of horse herb this year, on our septic field. And lots of yellow blooms. There are so many tiny flowers that go unnoticed.

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  3. Replies
    1. I now you treasure all the wildflowers and wonder if you have seen the gilia where you live.

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  4. Tiny treasures indeed! I find small flowers endearing too, perhaps because every sighting feels like I've discovered a secret meant just for me. My latest "secret" discovery were the flowers on Phyla nodiflora (aka lippia).

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    1. Just looked that one up- Turkey tangle frogfruit. I must check out my frogfruit to see if it is one in the same.

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  5. I love all your tiny flowers...thank you for sharing them and making me smile in delight! The little ring of flowers on the thumb cactus is very cool!

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  6. Wow, so very young to be in high school! Love those little blue gilia flowers! I find a lot of tiny treasures in my woods. They are often very fleeting treasures, which makes them all that more dear.

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