This Thing Called Courage

Monday, March 27, 2006

Monday, March 26, 2006

AND A LOVELY DAY IT IS- Already up to 51 here in beautiful Stoneham, not a cloud in the sky, and the gentlest of breezes running about. We could use some rain, but no complaining today: the ankle I twisted miserably last week is much better (we walked 1.5 miles this am) and though I am still in the dregs of this malediction of a bug, it is getting better. But while I have been languishing, my seeds and seedlings have been flourishing-- and isn't that a lovely thought. Garden plants that are not bushes and trees can generally be classified as either perennial (meaning they return every year, dying back in the fall) or annual (meaning they live for one growing season, then die with the first hard frost.) Annuals want to produce seed more than anything, so they tend to bloom their little heads off all summer long, especially if you deadhead them, which is the process of snipping off each flower before it has a chance to set seed; perennials tend to bloom for several weeks, then their show is over until 'same time next year.' Generally speaking, perennial seeds are more difficult to raise, so I am very pleased that so many of my Milkweed seeds (Asclepias syrica) have sprouted (picture at left.)

As mentioned earlier, Milkweed is the only plant that female Monarch Butterflies lay their eggs on; when the larvae hatch out, they eat the leaves of this plant, and this plant alone. Ergo, no Milkweed, no Monarchs; Monarchs, like most other species on the planet (except for people) have been declining lately, due to habitat loss and the introduction and spread of invasive species which push out our native plants, like Milkweed. So...everybody plant Milkweed! Send me an email at and I will tell you how to get free seed.

The plants coming up in the picture on the right are my Zinnia 'Envy' (green-flowered Zinnia) and Morning Glory 'Picatee.' Yay! Still no signs of life from my Nicotiana alata grandiflora-- a stunning six-foot plant of indescribably lovely fragrance, with seeds that are as small as dust.

Later today or tomorrow I will write about 'Big Night for Salamanders.'


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