I am a lover of horticulture, gardening and the environment. At age 8, I sent away for a package of Zinnia seeds for 10 cents and I've been hooked ever since. After 25 years of being self-employed, I retired. That only lasted 4 years and I now work in a water conservation program: I buy grass from homeowners who are willing to convert to desert landscaping and lose that thirsty green stuff. I pursue what interests me and you can blame my sister for getting me into this blogging thing.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Chaste tree and other wonderful flowers in my yard

Here it is, barely the crack of dawn and
I've been meandering around my yard appreciating all the beautiful flowers. I have a wonderful bush/tree growing in my back yard. It's planted so you can see it from our breakfast table on the far side of the pool. It's in its full glory right now. I only planted it 2 springs ago, it was a distressed specimen I got from the nursery for $12. I trimmed off all the dead parts and planted it, now it probably reaches 10 feet tall. It's called a chaste tree, (Vitex agnus-castus). The story goes that the peppercorn seeds it produces were used to keep monk's chaste. So this morning as a passing thought, I was curious and looked it up on Google. It has a Mediterranean origin. This amazing plant was mentioned far back by ancient Greeks and many other cultures. The web site I found mentions the name in 32 languages, from Albanian to Turkish. It was used as a weak pepper substitute though not much in demand nowadays. Anyway, I just wanted to share my beautiful plant with you.

This amazing flower is from the passion vine. I saw one at a Master Gardener friend's house a few years back and really liked it. Some plants need to be right in your face so you can appreciate their complexity. So I planted one right by my front door on a trellis I built of redwood.

I found this plant, an angel wing primrose, on a plant salvage about 10 years ago. The BLM or Bureau of Land Management allows you to harvest plants on land that will be developed for public purposes, like a new road being built. We were new to Nevada and decided this would be an interesting thing to do. At the time, we knew very little about desert plants. This was a little rosette in the ground. I thought it was cute. I had no idea that it was a fragrant, night blooming plant. My original thought was if it was invasive, I could kill it. Of course, this isn't the original, but one of it's many offspring. They volunteer around the yard, something I love.

One more little gem is called Mexican Hat, I took a seed head from a garden I visited. I promised to give it a good home. My garden is never static, it should always be changing and renewing itself, that's what I love about gardens.
Last but not least is the Red Bird of Paradise. As you can imagine, this is a popular plant. These are the first blossoms of the year in my yard.


Blogger Gary said...

Nice pictures. Especially that chaste tree. That is a beautiful plant and I love the way you shot it. Seeing your garden really spurs me on to be as ambitious as I can with mine.

Hope you have a nice week.

May 30, 2006 9:25 AM  
Blogger MrsGreenThumb said...

Thanks Gary, I love the early morning light. I think early or late is the time to shoot photos. It is so much simpler with a digital camera. When the light is very contrasty, I use the flash as well, it fills in the dark areas. I know your garden is a work in progress as mine is.

May 30, 2006 9:36 PM  
Blogger Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Your chaste tree is lovely and I can see why you put it where you could see it from inside. I really love that passion vine with it's unusual flower. It almost looks like it has been's very pretty. All your flowers are pretty.

I have a problem with my is dead after spring. I haven't mastered the art of flowers following flowers. Everything is gorgeous in the Spring then it begins to dwindle to dead stalks and nothing, until August when the hibiscus bushes bloom.

I also buy distressed plants, but for the sole purpose of freeing them from their careless keepers.

I really enjoy reading about your also gives me inspiration to be a better gardener.

May 31, 2006 5:04 AM  
Blogger Motherkitty said...

As always, your pictures are beautiful and your yard is lovely all year round. I am trying to think of a good enough incentive to lure you to KY to help me with my yard. Hasn't happened yet.

Hope you have a good week (what's left of it) and it warms up for you. We had such a stormy day yesterday that we couldn't swim or spend too much time outdoors. The plants loved the rain, though.

Love, Sis

May 31, 2006 5:10 AM  
Blogger bornfool said...

I've never seen anything like that Chaste Tree. It's very beautiful.

June 01, 2006 7:02 AM  
Blogger Alipurr said...

must get my love of plants honestly, from you and mom....though I am not very good with them yet. I say that parts of my yard and flowers flourish in spite of me LOL :}

June 02, 2006 4:22 AM  
Blogger judypatooote said...

Your flowers are gorgeous, and so unusual.....thanks for sharing...

June 27, 2006 12:34 PM  

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