Category Archives: Flower

Prairie Fire Crabapple Tree

As I have mentioned, life has been very busy with a graduate in the house and I have definitely fallen behind in posting some of the pictures I have taken this spring around the farm.  I wanted to share this photo of the Prairie Fire crabapple tree outside our kitchen window.  This tree is such a delight, particularly when it is in its full blooming glory in late spring.

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I have posted pictures of this tree in the past when it was loaded with honeybees (Our Buzzing Crabapple Tree).  Each spring this tree puts on an impressive show and it never disappoints.  If you are looking for a lovely ornamental tree to add to your landscape, I would highly recommend a Prairie Fire crabapple tree.

Lynell

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Garden Art

Life has been very busy here.  Our middle child graduated from high school a week or so ago and we had her open house a few days later.  Because of our late spring I was frantically trying to get my gardens in order for the party.  During one of my trips to buy annuals and a few other miscellaneous plants, I came across this funky little bird at the garden center.  I do not have a lot of garden art, but this silly piece caught my eye and I bought it.
gardenartAnd I am happy that I did.  Two weeks later and it still makes me smile…so I would say it was definitely worth it.

Lynell

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Apple Trees and Abundant Blossoms

Our four apple trees are in full bloom.  We don’t know a lot about apple trees and honestly have not had that great of luck with apples through the years.  Back in 2000, when we first purchased the property, we planted about six apple trees out in the meadow before we even started building the house.  Neither of us remembers the variety and we did not keep any tags.  The trees failed to thrive in the hard-packed clay and we eventually lost all but two of them, which we moved over behind the chicken coop where the soil is better.
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They have grown quite a bit over the years and a few years back we added two more small apple trees on the other side of the garden.  The trees seem to have heavy blooms every other year…and this is an ON year with and abundance of blossoms.  The sweet smell catches your attention as you walk past.  apple4a

Surely the bees are enjoying these lovely white blossoms during the day.  It was later in the evening when I took these photos and there were no bees in sight.  They return to the hive in the early evening and hunker down for the night so it was no surprise that I didn’t see any.
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We have never used any pesticides to spray our apple trees and when we do get fruit it often has issues – it is mis-shaped, has worm holes, etc.  One year we had enough to make some applesauce and apple butter, so I guess it has not always been a total failure.  Maybe one of these years we will put some effort into consistently growing good fruit.
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In the meantime, we will enjoy the blossoms and the few pans of fresh apple crisp that we make each fall.

Lynell

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A Dash of Color

I have been a gardening maniac for the last few weeks.  With the late spring, it feels like things are moving along quickly and there is SO much work to do just to get the gardens set for the season.  When I need a break from the physical labor of gardening I will sometimes grab my camera and stroll around the grounds to take some photos.

My bleeding hearts are in full bloom behind the house. Such magnificent flowers!bleedingheart

Volunteer Violets are blooming in the garden too. My Grandma called them “Johnny Jump-ups” and they will always remind me of her.  As a small girl, when I would go to visit she would always send me home with a bouquet of these flowers for my mom.  They were prolific at her house, almost like weeds.  She would wet a paper towel, wrap them gently around the stems, and finish it off with tinfoil to hold in the moisture.  I was always so proud to bring these little gems home to my mom, who would put them in a very small crystal vase and place them in the windowsill.  It is these memories that make my heart happy each spring when these lovely flowers appear in my garden.

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And then there are the tulips.  One can never have enough tulips.  I do not have enough tulips.

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I need to remember that this fall.  I really do need to plant more tulips.  They are such a beautiful way to welcome spring.

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I planted these a few years ago when I put in my new Magnolia tree.  I don’t even know the variety, but I really do love them.  The bright color stands out boldly from all the green spring foliage and makes a real statement.DSC_0330

These purple tulips are pretty too, but their color is more muted and seems to get lost a little in the sea of spring green.  I’m not complaining though.  They are beautiful too.purpletulipsI have a lot more pictures of spring blossoms and flowers to share.  Things are really blooming around here!

Hope you are enjoying spring blooms in your part of the world!

Lynell

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Woodland Carpet

Spring time brings with it a beautiful display of woodland flowers in the woods surrounding our house.  Wildflowers carpet the ground and because the mosquitos haven not yet hatched, it is still enjoyable to stroll through the woods and take in the views.
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I wrote a post a few years back in which I identified some of the flowers growing in the woods.(Woodland Wildflowers)  I could not resist photographing them again though. They are just too inviting.

Sanguinaria canadensis, or Bloodroot.
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Claytonia virginica, or Virginia Spring Beauty.DSC_0333

At the time I took the photos in my earlier post, the Trilliums had not yet bloomed, so I did a later post featuring them. (Trillium’s Turn).

For some reason, this year all the flowers seem to be blooming at the same time.  Maybe the late spring?

Trillium grandiflorum, or Trillium (Large-flowered Trillium).

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I came across one flower that I did not photograph or identify in my earlier post.  I headed over to the Minnesota Wildflower website again to help with identification.

Uvularia grandiflora, or Large-flowered Bellwort.

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I spent some time photographing this flower when I noticed this big bumble-bee enjoying it.  I found it very relaxing to sit quietly among the flowers in the woods watching the slow and methodical work of the bumble-bee.DSC_0348

And finally…a stroll in the woods with my camera is always peaceful, but rarely solitary.  Eventually the animals always decide to check on me and see what I am doing.

DSC_0359I don’t mind though.  After all, keeping us company is what pets are for, right?

Lynell

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Love my Magnolia Tree

We are loving spring around the farm.  We are getting in the gardens, raking the leaves out and tilling up the soil.  My Star Magnolia tree is bursting with its showy blooms.
photo-1aIt is such a beautiful sight.  I love this magnolia tree.

-Lynell

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Spring Preparations: Winter Sowing and Tree Tapping

The days are getting longer and the sun’s rays are growing stronger each day.  Even with a foot or so of snow still on the ground, I can feel spring in the air and we have begun our preparations.

I finally got around to getting some winter sowing done this past weekend.  My first attempt a few years ago was enough of a success to convince me to continue trying this process.  I started saving milk jugs earlier this year and requested a friend to do the same, so I had a good supply.

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I discussed the basics of the winter sowing process in this earlier post from 2010:

Sowing Seeds Outdoor in Winter

Some changes that I have made to the process since my first attempt is to not cut the milk jugs completely in half, but rather to leave the handle side attached to act as a hinge in the spring when you need to open the containers during the warm days.  I also write the flower variety on a craft stick and place it inside the container instead of writing on the outside of the milk jug, which wears off in the weather over time.

This year I am attempting to winter sow the following varieties of flowers:

  • Coneflower White Swan
  • Coneflower Bravado
  • Coneflower Magnus
  • Delphinium Magic Fountains (Cherry Blossom)
  • Delphinium Pacific Giants
  • Foxglove (Foxy Mix)
  • Larkspur Lover’s Mix

I am even attempting winter sowing some kale (Kale Winterbor Hybrid).  I will let you know how that turns out.

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The milk jugs are all taped up and ready for placement in the snow to await spring.  In a few months, these containers will house some little seedlings to add to my gardens.

I wrote the following post in the summer after my first attempt at winter sowing, showing the little seedlings and the bigger plants once transplanted to the garden:  Winter Sowing Update.

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It is hard to believe that this cost-effective process can yield such great results.  My biggest success in winter sowing to date has been my poppies and foxgloves.  I wrote about my foxglove successes in winter sowing in 2011: Foxgloves: A Favorite.

On the flip side, I have struggled with the germination of Delphinium, typically only getting a few seedlings out of a packet of seeds.  I adore Delphiniums in my garden so much however, that despite my limited success, I continue trying to winter sow them.  And considering the cost of perennial plants, a $2 packet of seeds is still a good deal, even if I do eventually only get 3 or 4 plants for the garden.

DSC_0009Besides winter sowing, we also got some trees tapped in hopes of getting some sap this year.  Last year was such a strangely warm winter and spring that the sap never ran and we were unable to make any maple syrup.  The summer continued with very little rain and drought conditions.

Jesse’s mother sent him an article, Maple Syrup and Drought, from the University of Minnesota Extension website that discusses the dilemma of tapping maple trees after a drought year. After reading the article and comments, Jesse decided to only put one tap in each tree, as opposed to the two or three he usually does in the bigger trees.

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Our youngest helped insert the spiles into the drilled holes.DSC_0048

After hanging milk jugs on the trees to collect the sap, we will be ready to go when the sap starts running.DSC_0049

Not only do we all enjoy the process of making the maple syrup, we also love having it on our pancakes, waffles, french toast, etc., and in our oatmeal throughout the year.  Last year, we missed both the maple syrup process and the product. We are hoping for normal spring conditions this year that promote a healthy sap run for our trees.

I hope your spring preparations are going well in whatever part of the world you live!

Lynell

For additional posts on making maple syrup, see the following:

Maple Syrup Adventure: Part I  (March 3, 2010)

Spring Flooding and Maple Miscalculations  (March 14, 2010)

Maple SyrupAdventure: Part II  (March 28, 2010)

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