Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

The Pretender...

And other flowering mysteries...

Does anyone know what this well tended, cultivated weed is? Last year I salvaged some very old seed from a "Sweet Annie" dried flower bundle. I carefully prepared a flower pot and tamped the seed in. Lo and behold in a few weeks this tiny feathery green plant came up! It worked! The seed was still viable. All summer I babied that thing along, and even convinced myself that the leaves when lightly crushed smell like Sweet Annie (it has a very pungent aroma). When winter came I made sure it was in a protected area and got occasional waterings if it was too dry. Lo and behold again, it survived the winter! I had Sweet Annie and this year it would produce seed and soon my fields would be white with Sweet Annie (sorry, got a little carried away there).

Then it put this big white flowery seed head on, and no matter how I tried to convince myself, it definitely didn't smell like Sweet Annie anymore. Nope. And strangely enough there seemed to be the same plant growing...wild.. in abundance in the fields. I can only assume it is a weed, probably chigger weed or something attractive like that. A well tended chigger weed.

Then there is this little pink flower that has emerged this Spring. I think it's from some wild flower seed I planted (far far away from the "Sweet Annie" impostor). It too has rather feathery leaves, and is a bit odd looking, but the blooms are very lovely. You can see the foliage of the plant in the bottom right hand of the photo. Any recognition on this one?

Lastly is a this flowering tree. I did find out what it is called though, after all these years. It is a Goldenrain Tree. It's quite a unique tree, with these flowing yellow blossoms and the seed pods that form in the fall. The seed pods look like tiny Japanese lanterns.

I planted this tree many years ago, when I used to get trees every year from the National Arbor Day Foundation. I never quite knew what I would get, but I grimly planted tree after tree. Most of them died. Those were the days when my yard had no trees and it was beastly hot in the house every summer. The days before my yard suddenly became a jungle of trees. I planted Redbuds and Dogwoods, a Red Maple, River Birch, Apples, and Cherries and this unknown tree. I'm sure there were more that I planted, that lived briefly and died. The Redbuds lived and thrived and made more Redbud children. The Red Maple is glorious in the fall and the River Birch makes an interesting addition to the yard (although it consistently and annoyingly drops small dead limbs). However the trees that grew the fastest and have been the hardiest have been the 'volunteers'--the Catalpas, Silver Maples, Elms, Hackberry and Mulberrys.

In the back where the Goldenrain is, it is overshadowed by a Silver Maple (that I did not plant), but gamely hangs on and grows, even if at a slight angle. Further in back of the house, in the sheep pasture, there are many Silver Populars. They are lovely trees but very invasive. However the sheep have eliminated that problem by grazing down all the new seedlings every year.

Everywhere I look right now there blooms and blossoms. I'll feature the Catalpas in another post, as they are glorious this year.


Louise said...

Well, your first plant is yarrow. It is considered to be pretty invasive, and I'm not surprised that you are seeing a lot of it in your fields. One good think is that, if you make dried flower arrangements, it dries beautifully. I can remember going out every Spring with my Aunt, yarrow hunting.

Can you get a better picture of the second flower? I can't tell how many petals it has, and I can't see the leaves well enough to even make a stab at identification.

I'm glad someone else gets as big a kick out of trying to identify flowers as I do.

Vicki Lane said...

I recognize the yarrow but haven't a clue on the pretty pink one.

Pat in east TN said...

I'm with everyone else on the yarrow, but no clue on the others.

Anonymous said...


Roses and Lilacs said...

I love sweet Annie. I used to have wreaths and bunches of it all over because it smells so good.

The pink flower might be nigella but I'm not sure, the photo is a little hard to see.

Tammy said...

Louise and all, thanks for the info! Why did I think Yarrow was yellow???? Maybe I'll try to dry some as there is quite a bit in the front paddock.
I love the Sweet Annie too Marnie, but it looks like that I'm not going to have any again this year...
I looked up Nigella and the leaf structure looks similar. I was going to take another photo but it has already passed it's prime and is not looking very good. It has sort of a long stem, and then all this feathery foliage, then the blooms. The whole plant is less than a foot tall though. Thanks for all the help everyone!

Kim said...

I'm glad Louise identified the white flower as yarrow. I thought it was Poison Hemlock, but after comparing the flower, I can see the differences now. Now I'm hoping that the flowers on our property I thought were P.H. are actually Yarrow. That would be so much nicer! :) And, yes, there are others of us out there who find this flower stuff fun!

By the way Tammy, here's a website you might find useful. Even though it says "Kansas", it lists (with pics) flowers, grasses and trees that are common in both.