This ‘n That

Right outside my back door is a tiny blue flower.  This same little blue flower, I guess you could call it a weed, has appeared and reappeared in the same spot for years.  I’ve always admired the brilliant blue color and tenacity of this plant.  This year I researched it and found that it is an Asiatic Dayflower or Commelina Communis.  Supposedly the blooms only last one day…this I will have to watch very carefully as I know for certain that some of my “daylilies” last longer than a day.  Wikipedia calls this Asiatic Dayflower a “noxious weed” and “invasive plant”.  I don’t know how they dare call it that, as it seems it is a very beneficial plant and it certainly has not become “noxious” or “invasive” as yet in my yard.  However, in the future I plan on doing a post named “Invasion of the Garden Snatchers” about invasive plants and maybe by then this plant will make my list!

Asiatic Dayflower

Asiatic Dayflower

Just take a look at that sweet blue plant in the photo above…how can anyone not want it in their garden? 

The following was taken from Wikipedia:

“The Asiatic dayflower has been used in pollination studies concerning the behaviour of plants in relation to their pollinators. One important experiment tested the hypotheses that floral guides (i.e. various patterns and colours on anthers and petals) simultaneously promote pollinator visitation and prevent visits where the pollinator fails to come into contact with the stigma or anthers, termed pollen theft. As the flowers of the Asiatic dayflower lack nectar, they offer only pollen as a reward to their visitors. To attract pollinators, the plant has three types of brightly colored floral organs: the large blue petals, fertile yellow anthers, and infertile yellow antherodes that lack pollen. When the infertile antherodes were experimentally removed in natural populations, the number of total floral visitor landings was reduced, supporting the hypothesis that these infertile anthers essentially trick their pollinators into believing they offer more than they actually do. When the central, bright yellow fertile anther was removed, leaving only two brown fertile anthers, the frequency of legitimate flower landings decreased, meaning that the visitors were not pollinating the flowers, suggesting that floral signals also prevent “theft”, or visits where the pollinators take pollen, but do not place any on the stigma. Thus both the fertile anthers and the infertile antherodes were shown to play an important role in both increasing visitor landings and orienting floral visitors toward a landing point appropriate for pollination.

“In China it is used as a medicinal herb with febrifugal, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, and diuretic effects. Additionally, it is also used for treating sore throats and tonsillitis.[2][7] Recent pharmacological investigations have revealed that the Asiatic dayflower contains at least five active compounds. One of these, p-hydroxycinnamic acid, shows antibacterial activity, while another, D-mannitol, has an antitussive effect.

“In Japan there is a sizeable dye industry devoted to the plant. The purported variety Commelina communis var. hortensis, which is apparently a cultivated form of another putative variety, namely Commelina communis var. ludens, is grown for its larger petals which yield a blue juice used in manufacturing a paper called boshigami or aigami.”

And here it is, growing right outside my back door.  Seems to be quite a beneficial plant and I’m certainly happy to have it!

Giant Hosta

Giant Hosta

And here’s that hosta again…I swear it’s getting bigger by the day.  Some morning I expect to open the back door and the entire back yard will be filled with this one plant.  (Maybe you’ve read Roald Dahl’s “James and the Giant Peach”?  Well, this is my version…) The flowers are continuing to emerge with cream color petals with lavender edging.  If I could choose only one favorite plant in my yard, this would be it.

Lychnis

Lychnis

The magenta colored lychnis, which are part of the carnation family, are popping up here and there.  It seems I have a lot of those “popping up here and there” plants in my yard and for the most part, it’s fine with me.  These flowers have furry silver green leaves and stems and are quite lovely.

And another one of those “here and there” plants are the sundrops which grow maybe 12 to 18 inches tall and are quite profuse bloomers.  The butterflies love them and their bright yellow color is quite spectacular in the garden.

Sundrops

Sundrops

The rubble stone wall has been rebuilt.  The old wall had a base of cement blocks with a veneer of stone.  After several years, the frost, woodchucks and chipmunks pretty much undermined the integrity of the wall.  It was originally built to use the brown stone which had been found on the property.  Now, several years later, more stone has been found…enough stone for the wall to be solid stone and not just veneer. 

Stone Wall

Stone Wall

Front View Stone Wall

Front View Stone Wall

The weeping juniper shown below was supposed to be a dwarf variety…growing to a maximum of 8 to 10 feet tall.

Weeping Juniper

Weeping Juniper

Well now, maybe eight years later, it’s about 20 feet tall. It was planted at the entrance to the sunken herb garden.  Now the branches are so long and huge that I can’t enter the herb garden that way.  Every winter I watch it with concern, worried that all of the snow piled on those long graceful branches will cause damage, but so far it has survived.  Even the three plus feet of snow we had this past winter during the “blizzard of the century” didn’t hurt it.

On the post at the entrance to the herb garden is a little garden angel.  I had to sneak around the back way to snap this photo.

Garden Angel

Garden Angel

While I was there, I admired the long, lacy juniper tendrils falling off those graceful branches and took a photo looking through them.  This shot really doesn’t do justice to the view.  It was like looking through a shower of green with little juniper berries here and there.  I tried getting a photo looking straight up, but couldn’t really capture it correctly.  This is an amazing tree.

Now if I could only configure a new route to the herb garden, I’d be all set.

Through a Veil of Juniper

Through a Veil of Juniper

The coral colored rose is doing especially well this year.  I think that’s because it’s getting more sun now that the crabapple is gone.pp 006-35

And now, to add to the “this n’ that” nature of this post, following is my mother’s cabbage with tomato sauce recipe.  I hadn’t made it in time to include with my other cabbage recipes.  But here it is now. 

Cabbage With Tomato Sauce

Cabbage With Tomato Sauce

Cabbage and Tomatoes (exactly as written)

Chopped Cabbage to about 3/4 of large stainless pot
1 chopped onion sauteed in bacon fat or oil
Add chopped cabbage and cook until coated
Add 1 14 1/2 oz. can tomato sauce, DelMonte
Add 1 14 1/2 oz. can stewed tomatoes, DelMonte

Break tomatoes into smaller pieces.  Let saute gently for about an hour.  No salt added because tomatoes are salted.  Serve hot with crisp bacon pieces on top (optional).

I made about half of this recipe and I used 1/2 head of cabbage.  I used a small can of tomato sauce and 1/2 can of DelMonter 038-35 diced tomatoes with green chilies.  And I have to confess, I did add some salt.  My mother said that salt hardened your arteries, and I’m sure she was correct.  But I added a little salt anyway.  Living dangerously!

The DelMonte tomatoes with chilies doesn’t come in a smaller can (at least I’ve never seen it).  So the next day I made Pasta Norma with the leftover half can of tomatoes, one smallish eggplant diced and sauted, garlic and lots of fresh basil.  I used good quality olive oil in this dish and sprinkled cayenne pepper into it (I like it hot!)  Yum….

As Martha would say, “It’s a good thing”.

Pasta Norma

Pasta Norma

Till next time….

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