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Archive for the ‘Botanicals’ Category

A NEW rite of Spring! … at least new to me.  The Sweet Pea Maze in Flinn Springs, California is a fragrant, heady, colorful event which all the locals attend.  There was lovely live music, a sunny breeze-laden day, and sweet peas of every color climbing the fences laid out in a maze … walk the maze if you dare!  You may be overwhelmed by the odor … or by the color … or by the wonder in the eyes of the children as they sniff and wander thru deep purple, vibrant pink, and pure white sweet peas.

It all began at 9 am and at 11 am you are allowed to pay $3.00, handed a pair of scissors, and told to re-enter the maze and cut sweet pea bouquets if you wish.  By 11:30 every flower was cut and held in the hand of the lucky attendee … so many happy faces!!

Hurray for this sweet occasion!

Love, Mary and D.L.

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Pomegrantes, Persimmons and Roses

Pomegranates, Persimmons and Roses

Paula’s garden down in the south of California contains a wealth of plants … all kinds and all colors. The garden is terraced and the trees are tall.  She planted every plant herself over a period of thirty years.  They tumble over each other and under one plant is … another!  Avocado trees, tangerine trees tomatoes, sage, … takes your breath away to look in any direction … desert plants, mingled with roses.

Agave Next to Grapevine

Agave Next to Grapevine

A happy heart is the result when you walk around the garden.

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The Milkweed is the host plant for the Monarch butterfly!

Milkweed by Mary P Williams

Milkweed by Mary P Williams

In hot August days the pods on the plant mature, dry up, split open and the orderly rows of brown seeds peek out of the pod.  Then a vagrant wind picks them out of the pod and hefts them into the heavens where they float with their silk floss. This wind scatters them to the four corners and they are randomly deposited on fertile soil and rocky, hostile lands.  The lucky seeds will grow into a handsome plant next spring … and once again supply a beautiful sight as they take to the wind the next August. Perfection!

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I have not been idle … just diverted into china painting by my daughter who is doing a bathroom in the cabin she inherited at 5500 feet … she wanted to show the local fauna … fun for all !

Flying Squirrel Tile by Mary P Williams

Flying Squirrel Tile by Mary P Williams

Here is the Northern Flying Squirrel, a nocturnal creature, who flies around the treetops in the Sierra mountains.  He is seldom seen but a tall tree crashed to the ground and there he was … looking stunned and desperate to ascend another tree … A lovely, shy, tree-top-flyer!

Yellow Jacket and Scorpion Tile by Mary P Williams

Yellow Jacket and Scorpion Tile by Mary P Williams

Then the yellow jacket … a wasp with a painful sting. Heaven forbid that a number of these insects should zero in on you … there would be fiery welts dotting your skin. In this same tile is the small black scorpion discovered under a rock .. .he hastened to erect his tail and threaten the world.

American Fence Lizard and Skink Tile by Mary P Williams

American Fence Lizard and Skink Tile by Mary P Williams

The third tile depicts the American Fence Lizard with his showy blue throat.  Below him is the Skink in the juvenile state which means his tail is blue.  In the adult the tail is brown.

Garter Snake Tile by Mary P Williams

Garter Snake Tile by Mary P Williams

Fourth tile has the Garter Snake who slithers around ponds and streams.  He is harmless, beautiful,and will flick his red tongue at you … you may pick him up!

Douglas Squirrel Tile by Mary P Williams

Douglas Squirrel Tile by Mary P Williams

The Chickaree, or Douglas squirrel, is a noisy inhabitant of pine forests.  He notifies every animal in the neighborhood of your presence with his chattering calls.  Not shy or retiring, he is in busy residence in the Sierra foothills and mountains.

The American Kestrel, or Sparrowhawk can often be seen hovering over a meadow or perched on an overhead wire.

American Kestrel

American Kestrel Tile by Mary P. Williams

The next three images are of the Kachelofen which heats my house.

Kachelofen, Front View

Kachelofen, Front View

The word “kachel” (pronounced cockle) relates to “stove tile”, which in material and form is different from ordinary tiles.  The word “ofen” is equivalent to oven or stove.  So it is a heated, ceramic tile wood-burning stove which gives radiant heat.

Kachelofen with view of Sierra Wildflower Tiles by Mary P Williams

Kachelofen with view of Sierra Wildflower Tiles by Mary P Williams

The painted tiles decorating my stove are the wild flowers located on my land in the Sierra’s at 8000 feet.  It is a history for the children and grand-children of what particular flowers grew at this elevation in the year 2000.

Kachelofen Dedication Tile by Mary P Williams

Kachelofen Dedication Tile by Mary P Williams

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Sierra Angelica

Sierra Angelica, or “Rangers’ Buttons”

Sierra Angelica is commonly described as “Queen Anne’s Lace” but it is not … it is a true California plant while Queen Anne’s Lace comes from England.  It is a member of the carrot family and a spectacular sight … delicate umbrels waving in a slight breeze, growing in the shade of fir and pine, intermingled with Crimson Columbine. When finished blooming the seeds are tiny purplish/green packets thickly spread over the umbrel.  Delightful!

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