Category Archives: Plants and Flowers

Autumn Hues

The autumn hues of red, yellow, green and brown are favorites of mine. See other photo interpretations of “The Hue of You” at the Weekly Photo Challenge.red leavesleaves in the waterleaves

Thistles and Goldfinches

Female goldfinch on thistle

Female goldfinch on thistle

Male goldfinch eating thistle seed

Male goldfinch eating thistle seed

Thistle flowers before turning to seed

Thistle flowers before turning to seed

Thistledown everywhere!

Thistledown everywhere!

Think back to the days of your youth (or maybe it was just the other day). Did you ever pick dandelions after they became seeded, blowing on them to make the fluffy seeds fly into the air? Or, did you wave them rapidly back and forth for the same effect? We called the seeds “wishies.” Sometimes we’d randomly see “wishies” floating by and try to catch them, storing up as many wishes as possible. I don’t think we ever thought about the fact that we were helping to disperse dandelion seeds into the manicured lawns of the neighborhood. Some of those “wishies” we caught might not have been from dandelions; they could have been from thistles.

Thistle seeds are similar in appearance to dandelion seeds. Before seeding, the thistle has a beautiful purple flower, as well as spiny leaves to give the plant some protection. When the thistle flower turns to seed, the seedheads are larger than dandelions but with the same whitish, feathery appearance. The thistledown, attached to the seeds, gives them their airy abilities. The thistle also gets a little help in the dispersal process from goldfinches who love its seed. We have a birdfeeder in the backyard just for thistle seed; the goldfinches visit this feeder almost exclusively.

While at the park the other day, I saw goldfinches going crazy over the thistle that was growing in a field of wildflowers. From plant to plant, the birds were picking at the thistle seeds. As they feasted, they were causing the thistledown to fly all over the place. Some of the goldfinches were covered in thistledown. It made me think about how people love to eat Jersey-fresh tomatoes picked right off the vine in the summer. In the winter, those tomatoes on-the-vine from a grocery store are acceptable, but they don’t compare to the taste of a handpicked, in season, straight from the garden treat. Maybe the goldfinches feel that way about eating beak-picked seed directly from the thistle, instead of packaged seed from a birdfeeder. They were certainly behaving like they enjoyed it right from the source. After floating away, the downy part isn’t wasted; some of it may be used for nesting materials.

In the past, when I saw dandelion or thistle seeds floating by, I never thought about how they got into the air. They might have taken flight all on their own, or perhaps, they had the help of a goldfinch.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Focus

An “in-and-out of focus” pollinator habitat.

With a potpourri of different shapes, sizes, textures and colors, the camera only focused on certain parts of this pollinator habitat. The out of focus areas give you an idea of how dense the field was. Although most of the plants were past their peak, the cabbage and sulphur butterflies were abundant.

See other photo interpretations of the “Focus” theme at: Weekly Photo Challenge.

Simple Fences

Plain and simple beauty

Plain and simple beauty

The fence is simple, but the lions make a bold statement

The fence is simple, but the lions make a bold statement

Linking to “Friday’s Fences” at Life According to Jan and Jer.

Sunny Sunflower

sunflower and fenceSunny sunflower near a garden fence. Linking to Friday’s Fences.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh

berriesCan’t get berries any fresher than this!

See other interpretations of the “Fresh” theme at: Weekly Photo Challenge.

May Beauties, i.e., Backyard Flowers

I couldn’t help myself…had to go out in the backyard this morning to photograph some of the beautiful new May flowers. The daffodils and tulips are all gone, but some new beauties have sprouted up instead.

An azalea bursting forth

An azalea bursting forth

Some blooming lilacs

Some blooming lilacs

A single violet next to the shed

A single violet next to the shed

Pink azaleas facing the morning sun

Pink azaleas facing the morning sun

These azaleas are white with speckles of pink.

These azaleas are white with speckles of pink.

Pretty Lily Pads

The lily pads (water lilies) in our backyard pond have been so pretty lately. They seem to change their appearance constantly, depending on the angle and intensity of the sun. I thought I’d share a few photos.

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Blooming Along the Fence

Flowers and fences just naturally seem to go together. These pink blooms are from a rose of sharon bush that grows alongside the neighbor’s picket fence. In the few days since I took this photo, the bush has exploded with even more blossoms. A rose of sharon bush with white flowers grows right next to this one.

Visit Life According to Jan and Jer to see more Friday’s Fences photos.

Friday’s Fences – Purple Coneflowers

I spotted these purple coneflowers (echinacea) growing alongside a split rail fence in a nearby park. Since these are one of my favorite wildflowers I had to take a photo. Visit Life According to Jan and Jer to see more Friday’s Fences photos.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Close

Not only have these two tree trunks grown closely together, side-by-side, but they have mimicked the curves and bends of each other. It almost looks like they are doing some kind of arboreal dance! This photo was taken along the Delaware & Raritan Canal in New Jersey. See other photo interpretations of the “Close” theme at: Weekly Photo Challenge.

Flowers are Blooming All Around the Yard

Everything seems to be blooming at once. Thought I’d share a few photos of flowers that have bloomed this week in our yard.

Gorgeous daylily. A friend had given us a few to transplant and this is the result.


The snowball bush is just starting to flower. (Or is it hydrangea? But I thought they had smoother-edged leaves.)


The butterfly bush is stretching out in the late afternoon sun. Looking forward to seeing what creatures it attracts.


Hope to see some hummingbirds on the trumpet flowers.