Sunday, March 1, 2009

Spring is on it's way, but these were in bloom in October

Pansies
27. Pansies
Already knew: Pansies are related to violets. They grow low to the ground (usually seen in small clumps, unlike this huge bush. I wonder what it is about my neighborhood that all the plants are so overgrown. Do we have super soil, or are my neighbors just lazy gardeners? I hope it's the second thing, because we will fit in better that way.) I don't think you can eat pansies, although you can eat violets and geraniums so maybe you can. The classic pansy in my mind is violet blue just like these.
Recently learned: The common pansy is a cross breed from wild flowers in Europe (one of those flowers is the Johnny Jump Up and I once made my Dad's life miserable by planting them in the back yard where they then invaded the lawn causing him to yell at me to "Keep the damn flowers in the flower bed!" Good times.)
Pansies are cold hardy plants and can survive a frost after they have flowered. Pansies normally live for two years, seeding in the first year and then dying off in the second. The name pansy is derived from the French for thought because it looks like a face.
Black Eyed Susan
28. Black Eyed Susan
Already knew: These are related to sunflowers, but without the tasty seeds inside. They bloom in late fall. My first memory of them as a plant was while trick or treating with my friend Lisa who was dressed as a bunch of grapes.
Recently learned: There are a number of other plants that are called Black Eyed Susan, including one that is white with a purple center, which I suppose looks more like a black eye, but whatever. The roots of this version can be used like Echinacea, but not the seedheads. It is known to be poisonous to ruminants. It can tolerate any kind of soil and condition except maritime conditions. What a wimpy plant.

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