days of honey

Warm, sweet, humid, floriferous, heaven hued, lush honey.

(This entry is photo heavy! If you want to see some of the flowers more closely, click on the photo, then click on the size on that page. I changed my garden blog to private as no one was going there anyways…but i may move the dye resource page from it to here, as that was the primary focus in the last two years.)

We had our annual amount of rainfall by end of July, and while it feels strange, it doesn’t feel wrong to be enjoying all this while i can. DogFaced Girl is now used to stopping every few steps while i smell, touch or take photos.

patient Nessie and the yellow prairie coneflowers

patient nessie in the alfalfa

I have never seen so many flowers, and never so much still green and flourishing mid August in Calgary, in Alberta, in the national parks as well. Usually it’s brown, crisp and full of seeds and burs by the last week of July.

Two kinds of prairie cone flowers in the Wildlife Rehab area. I’ve only ever seen one plant of either, and far far apart, and in different years, along here before, so to find these was a thrill!

purple prairie coneflower

purple prairie coneflower b

yellow prairie coneflowers

Flax with huge flowers.

blue and white flax

flax aug 17 2016

flax flowers b

flax flowers

“Butter and eggs” everywhere.

toad flax butter and eggs

Alfalfa and sweet clover that has the air laden with heady intoxicating honey fragrance.


My garden is lush, though blooming and fruiting late.

garden aug 15 2016 smWe’ve had carrots, peas and beans in abundance, tons of lettuce, green kincho and spanish onions already in many salads. The jalapeno and chocolate beauty peppers are vigorous plants–with NO flowering at all, so none of those this year–some deficiency in the soil that i have addressed too late….. You wouldn’t believe how many tomato plants there are in there–last fall i threw a bunch of several varieties in to compost, and they seeded and grew! I’ve pulled out literally tens and tens, but there are probably still 40+ in there!

tomatoes tomatoes everywhere

The Elephant Head Amaranthus self seeded also, and while i pulled many of those, i left the more vigorous ones, and they are starting to flower now.

elephant head amaranthus

I have named the Ligularia “Caligularia” this year. He was “Ligulittle” last year when i planted him and barely got to a foot and a half high with three sparse flower heads. This year, he’s 4 and a half feet tall, loaded with the most brilliant sunshine heart yellow, and huge leaves.  Caligularia b

The “pods” where the flowers develop, freaked me a little last year: i thought an insect had built a strange home in him.

lig1Glorious, glorious yellow sunshine blooms:

Caligularia cAnd monster leaves!

Caligularia e

My coleus has put on a show with one particular variety. This WAS a Sea Anemone Gold Series coleus and looked like this when i bought him, and through cuttings that survived being overwintered:

sea anemone coleus

NOW it looks like this, showing completely different colours in the last two weeks on the porch railing flowerbox (shaded most of the day) and looking more like a “Fish Net” variety:

coleus colourFor clear photos of both at a grower, go here, and scroll through the photos. Not Gramma’s coleus anymore! Because this plant has behaved so strangely, i’m going to contact the University of Saskatchewan, where they were originally developed.

Jack Ruby and his Missus are still hanging around, though we don’t feed the birds from June to September:

red bNO relation to a certain historical personage!

My weld (the rosette shaped plants) is getting bigger every day, but i don’t expect to harvest any dyestuff until next year.

weld and ammi

I had high hopes again for the hollyhock bed–the first year we were here (2009), they were all along the side of the house and through the backyard, and in the front garden, growing to heights of 6-12 feet.



Subsequent years, the rust got them and now there are none in the front, and only half of the side now. In the middle of June, they looked like this:

hollyhock hopingAnd SIGH, the rust is inevitable, and coupled with a bad aphid infestation this year, they are sad and pathetic now:

sad hollyhocks again aug 2016

I plan on seeding in the fall in that bed, so that Rudbeckia and Calendula will hide the bottoms next year……….

The 90-year-old apple tree in the back has fruited amazingly this year. Every summer we say “oh the apples are bigger and better”–meaning they have increased in size from marbles to now small golf balls 🙂 A couple of years ago, it took 111 of them to make 1 litre of apple sauce! But this year, very very few fell before ripening, and this year they are RED instead of pink, so maybe there will only have to be 90 cut up  🙂 to get that litre because OH the taste!

apple tree


We did lose another branch though–the weight of all the apples coupled with some drenching day after day rains was too much for one of the smaller branches.

The sunflowers provide much beauty

sunflowerAnd rest stops!

sunflower rest stop

mason bee sunflower

Now i must finish my cold coffee, and get ready for the day job at the ffffFlower Mines, almost bland after all this!

2 responses to “days of honey

  1. Arlee….I have some perennial plants in my garden called liatris – a native plant here in Montana that look every bit like the purple cone flowers in your photos. If you would like some seeds, I will save and send you some….we are every year expanding the area of liatris, near the echinacea and black-eyed susans and flax….all appreciated by the bee population, butterflies and leaving the seed pods standing in the winter, by the finches and chickadees.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate that, but am ambivalent about the seeds—firstly for sending across the border, and though i love the bee haven, secondly i loathe liatras after seeing them too many times in the flower mines 🙂


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