Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Wayside flowers

It's been a good summer for flowers this year; in gardens and on roadsides everywhere we go, we find some that beg to be photographed. These are a few of my favourites.

Bellflowers. A trailing plant, creeping along a wall in Beach Grove. The spot on the wall above is a pretty jumping spider.

More bellflowers, falling out of a round-bellied pot.


We were driving back from the beach, when I saw these towering over a fence. From the street, they looked like thistles, but what thistles!

We parked and went over. Up close, they are even more impressive; these lowest blooms were well over my head. The highest ones would be beyond my reach, even with a box to stand on.

(Wikipedia says the largest cultivars reach to 2 meters. These were quite a bit more than that.)

The owner was working in the garage, and came out to talk about his plants. They're cardoons, he said. I remembered the name. Long ago, I had been given some seeds and planted them in my garden. Nothing came of them, though, so I had never seen the actual plant.

Cardoon leaves.

It is a relative of the artichoke, and the buds can be eaten like artichokes. The stems and leaf stalks are also edible. The leaves of the wild plant are spiny, but they have been bred out in the domesticated plant.

Lavender flower head, Beach Grove roadside.

One nasturtium, growing through a rock pile.

Nasturtiums by our usual parking spot at the beach.

These lilies in the shade of a garage looked completely black. The flash brought out the deep red tones.

Red and yellow California poppies

A glorious smoke tree. So impressive, that we promptly went out and bought a small one for our own garden.

Pale yellow roses in our neighbour's yard.


  1. Wow: those are some GREAT shots of some lovely blooms! I adore the color of that bright blue wall w/the purple flowers. I've never seen a cardoon & known what it is--what an incredible color & form.

    A number of plant groups in my garden have failed (3 tomato plants and pretty much all bean plants eaten by gopher, pumpkins that WILL NOT GROW (still tiny as their neighboring squashes scramble about), etc.) this year, but the flowers in a small patch I planted with a pollinator-attracting seed mix have MADE and mentally SAVED my summer. They're dominated by Coreopsis, but they draw so many bees and crab spiders and other insects that I'm learning to ID, it's pretty much been enough to keep me happy & to continue gardening. =)

    And to think I used to NEVER plant flowers, seeing them as superfluous vs. IMPORTANT pollinator attractors and happiness spreaders.

  2. Some beautiful flowers there! I used to plant only flowers, then I went to only veggies and now I'm into mixing the two.

  3. biobabbler, I grew up with that notion of flowers as frivolous, non-essential time wasters. And then the first place I had that really had garden space had been owned previously by a flower person. So around my veggie gardens and the fruit trees, I had roses and mock orange and spireas, and a wonderful snowball tree. I learned.

    "... happiness spreaders." Oh, yes!


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