The World’s Tiniest Flying Broomstick, or Collecting the Seeds of Stokes’ Aster

Okay, the title of this post should definitely be “Collecting the Seeds of Stokes’ Aster,” but I’ll be darned if this dead stem with tightly clustered seeds at the end doesn’t look like it belongs in the hand of an itty, bitty witch. Also, it’s almost Halloween, so bear with me.

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Forgotten and Found: Perennials

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Bee in flight

“No, my aunt wasn’t much of a gardener,” said the visitor.

“Oh,” I said, trying not to look disappointed.

Flame-haired and cheerful, the visitor chatting on my carport was the niece of the original owner of our 1960 home. She had popped by while driving home to Virginia from vacation in Florida. I wasn’t expecting her. I was in leggings and an old t-shirt and in the middle of laundry, but when she introduced herself I was curious to glean some house history.

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10-Minute Garden Fix: Acorn Caps as Mulch

Work some garden zen into your Wednesday. If you have an oak tree, you probably have lots of acorns on the ground this time of year. Collect a couple of handfuls of the loose caps, and use them as decorative mulch. It spruced up this pot of succulents quite nicely.

Vintage Fitz & Floyd with Zinnias, Boxwood and Creeping Jenny

 

This 1970s Fitz & Floyd kangaroo toothbrush holder was a $2 estate-sale find (thank you to the best estate-sale-scouting friend I know for taking me along on a lunch break). I figured the (C) FF mark on the bottom stood for something, but I was surprised to find it was Fitz & Floyd. The Kangaroo pattern is a bit whimsical, but it’s not – how shall I say this – as loud as the Fitz & Floyd I know, 1980s to present.

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Photo of the Day: Taking Flight

Add the Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) to the list of butterfly visitors to our zinnias.

When I showed this photo to a co-worker at our frequented “cheap Mexican” lunch place, I learned she grew up calling zinnias “old maids.” It might not be the most PC nickname, but it makes sense. Their blooms last a really long time and even age gracefully, as is the older-but-still-beautiful bloom in this photo. 

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Fungus Among Us

Lately, I find myself missing grade school, good old-fashioned K-12. I know there’s a lot of debate today about public education and what’s wrong with it. But as an adult with a job that only uses a narrow scope of knowledge and specialized skill sets, I find myself longing for the brain calisthenics of five to seven subjects a day.

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The Joy of Tiny Things

A friend recently gave me a tiny amber bottle she found at an estate sale. This August, zinnias, cosmos, and althea are in full bloom in my sunny front yard, and I have enjoyed displaying single blooms in this tiniest of vessels. Added bonus: This small arrangement is easy to tuck in visible but out-of-the-way places, such as on top of this canister against the kitchen backsplash. Our cats have not disturbed it at all, whereas a larger arrangement would never survive unattended.

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