Spiky Squares Month: “Mr. Spiky”

When you look at this photo of blazing stars in my garden, you won’t think it looks very “spiky” – but there is a story behind it!
When I started my garden a decade ago, I planted some seedlings that I bought at a plant exchange at my church. I had no idea what this plant was going to be, because either it wasn’t labeled or the person manning the plant exchange table didn’t know what it was. All I knew was that it was a native perennial, which is what I wanted.

It started to grow but didn’t produce flowers right away. The first year it was just a green stem with spiky leaves sticking out from it (no, that is not what the plants surrounding the flowers in this photo are – that’s a different plant entirely!). I had no idea what it was or what it was going to look like so for that first year, I simply called it (affectionately, of course!) “Mr. Spiky!” The second year, the leaves grew longer and a stalk shot up that was covered with these purple flowers. That is when my neighbor told me its name was “blazing star.” Like many non-bulb perennials, it spreads! In the past couple of years, blazing stars have been appearing in various spots in my garden, such as in the middle of another plant as in the photo above.

Posted for Becky’s Spiky Squares Month (March 2019).

Sunday Stills: You’ve Got a Friend

Terri Webster Schrandt’s Sunday Stills this week is to share photos of friends.

My grand-nieces Frances (age 3) and Sylvia (age 4) are cousins and (usually) friends. They play together frequently because both live in Madison. Their dolls are also their friends. 20180630_172928Marcia and Dee are two friends from my church. We had dinner together in Evanston before attending a piano recital at Northwestern University.20180526_195428Finally, who’s a better friend than one’s spouse? Usually, anyway! Here are the two of us in a selfie taken at Mader’s Restaurant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Ending with the James Taylor classic “You’ve Got a Friend.”


Sunday Stills: A Plant’s Life in the Desert

For the first time, I am participating in the challenge Sunday Stills by Terry Webster Schrandt.  The theme for this week is A Plant’s Life.

Having recently been in the Southwest and because I love the desert, I am featuring the life of desert plants.  Of course, different plants are found in the desert than elsewhere, because they must be adapted to dry conditions. In southern Arizona rises the mighty saguaro cactus, the “tree of life” of the Sonoran Desert.


Saguaro National Park West, Tucson, Arizona

The yucca plant is ubiquitous all over the desert areas of the Southwest.


Blooming yucca in Sedona, Arizona

Yucca in the Painted Desert, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona (click on image to see it larger).

Flowering bush, New Mexico