Alliums and Peonies

This period is one of my favorite time of the year when it’s not too cold and not too hot either. Plus the flowers are blooming. Smelling flowers are much more enjoyable than shoveling snow, you know.

I would like to share some photos of what are blooming now in our garden, that have not been eaten yet by the deer or the wild rabbits.

Purple allium and white alliums:

By the way, Allium is the Latin word for garlic. As you can surmise these plants belongs to the family of onions, garlic and shallots. Since these blooms are in the family of onions, they have the trademark smell.

Peonies:

Peony is named after Paeon, the Greek god of medicine and healing. I don’t know if these flowers have curative properties. But one thing for sure, they are fragrant and maybe that’s healing enough.

These large flowers last about two weeks only, so might as well take the opportunity to gather them and display them inside as well.

Below are flowers not from our garden but from a grocery store. I included them here since I like my photo of it.

Despite allergies and all, there’s one unwritten rule in our household: No fake flowers allowed.

The last photo is the harvested peonies. And a selfie of course.

(*Credit to my wife, the master horticulturist; all photos taken with an iPhone)

Tenacious Flowers

It’s May. And this month is known for flowers. Here are some that are found in and around our home.

There are flowers that are beautiful yet delicate, and we proudly display them for all to see.

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roses in the mantel shelf

There are flowers we have planted that we are excited to see as we wait for their yearly blooms.

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Alliums in our yard

Then there are flowers that are thought to be difficult to grow and bloom, as they need tender loving care.

orchid by the window

orchid by the window

But this time of year, there are also flowers in our yard that we neither like to display nor are we excited to see them bloom. In fact, we don’t want them to come out at all. They are not delicate, and in contrary they are tenacious and difficult to kill.

I am talking about these pesky dandelions.

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our front yard

Dandelions are considered weeds by most of us, and we hate to see them especially in our manicured lawns. Yet they thrive despite all the herbicides we use to try to eliminate them.

But do you know that there can be benefit of having dandelions in your yard? Really? Yes, really.

Dandelions can attract ladybugs who in turn can keep other pests population, like aphids, in check. Their long taproots can aerate the soil. They can also be eaten, as in salad, or drank, as in tea. Studies have shown that they are rich in vitamin B, C, D as well as iron, manganese, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus. Those chemicals I mentioned are not from the pesticides we spray them. Those are good elements.

Even though dandelions are mostly unwanted flowers, one can argue that they can be beautiful too. I remember when my daughter was still a little girl, she used to pick these yellow flowers and put them in a small cup and give it to her mom. Even a bouquet of “weed” flowers can be a precious gift.

But it’s not their natural beauty that necessarily inspires me. It is their tenacity. Their persistence. No matter how hard we try to squash them, poison them, suffocate them, kill them – they still find their way to live and grow year after year. Or at least in my yard.

If only we have the same tenacity for life as these lowly dandelions. No amount of opposition, challenges, and discouragement can tramp our will to survive and thrive. We will persist whatever the circumstances may be. A lesson we can learn from this oft maligned “pest.”

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our “dandelion garden”

I know I have already called the lawn “doctor” to get rid of them, but now I’m having second thoughts. Maybe I’ll be organic and let them grow. Maybe I can convince myself that I’m cultivating a dandelion garden. However they will spread rapidly and through their airborne seeds they can even spawn the nearby perfect lawns.

My neighbors will not be impressed.

(*photos taken with iPhone)

Purple Blooms and a Dead Hummingbird

Late last fall, my wife planted Allium bulbs in our front garden. We wondered if the timing was right and if those bulbs will survive the harsh winter.

Well, we don’t have to wonder anymore. Here they are in full bloom.

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They are really gorgeous and we like them very much. Plus, they complement our scenic front view.

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It is interesting to know that onions, garlic, shallots and these purple flower balls are all in the same family, the Allium family. These Alliums are called Purple Sensation but also known as Persian Onion. These onions are attractive and does not make you cry.

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As I was admiring these flowers, I saw this poor little creature in our walkway – a dead hummingbird. Even though it is dead, you can still see its beauty, with the colorful sheen in its feather. What caused its demise? I can only speculate. Perhaps it got drunk by too much nectar.

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This beautiful bird albeit dead, is a reminder that there exist an unpleasant side of life. But we should not dwell on the bad part, instead we should focus on the good.

In fact, we can find beauty in almost everything. Even on this abandoned purple socks on this lonely gravel road where I run. I went too far, huh?

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I don’t want to end this article with the abandoned purple socks, so here are some purple blooms again, this time in our backyard. Believe it or not, these too are in the family of onions. They are known as Purple Chives.

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Life is like these purple blooms in so many ways. Beautiful  and precious (even if how lowly they may seem, like onions!). Yet fleeting, for here now, gone tomorrow. Let us admire and appreciate it, while we can.

(*all photos were taken with an iPhone)

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