Sunday, August 9, 2009

Flowers at the Beach

Thank you all for the happy vacation wishes!!!

Somehow everything seems better at the beach!

Impatiens at the cottage

Young bakers at work

Perhaps I really should have said that one of the themes for the week will be feasting! It's definitely on the agenda!!

Goldenrod centerpiece

Yarrow centerpiece

Tansy on the Dunes

Tansy is a species introduced from Europe when this area was settled by Europeans. I don't see it often, but it has spread and now grows wild.

It had a wide variety of uses during colonial times including preserving meat, and a variety of medical uses.

Another plant that was introduced in the US by European settlers, Queen Anne's Lace is also called the wild carrot. The root is edible - but unlike it's cultivated forms, it is white, not orange.

Queen Anne's Lace is named after Queen Anne of Denmark.

The beach pea is very widespread, native to Asia, Europe, North and South America.

Seeds of the beach pea remain viable for up to 5 years while floating in sea water - a definite advantage when you're a plant trying to spread throughout the world!

Rose hips

Rugosa roses supposedly have some of the sweetest and best tasting rose hips.

If we have a rainy week, maybe we'll make jam. (As if I know how!!)

Harbor across the dunes

Charlotte asked whether the grass in these photos is a special variety of grass. It is indeed.

It's American Beach Grass, or Ammophila breviligulata, and is found in the northeast US and near the Great Lakes.

It's called beach grass, sea grass or dune grass and plays an important role in stabilizing the dunes along less-developed shorelines.

Sea grass and wild roses

These roses are Rugosa Roses, which apparently are native of China and Japan, but also are widespread along the New England coast.

Wild roses and the marsh

Deanna noticed that I like to know the names and some details about the plants and animals that I see when I explore. Nature has definitely been a lifelong interest of mine.

I still have those little pocket guidebooks to trees, plants, birds, etc that I began receiving as gifts in elementary school. (Of course I've graduated to bigger, more expensive volumes as an adult).

A science project in sixth and seventh grade really solidified my tendency to name and understand plants. As a classroom assignment, we each had to collect samples of 20 wildflowers in sixth grade, and 20 tree leaves in seventh grade. We each made a notebook containing our flower and leaf samples with some information for each plant.

I really loved that project - and just like today - could not edit down to 20 of my favorite samples - so I made a big notebook with extra samples both years. (At last, a form of sampling that I enjoy!) It's definitely neater and easier to blog about plants that I see!!

Ooops - I imagined that this would be a quick post showing some of the flowers around the cottage at the beach. Once I got started looking up plant names, I might have gotten carried away just the tiniest bit! Thanks for bearing with me!!


Theresa said...

So nice to see the Rugosa roses. We have a similar variety here in Oregon and such a pretty hardy rose and yes, the hips are delicious. I've had the jam compliments of a family friend but have no idea of a recipe. I'll bet you can find one on the internet!
Looks like a lovely time and thank you for the educational stroll through the dunes, complete with beautiful pictures. Those look like peanut butter cookies!

charlotte said...

Thank you for the information on the grass, so interresting! I have also had a big interest in wild plants all my life, starting with my own herbarium in primary school.
There's a lot of tansy here, and some use it to dye wool. It is supposed to give a yellow color, but I have never tried this. I wish you many nice days at the beach!

Anonymous said...

Looks like a wonderful and relaxing vacation - hope you continue to have a great time, and it stays sunny and warm for you!! Beautiful flower photos, as always!

Delighted Hands said...

I love the flower tours-some are new and others old favorites!

deborah said...

Thank you for sharing your holiday. Your flower pictures are lovely. My childhood interest in flowes is being rekindled following a dyeing workshop, now everything needs a name and a colour potential. Enjor your break.

bspinner said...

Thanks so much for sharing your vacation with us. What nice pictures. I love the flowers espcially the Rugosa roses. My two have doubled in size this year.
Have fun!!!!!

Life Looms Large said...

Good eye Theresa - the cookies are indeed pb!! My nieces topped a few with candy bar chunks...and they were surprisingly good. (Of course I really should expect chocolate and pb to taste great together!)

Charlotte, I hadn't thought of tansy as a dye plant....especially since I'm barely a dyer and definitely not a natural dyer. It's interesting that you have a lot of it near you!!! That's great that you're another plant lover!

And Deborah is another plant lover and dyer....I wonder if I'll head in that direction too at some point.

Bspinner - great that you've had success with Rugosa Roses....I've tried and can't get them to grow at my house.

Thank you for visiting and commenting!!! All wishes for continuing good weather are appreciated and needed after the rainy, rainy start to summer we had this year!


Susan H said...

Hi Sue, more wonderful photos and great plant info! We have tansy here, didn't know name or uses. (also lots of Queen Anne Lace... figured it must be carrot family but haven't tried to eat it... I love it and we used it in my wedding as it's so lacy... ) Maybe we can get together and make jam. I have a jam recipe and a couple quarts of red currants from neighbor sitting in fridge and just bought some freezer jam jars (hoping it's easier than regular method) so I'll let you know how that goes. Same neighbor is a wealth of knowledge on all things Maine, garden, jam, cooking etc (and her husband on all things bird and insect) so she may have a rose hip jam recipe.

Life Looms Large said...

I think I'd be too afraid to make anything other than freezer jam. I have this vision of jars exploding, or things going bad. My breadmaker has jam recipes - I guess it can cook things at low settings for a long time and stir them a little bit as needed.

That sounds quite ambitious to me on these lazy days of vacation....even though having the breadmaker do a lot of the work probably wouldn't be all that difficult!