Saturday, February 13, 2010

Inula racemosa 'Sonnenspeer'

I perennial that is surprisingly underused (in my opinion) is Inula racemosa 'Sonnenspeer. It looks spectacular as it starts to grow in the spring. When I took this picture I didn't think to put anything alongside it for scale. Those leaves are huge and will reach up to a meter (3') in length and 8-10" wide!!

Then the 2" wide flowers are loaded on a sturdy stem, reaching up to 2 meters (6.5') in height:


At the end of the growing season it becomes a great dried flower. It will last for years if you want. I see that the picture below only shows the dried leaves. I will have to look around for a dried stem to photograph, as there are no dried flowers showing on the stems below.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pushing the Boundaries With Willow Weaving

I don't know if my enthusiasm for willow sculpture comes through in our webpage by the same name, but I have a feeling it does. So I was thrilled to find this video showing work by Lise Bech in Scotland. I particularly like the screen!

Read more about Lisa Bech on her website.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Dare I Say It?

The month of January has been abnormally mild for us. Some of you may have heard about the lack of snow for one of the winter Olympic venues in Vancouver. The same mild weather (though somewhat cooler) has been melting the snow here, 500 km (300 miles) to the east. This detail may be of interest to those of you in warmer climes who order willow cuttings and hope receive them  before the weather gets too warm in your area. If I don't jinx things by making this statement, we expect to be able to start taking cuttings in a couple of weeks.

For those of you who don't know what I mean by willow cuttings, they are 11" sticks from our collection of over 50 varieties of willows. We bundle them up into groups of 10 cuttings and sell them that way. You can simply stick a cutting into the soil and they will sprout roots and grow an incredible amount the first year, as long as the soil is kept moist until they become established. Here is a picture of that amazing growth in one year, from just a stick:

These are growing in Jim's brother's yard in Ohio. Frank has contributed a number of pictures to our Grass Scapes Gallery and is also selling pictures of grasses on the BluestemArt website.