Coincidentally enough, I just found out that Ken will be doing the next Glen Arbor Art Association Talk About Art this Thursday, April 10, 7:30 p.m. at the GAAA in Glen Arbor.

Spring Speak ... violet

Spring Speak … violet, photo by Ken Scott

Today’s post comes via eatdrinkTCMichigan is the second most agriculturally diverse state in the U.S. and that diversity doesn’t stop at the market! Our woods are alive with tasty and nutritious food if you know where to look. In our Wild Food Wednesdays we’ll tip you off to seasonal goodies and give you a recipe or two so you can enjoy the meal as much as the hike to find it!

In many years, we will have seen Viola sororia (Common blue violet) in the woods and often in our lawns by now. Violets can be found in a variety of soil conditions, from moist and even swampy deciduous forests to drier forests (though not usually near pines). The flowers and young leaves are delicious! The Culinary Violet page at the American Violet Society says (in part):

Both the flowers and leaves in fresh and dried forms have been standard fare in Europe and other areas in the world since before the 14th century. Fresh flowers are most often used for garnishing and crystallizing, The pungent perfume of some varieties of v.odorata adds inimitable sweetness to desserts, fruit salads and teas while the mild pea flavor of v.tricolor and most other viola combines equally well with sweet or savory foods, like grilled meats and steamed vegetables. The heart-shaped leaves of the v. odorata provide a free source of greens throughout a long growing season. They add texture to green salads when young and tender. Later in the season, slightly tougher, older leaves are cooked with other potted herbs and greens in soups, stews and stir-frys.

Violets aren’t just another pretty face. They are loaded with phytochemicals and medicinal constituents that have been used in the treatment of numerous health problems from the common cold to cancer. The late Euell Gibbons even referred to them as “nature’s vitamin pill (1).” A 1/2 cup serving of leaves can provide as much vitamin C as three oranges.

You can see some more photos and a county distribution at the Herbarium of the University of Michigan and get a lot more, including recipes, from eatdrinkTC!

Ken took this shot in March of 2012. See it on Flickr and see more in his Flowers slideshow!

More flowers and more food on Michigan in Pictures!


Untitled, photo by Donald Anson

By “Good Old Days” I mean April 2011.

View Donald’s photo background big and see more in his awesome Flowers slideshow.

For the flower-deprived, there’s lots more flowers and more spring wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures too!

Pink Daffodils

April 4, 2014

Pink Daffodils by Alissa Holland

Pink Daffodils, photo by Alissa Holland

We can dream, right?

View Alissa’s photo bigger and see more in her How My Garden Grows slideshow.

First Flowers of Spring

First Flowers of Spring, photo by Bill Dolak

Although this photo is from a year and two days ago, reports are starting to roll in of crocus sightings. That’s good enough for me – set a course for Spring, Warp 6!

Check it out background bigtacular and see more in Bill’s Flowers slideshow.

There’s more spring wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures and in case you were feeling wimpy after March, UpNorth Live reports that March 2014 was indeed a lion!

In the Month of March the average temperature for these cities were well below normal. March was 10 degrees below normal in Houghton Lake and 11 degrees below normal in Gaylord. This past March was the 3rd coldest on record in Alpena, and in both Gaylord and Houghton Lake it was the coldest on record!

Push Up

Push Up, photo by Michael in A2

Michigan Gardener’s plant focus on Snowdrops begins:

The very first bulb to cheerfully announce spring is the snowdrop. As the last winter snow melts, carpets of delicate white flowers emerge through last year’s fallen leaves. Snowdrops will reliably return year after year despite Mother Nature’s most challenging winters. The botanical name, Galanthus, comes from the Greek words Gala meaning “milk” and anthos meaning “flower.” They will thrive in the rich, moist soil usually found in the shade provided by deciduous trees. Few bulbs can tolerate shade, but snowdrops develop in the winter sun well before the leaves of trees and shrubs have expanded. Their flowers last for several weeks beginning in early March and persisting through the cool days of spring in early April. Once planted, Galanthus require no maintenance.

Read on at Michigan Gardener and bring on the spring!

View Michael’s photo background big and see more in his 2014: Flowers slideshow.

More flowers and more spring wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.

Sunflower in Fog

February 22, 2014

Sunflower in Fog

Sunflower in Fog, photo by guizhou2012

I know that lots of you are wishing for summer and 70 degrees.

View this photo background big and see more in Yonghui Chen’s Sunflower slideshow.

If you want to fight the power, there’s more summer wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.

Mr. Sunshine . . .

Mr. Sunshine…, photo by Dr. Farnsworth

Michigan Gardener is a fantastic site that can give you all kinds of help with what to put in your garden and how to make it grow. They have a nice article about sunflowers featuring Bob Koenders, owner of the Backyard Bouquet Farm. It begins:

According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture, in 1997 there were 32 farms growing sunflowers on 1,522 acres, and by 2002 there were 91 farms with 2,275 acres. Most of the fields of open sunflowers are oil seed type, grown for oil or seed (for birds or humans). Their heads were bred to hang down, making it more difficult for birds to eat the seeds and rain to ruin the harvest.

…According to the National Sunflower Association, the wild sunflower is native to North America, but commercialization of the plant was done by Russia. It was only somewhat recently that the sunflower plant “returned” to America. Native Americans first developed the wild sunflower into a single-headed plant with a variety of seed colors including black, red, white, and striped black and white. Some archeologists suggest that sunflowers may have been domesticated before corn. The Native Americans used the sunflower seed for grinding into flour, trail snacks, purple dyes, body painting, ceremonial, and medicinal uses. Sunflower oil was used for making bread, as well as on skin and hair. The dried stalks were even used for building materials.

They add some fun facts about sunflowers:

  • Sunflower’s scientific name is Helianthus; Helios meaning “sun” and anthos meaning “flower.”
  • Sunflower heads track the sun’s movement; this phenomenon is called heliotropism.
  • Sunflowers can grow up to 12 inches a day during the peak of the growing season. They are more photosynthetic than many other plants and better utilize the sun for growth.
  • Sunflower stems were used as filling for life jackets.
  • Sunflower leaves are cupped to channel the water down the stem.
  • Sunflower heads consist of 1,000 to 2,000 individual flowers joined by a receptacle base. The large petals around the edge of the sunflower head are individual ray flowers which do not develop into seed.
  • The world record sunflower with the most heads (837) was grown in Michigan in 2001.

Read on for lots more including tips about growing sunflowers and get tons more sunflower info from the National Sunflower Association.

Check Dale’s photo out background bigtacular and see more in his Flower slideshow.


July 18, 2013


Moonflower, photo by bill.d

WiseGeek’s page on growing moonflowers explains:

For a gardener who doesn’t keep a normal nine-to-five schedule, growing moonflowers may be the perfect hobby. Ipomoea alba, or the common moonflower, is a night-blooming vine from the same family as the morning glory. Growing moonflowers requires very little effort, and the gardener is rewarded with a climbing vine that can reach a height of 10 to 20 feet (3.05 to 6.1 meters) in one season. In its natural habitat of tropical and sub-tropical climates, this vine is considered a perennial, but in colder climates it must be replanted every year.

…As with their daytime cousins, the morning glories, growing moonflowers requires full or partial sun. The plant will begin to bloom in late afternoon and into the early evening hours, and continue to remain open until sunrise. The vines are voracious climbers, and should be planted in a spot where they may spread as needed, such as near a trellis or patio support beam.

Moonflowers produce large white flowers. Some gardeners like to grow them alongside various colors of morning glories, especially the “heavenly blue” strain. This commingling results in an abundance of flowers both day and night in one garden spot, blue in daylight and white by moonlight. The fragrant moonflowers are often considered ornamental, and each flower remains open no longer than one night.

Also see Everything You Wanted to Know About Moonflowers from Local Harvest check out this video of a moonflower opening.

Bill took this shot in his garden and suggests you  check out “moon flower moth” on Flickr. See his photo bigger and see  more great shots of these ephemeral beauties in his Flowers slideshow!

Many (many) more Michigan flowers on Michigan in Pictures!

May 30, 2013

May 30, 2013, photo by rickrjw

As you can see from Rick’s photo taken yesterday, 2013 has blessed Northern Michigan with a strong morel season that is still going strong while lilacs are out! Doesn’t get much better than this!

Check this out on black and see more in Rick’s giant Boyne City, Michigan slideshow.

Of course there are morels & lilacs aplenty on Michigan in Pictures!


Trillium, photo by karstenphoto

One of the many signs of spring in Michigan is the appearance of the endangered trillium flower in the woods. In Plant Focus: Trillium, George Papadelis of the Michigan Gardener writes that for hundreds of years, this plant and its name have been used to symbolize purity, simplicity, elegance, and beauty.

In Ohio, where all 88 counties have masses of wild trillium, it was selected as the state’s official wildflower. Its flowers have twice graced a U.S. postage stamp. Even our Canadian friends across the bridge have declared white trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) the official provincial flower of Ontario. Other parts of the world share our passionate admiration for this plant. In Europe, where trilliums are not found in nature, gardeners dedicate vast amounts of time and money acquiring them, especially rare species. In Japan, a cult-like interest has developed towards trillium.

The most readily available species is Trillium grandiflorum or white wake-robin. This has large, pure white flowers up to 5 inches across. These develop in great abundance throughout the northeastern U.S. Its flowers usually fade to a dull pink and sometimes red. Trillium erectum is a much more diverse species with flowers ranging from red to purple to yellow-green and beige. It also grows wild in the Northeast and Michigan. Trillium luteum is the most common yellow species. It originates from areas around eastern Tennessee. One of its most notable features is the beautiful dark green leaves decorated with pale green markings. The flowers are relatively small. Trillium recurvatum bears maroon-purple to clear yellow flowers with strongly curved petals.

Read on for information about how to legally grow trillium.

Check this out background bigtacular, check out his Spring slideshow and see more from Steve on Michigan in Pictures.

More spring wallpaper


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