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Author: admin, 24.03.2016. Category: Gardening

Once again I seem to have several purple flowers that don’t really into separate blog posts. Just over a week ago I spent a wonderful morning exploring the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona. I’ll be back in Arizona in December and hope to spend more time at the Desert Botanical Garden. One of the very common spring wildflowers in the Eastern United States is May Apple (Podophyllum peltatum). Most of the freesias I photographed this year were the lovely ones with the pink and white petals. On my first visit to Reflection Riding Arboretum in Chattanooga, Tennessee, I discovered a wonderful blue and white wildflower – Blue-Eyed Mary (Collinsea Verna).
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I’m so excited and happy to announce that special Early Bird Pricing for my 2011 Wildflower Calendar is now available!
The calendars feature 12 full color photographs of wildflowers taken in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. I love the contrast of the bright yellow of the petals against the soft green of the leaves. So I decided it was time for another Shades of Purple post – where I just post purple flowers. I headed out a day early for the conference I was attending just so I could visit the Desert Botanical Garden.


They have two large leaves – with a single white flower growing at the axil of the leaves. My photos of the May Apples from 2009 were taken along the Ash Hopper Trail in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Last year I had photographed some Blue Bayou, Yvonne and Purple Star Freesia, so it was great seeing two more varieties of these lovely plants. It is native to North America, found in New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohis, Kentucky, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas in the United States.
The flowers are blue and white – with 2 white upper lobes and 3 lower  lobes (2 blue, 1 white). If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know how much I love photographing in these areas. This past spring, I finally had the opportunity to photograph some yellow lady’s slippers. I also love them because they are so easy to grow – mine are starting to take over a whole section of my garden.
Somehow I seem to end up photographing an awful lot of purple flowers – wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that it is one of my favorite colors. I mentioned that I was hoping to photograph some cactus in bloom since I’ve never seen any blooming before. The 2010 photos were taken along the Little Kiddie Trail in the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.
Fortunately for me, one of the trustees at Reflection Riding stopped to talk with me – and he not only identified the plant as Blue-Eyed Mary, but let me know I was very lucky to be seeing it.


This summer, I’ve had lots of butterflies and birds in my garden, in part because of the Black Eyed Susans.
Several times over the next few hours, Jeff took time to come find me and show me some of the flowering cactuses he had spotted. A member of the Berberidaceae or bayberry family, May Apples are also known as the American or wild Mandrake. The flowers have between six and nine white petals – with yellow stamens in the center. The leaves, roots and seeds of the May Apple are poisonous and can kill if ingested in large quantities. It only blooms for a short time in Tennessee, and when I returned to Reflection Riding ten days later, I didn’t see any Blue-Eyed Mary.
In the US, they are hardy from zones 8a to 11, preferring sunny areas with well-drained soil. This was a case of being in the right place at the right time to discover a new wildflower. The genus collinsia are named after Zaccheus Collins (1764-1831), a botanist  and Vice President of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences. Freesias are named after the German physician, Friedrich Heinrich Theodor Freese (1795–1876).



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