Saturday, April 30, 2011

Brachyscome ‘New Amethyst’

Brachyscome Flower

The genus Brachyscome or Brachycome (without the “s”) is part of the Asteraceae family and includes mostly annual and perennial herbs native of Australasia. The genus name derives from the Greek brachys for “short” and kome for “hair” referring to the short bristles of the pappus or down of the seed. You might see the name Australian Daisy on the tag of Brachyscome hybrids in your local garden shop. The picture above is of the hybrid ‘New Amethyst’ – purchased recently. Last year we tried the hybrid ‘Blue Zephyr’ which proved to be a great deck plant for the Seattle summer. We over-wintered ‘Blue Zephyr’ in the ground and it is just starting to get new shoots.

Brachyscome 'New Amethyst' Potted
Brachyscome

Laurus nobilis – Do I Have A Male or Female Plant?

Laurus nobilis flowers



We’ve often wondered what the sex of our Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis) is. We dug around and found, we think, an answer in the book Class Book of Botany, Part 1 by John Hutton Balfour (MDCCCLII – 1852)[ref]. From the book:

Page 217. Figure 583
Staminiferous flower of Laurel (Laurus nobilis). The perianth is in four divisions, the stamens in twelve, in three rows, some of them introse, others extrorse, opening by hinged valves, as shown in stamen, s. Near the base of the stamens peculiar double glands are seen.

Page 217. Figure 584.
Pistilliferous flower of Laurel (Laurus nobilis). The perianth has four divisions, there is a single pistil, and two abortive or rudimentary stamens.

A little terminology recap:
- Stamens are the male, pollen-producing reproductive organ of a flower.
- Pistils are the female, ovule-bearing organ of a flower.
- Perianth is the outer envelope of a flower that consists of either the calyx or the corolla, or both.
- Anther is the pollen-bearing part of the stamen.
- Introse describes the condition when the faces of the anthers are toward the center of the flower.
- Extrose describes the condition when the faces of the anthers are towards the periphery of the flower.

So based on the help from the Class Book of Botany, some close up photos (shown below), and a jeweler’s loupe (to look at the flower parts up close) we think we have a female plant because our nobilis flower simply doesn’t have enough stamens to be male (according to the description above), except for two rudimentary ones.

Update: April 2013
It’s a female. Just a week ago during some pruning, we found a berry! 


Flowering Branches
Laurus nobilis

Laurus nobilis
Laurus nobilis

Flower Closeup
Laurus nobilis

Friday, April 29, 2011

Henry Murals In and Around Fremont and Ballard, Seattle

Underwater
Henry Mural

We’ve been on a bit of a mural binge around our neighborhood (Doric Lodge Mural, Still Life Coffee House Mural, Fremont “Fremont” Mural, 46th Street Mural, and the Aurora Bridge Mural) and we’d be seriously remiss if we didn’t mentioned some of the Henry murals. You can’t help but notice if you drive around Ballard, Fremont, or Wallingford – our usual stomping grounds – the large and colorful Henry murals. They have been painted into existence over the last few years in a variety of locations. The artist Ryan Henry Ward, in interviews, has said he has a goal of creating 50 murals in Seattle. His murals typically have oversized, whimsical creatures staring wide-eyed back at the viewer. Ward’s first mural (titled Save Our Wildlife below) is in Fremont, at the former Triangle Lounge (now called 9 Million Unmarked Bills). Unfortunately, it is located out back where the dumpsters are and it looks like it’s falling in a bit of disrepair. A newer Henry mural in Fremont exists now up just north of Uneeda Burger on Fremont Avenue between 43 and 44 streets. Noteworthy though in Fremont, is Ward’s Saint Francis Mural on the wall of the Episcopal Bookstore (3837 Stone Way North) depicting Saint Francis and a deer. For more on how that Saint Francis Mural came to be, watch this Emmy-nominated short documentary which provides a peek into the world of Henry.

A sampling of some of the Henry Murals in and around Fremont are shown below with the location of the nearest intersection.

Saint Francis
Stone Way N and N 39th
Henry Mural

A Goat With a Guitar and a Dog
Leary Way NW and NW 45th
Henry Mural
Henry Mural
Henry Mural

The Location Before the Mural
Henry Mural

Moose Fishing
8th Ave NW and NW 45th


Emerald City Gardens
Leary Way NW and NW 40th
Henry Mural
Henry Mural
Henry Mural

Robots – On the Side of Short Stop Coffee
Leary Way NW and NW 40th
Henry Mural

Save Our Wildlife
Evanston Ave N and N 35th
Henry Mural
Update: June 2011 – The mural was painted over dark gray! Sad day for Fremont. Hope it returns.

Fremont Fishing
Fremont Ave N, between 43rd and 44th
Henry Mural
Henry Mural

Underwater
Knickerson St and Florentia St
Henry Mural
Henry Mural

Henry Mural
Henry Mural
Henry Mural

Walruses on Bikes
8th Ave NW and NW 67th St
Henry Mural
Henry Mural

Gnome and Butterfly
1/2 block north of 8th Ave NW and NW 70th St
Henry Mural

Camels and Pyramid
8th Ave NW and NW 74th St
Henry Mural

Beavers - Shop Local
1/2 block east of 15th Ave NW and NW 85th


Van
Said to be #53 of the Henry Murals
Henry Mural
Henry Mural

Value Village
1 block north of 15th Ave NW and NW 85th
Henry Mural
Henry Mural
Henry Mural
Henry Mural

Creature Wall
Woodlawn Ave N and N 35th St
Henry Mural

Henry Mural

Ballard Sloop Tavern Wall
NW 54th St and NW Market St
Henry Mural
Henry Mural
Henry Mural

Fremont Garage and Foundation
Baker Ave NW and NW 42nd St
Henry Mural
Henry Mural 

Homegrown Sandwich Shop Bathroom
3416 Fremont Ave North

Henry Garage and Trucks
15th Ave NW and NW 49th Street



Friendly Hairy Monster and Bird
1752 N.W. Market Street, Ballard



Pink Walruses
Russell Avenue Northwest and 20th Ave.NW