October 28, 2018

Pleasant Views for Botanical Healing

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Sooner or later, it happens: Repeated frosts and freezes take the life out of plants, and the growing season ends. Some plants go to seed, like Blue Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum), while others remain nearly evergreen, like variegated English Ivy* (Hedera helix). But they all slow down when the weather is cold and the days are short.

I happened to have some strands of both remaining from some floral arrangements, and gazing on them caught me in a reflective mood. I tend to have a bit of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) this time of year, which is normal and manageable if it doesn't get too severe. During my adult life, it never has; I just tend to "nest" more--staying inside, reading good books, eating comfort food, crocheting, and finding fun indoor activities to get me through the shorter days.

Anyway, beyond the fact that these two plants are pretty together...my point is that the fluffy seedheads of the Conoclinium cheer me up. Just looking at them brightens my mood. I think it's a combination of factors: they're attractive seedheads, I enjoy the colors, they are signs of hope for the next growing season, and most of all...they're so soft, cuddly, fluffy, and perfect. Like a warm blanket or a cuddly stuffed animal.

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See what I mean? How about you? Are there particular plants, seeds, or flowers that cheer you, calm you, or help improve your mood...just by looking at them?

[PlantPostings is celebrating eight years of blogging this month. Cheers!]

(*Note: I also love English Ivy, but only in pots, since it can become invasive where it's not native, even in cold climates.)

40 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your 8 year blogging anniversary, Beth! That's quite an achievement. Color always cheers me up and I'm lucky to live in an area where I can garden year-round so there's always a bit of it to be found (even if water is becoming an ever more precious commodity).

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    1. Thanks, Kris! The eight years passed quickly! Yes, you are so fortunate! I actually like a little break, but by February I'm ready for winter to end! That's when it's time to visit warm places like California. ;-)

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  2. I’ve definitely got some SAD leanings too. My “happy” flowers are Protea and Leucadendron from the market. They remind me it’s sunny and warm somewhere in the world.

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    1. Thank you for that, Loree. I need the reminder to treat myself to fresh flowers to lift my mood sometimes. My SAD tends to be north of depression, but it takes away all my energy. All I want to do is hibernate--sleep, crochet, cuddle up, watch movies, read books, etc. Definitely not feeling like going outside lately, although today was a lovely warmish day.

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  3. 8 years? Wow congratulations, that shows dedication. November gets me like that a bit too.Cold and dark for months to come. That's why I have a winter garden and seek out blooms for the darkest days.

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    1. Thank you, Chloris! Early November is tough; the holidays carry me through to January and then I rest. February in Wisconsin is the toughest and longest month--every year! You are fortunate to be able to garden during the winter. My garden is covered with white stuff and frozen clear stuff during the winter. ;-)

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  4. Congrats on your 8 years of blogging. I am so happy I found your blog and was able to meet you. We seem to be of a similar mindset. I find this reaffirming life. As to your fluffy teddies, I love them. I find the entire garden gives me that feel. When one plant gives way there is always something else to sit up and say "look here". It takes a long time for winter to get to me. It seems that February is my down month. We usually go someplace to bypass some of that. August is another month that about slays me. Too much to type in that regard.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. I'm so glad I've had the chance to get to know you, too. Now I feel like we're old friends, and I look forward to our gatherings every summer! Agreed--each plant has a special effect on me. I find I need more comfort this time of year, however, so the Conoclinium is actually a mood-lifter. November is tough, but I agree--February is the TOUGHEST. I don't like February in Wisconsin at all. August is a favorite month, however the transition to autumn can be a bit of a downer. We'll have to discuss next time we're together. ;-)

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  5. Congrats on 8 years; quite an accomplishment. I don't think I've ever seen those seedheads just the plant in flower. They're wonderful!

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    1. Thanks, Linda. I truly can't believe it's been eight years. The Conoclinium seedheads really do lift my mood--so soft and fluffy and cuddly. ;-)

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  6. I was wondering what was in a recent bouquet I received and there it is in your garden - Conoclinium coelestinum - very nicely photographed too!
    Mimosa (Acacia dealbata )is my current mood lifter though it is also full of memories that cut to the quick - blooms are in the shops now but the tree itself usually flowers much later in our parks

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    1. Thank you, Laura. Yes, the Conoclinium flowers are wonderful in arrangements and they have a very long vase life. And then afterward you get the sweet, soft seedheads...win, win! Oh yes, Mimosa blooms are special, too. I've enjoyed seeing them at various venues during travels. One time I recall was at the San Diego Botanic Garden, and the hummingbirds were loving all over them. <3

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  7. Hello,
    Yay, to 8 years. High Fives!!
    November has always been my hardest month. I am hoping the little project my husband and I built will help me this year.

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    1. Thanks, Carla. Time passes so fast! I'm glad you have a project for November. It's tough for me, too, but February is the worst. It seems winter will never end...

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  8. One of my all-time favories! Your photos beautifully capture the color and form of this pollinator magnet. Mine is blooming with visits from a variety of pollinators, including the migrating monarchs. I may need to move it soon, as the spot has become ever-shady. My mood is lifted---thanks!

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    1. Thank you, Tina. I remember you posting about Blue Mistflower, too, and it's nifty to think that the migrating pollinators have a river of Conoclinium (and other beauties) in gardens from Wisconsin to Texas and beyond. I have the plant in dappled shade and in partial sun. It performs better in partial sun, mainly because that part of the garden is fenced and the rabbits can't get to it. They seem to like the taste of Blue Mistflower, along with many of my other favorite native plants, darn it!

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  9. Oh, and congrats on the blogging b-day!

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  10. Congratulations on your 8th blogaversary!
    I often find the seeds of our wildflowers more interesting than the same old flowers. Much more diversity among the seeds - and the extra puzzling out of who the seeds belong to.

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    1. Thank you, Diana. I remember you were one of the first bloggers I "met" online, and it's been a pleasure to follow you all these years. I've learned so much about S. Africa, and in particular your beautiful wildflowers! I agree--the seeds and seedheads are fascinating...often more so than the actual flowers.

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  11. I like my scented geraniums. I think of them as the plant equivalent of a pet. They release their scent when you stroke their leaves or give them water water. Sometimes they even bloom in the middle of winter. Happy 8th Anniversary. I recommend a bronze fennel plant. Swallow tail butterflies love it and I think you would too!

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    1. Oh, yes, scented Geraniums are lovely. I had some at my previous, sunnier garden. Thanks for the recommendation and the nice wishes! :)

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  12. I need to go check my blue mistflowers to see if there is any blue left on them. I have a bit of SAD, too, and now that the days are getting shorter and shorter, it is kicking in a bit. Still, we are having mild weather when it isn't raining, and I have been getting some gardening in. I dug some compost to put around in the vegetable garden, but ran out of steam before getting as much done as I wanted to. I am determined to clean out this winter, so there will be less clutter in the house.

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    1. It was a lovely day today for Halloween--I was so happy for the trick-or-treaters. Yes, the shrinking day length really kicks me, too. ;-) I need to clean the inside of my house, too, and get more organized.

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  13. Even with the freezes we've had, the scabiosa still have blooms on them - a ray of sunshine & they are now on my "must have" seeding list. I too love seed heads - even those that are not "attractive" so to speak; all I see are all the possible babies that they could give me ;)

    And congrats on 8 years, Beth! Quite the achievement!!

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    1. Thanks, Margaret! Yes, I think of the seed as "babies" for the next growing season, too--especially the ones that take freely without a lot of effort on my part, like the Blue Mistflowers.

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  14. I really like how that Mistflower looks, can't wait until I have more of it!

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    1. Me, too. And it keeps expanding in the places where the rabbits can't get to it!

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  15. I love blue Mistflower, too! Most plants brighten my mood, and I tend to take strolls in my garden even in the depth of winter. (However, we have just barely entered autumn, so I have a month or two before real winter gets here. And we are blessed with short, relatively mild winters.) But I also love to snuggle up in front of a crackling fire while I look out the big front living room windows, through which I can watch the winter garden and its wildlife.

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    1. Me, too. I feel happy when I see the flowers and later the seedheads. Short, mild winters would be nice. Actually, I don't mind a couple of months of winter--some quiet time after the busy holidays. But by about February, I'm sick of it and want to get away!

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  16. thanks for sharing a bit of cheer as the days are growing shorter. Here, we're lucky enough to have a few winter blooming plants like hellebores, sarcococca, Lonicera fragrantissima, etc. that make me happy during the bleak season. However, pretty much any plant that looks happy and healthy makes me happy.

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    1. Yes, you're fortunate to have those blooms in the winter! Our Hellebores start to bud in the fall, but most of them bloom in early spring. But they are certainly early signs of new life. And keeping a few blooming plants in the house helps my mood, too. :)

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  17. A belated congratulations on 8 years of blogging! I think a lot of people have SAD, in various forms--especially in the northern latitudes. For me, it's a big drop in energy, seems like it takes forever to get things done. And then there's this weird desire to heat my house to 80 F! won't happen tho :) Hang in there!

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    1. Thanks, Hollis. My energy level has really bottomed out lately. The idea of actually hibernating is appealing. ;-) And it's been so cold lately I can't seem to get warm--even in a heated house!

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  18. Very pretty!
    Congratulations on 8 years blogging.
    Have a wonderful week!

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    1. Thanks, Lea. Those years passed so fast! It's been fun to be part of the garden blogging "family" that includes people like you. :)

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  19. Congratulations on 8 years! That is something to brag about.

    My favorite is lush, green landscapes especially mountains or hills. When I am in the city then leave for the country, it seems when I see the green landscapes, I can feel the tension easing out of my body.
    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

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    1. Thank you, Jeannie! I'm proud of sticking with the blogging, although it hasn't been a sacrifice. because I love it! And oh, yes, I know what you mean about the green landscapes, hills, and mountains. I feel that calmness in those settings, too. I also enjoy a prairie filled with wildflowers and butterflies. :)

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