Snapshots: Colour and texture.


I remember years ago when I first started working in a garden centre, my boss at the time firmly instructed me “not to order any of that flax!”    His rant was that it was a “junky plant,” and there will definitely be others who agree, I’m sure.  But I love it.  Yes, it reseeds itself freely…and lest you think my garden is a haven for aggressively spreading plants (I just did a post about alpine strawberries, after all!), I just yank them if they go astray.  They’re easier than carrots to pull out.  Plus, if you give them a haircut a couple of times a summer, you’ll likely coax another spell of blooms…and at the very least, keep a few seeds from forming.  I can’t get enough of that stellar blue…and how the feathery stems move in a breeze.

Immature larch cone - 7 June 2013

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you know I’m a little bit obsessed with larch trees.  (See my posts here and here…and here).  This year, I missed the flowering of the larch trees that grow outside of the soccer field near our apartment, but I managed to capture these adorable fuzzy immature cones late last week.


More young cones, these ones on a very attractive pine tree that I cannot ID.  (If anyone can assist, please give me a shout-out!).  My hubby played in a lacrosse tournament this past weekend and during a walk near the arena while on a break, we came across a high school that had the most beautiful landscaping…there were even some large yucca near the front doors.  These pine trees framed the south and east sides of the building.


A gorgeous Spiraea in the same schoolyard.


Lamium maculatum ‘Pink Pewter’, in my flowerbed.  You’re definitely wondering now…what is it with me and these spreading plants?  Well, this one is in a hot, dry, full sun location…it won’t go too far.  I’m surprised it’s gotten as large as it has with all my neglect.  Those leaves are stunning, aren’t they?


One of the not-so green greens I’m growing in my veggie plot in the community garden…this absolutely gorgeous one is ‘Red Frills’ mustard.  I harvested a bunch of them as microgreens the other day – wow, what incredible flavour!  They pack a punch, that’s for sure.  Highly recommended.


While on a walk in Bowmont Natural Area in northwest Calgary last week, my hubby and I came across this mourning cloak butterfly posing on a fencepost.  He’s looking a little rough around the edges…but that’s texture, too!  🙂

Photo #7 – R. Normandeau

What are your favourite textures and colours in the garden and in nature at the moment?


  1. I like the look of the ‘Red Frills’ mustard, very pretty colour, does it grow very large? I grew some mustard, it had very large leaves very quickly so not so useful for salads. Christina

    • This is the first year I’ve planted it, so I’m not sure just how big it can get. I’m not going to allow it to become too mature – I think the flavour will be too much for me if I do. It’s spicy enough as microgreens! I’ll allow some of the plants get about 10 cm tall or so but that’s it. I think I’ll have to really keep on it, because it is growing very quickly.

  2. I would love to grow Flax in my garden but haven’t found any seeds/plants yet. Out in the country I sometimes see fields of flax and it is a wonderful sight in full bloom.

  3. Beautiful flax flowers Sheryl. And the shot of the larch cones is interesting as I’ve never taken much notice of them at that stage. The fresh green of larch in spring is one of my favourite colours. The Lamium is lovely in that shade of pink – I put exactly that one in this spring, but it hasn’t flowered so far. Lovely post!

  4. I was introduced to and planted a Blue Flax just this year, and I love it. I hope it does reseed to certain extent! The flowers are such a lovely shade of blue, and I love its feathery foliage!I’m really enjoying the colors of my various low growing, spreading sedums and the hens and chicks. I love their pink edged rosettes. The astilbe has lovely foliage, and its flower stalks (just buds so far) wave about so merrily in the breeze.

    • I agree with you – the hens and chicks and various sedums are so wonderful! A gardener could seriously collect them, just to get all the colours and types of foliage. 🙂

      And astilbe is another favourite of mine as well, although I don’t grow it. They look great the entire season!

    • Thank you! I’m also a big fan of spirea – they are really quite hardy, and as you say, tolerant of soils that are usually thought of as “difficult.” And there are so many lovely varieties! 🙂

  5. I never actually planted that Blue Flax but was the happy recipient of some strays from a neighbours yard, maybe brought over by the breeze or even a little bird. So that always appealed to me. I love their colour and the feathery stems moving in the wind.

  6. I like unruly flowers, and I like blue flowers, so I do like that flax. Have never grown it, though. I saw some mourning cloaks earlier this spring, but haven’t seen any since then.

    • I’ve only seen a couple of mourning cloaks here this year – usually there are a lot more by this time in June. I’ve hardly seen any butterflies at all, actually. Just a gazillion mosquitoes….

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