Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Lupine Finally Blooming

I love lupine. I used to have a lot of it on my Templeton property. The drought killed most of it up on the hill when there was no rain. The seeds I planted in my herb garden rarely grew. It's been years since lupine was there, even though the seeds for it have been in the ground. Today I went home, and although the property, including the herb garden was overrun with weeds, I saw lupine finally blooming again. I love surprises like that. 

Here's a closer look at the photo above.





Lupine supposedly is a perennial plant, though I always considered this form of it annual. I've seen a shrub form in Cambria at Moonstone beach that I'm sure was perennial because it's always there. There are at least 82 species of lupine in California. All species are related to the pea, but the seeds are toxic. The plant's name Lupinus spp. means "wolf" because it was thought that lupine depleted nutrients from the soil. Instead, though, like other legumes, their root nodules add nitrogen to the soil that it needs.

The photo to the right shows a bit more of the overgrown garden on a slope. Behind the lupine, to the left of the title, is an overgrown clump of thyme I need to harvest and dry. It's already blooming, but it's flowers are too tiny to see in this photo. The lupine chose to emerge among the irises that have not  bloomed yet. The large lavender,  oregano, and sage plants are out of sight in this photo.

The lupine plants you see here came from seeds I collected one day from a vacant lot in San Luis Obispo while I was on a walk. The pods were ready to explode, and the timing was perfect. They have bloomed a couple of times before in wet years, and it's a joy to have them back  this year.

Lupine and other wildflowers don't have a long blooming season. Wouldn't it be nice to enjoy seeing them in your home all year round? Why not pick and press some while they are in bloom? Here are some how-to and craft idea books, and even a microwave flower press you can browse through at Amazon if you like to do things yourself. If you don't have time to make  something lovely with wildflowers yourself, why not buy some of this lupine wall art for one of your walls? Here are some beauties from Zazzle.