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Thursday, April 24, 2008


Still putting bushels of Brunnera macrophylla (read that last name as: large leaved), on the compost pile - also - annual (biennial?) Forget-me-Nots. I tried to give them away, but found no takers.

Also, offered a couple of tiny redbud trees in small pots. We've been digging dozens of them, of different sizes, and throwing them on the compost pile, too. Seems a shame, but the birds plant them all over the place. Way far too many from Nature's abundance.

The Brunnera (pronounced brun-air'-ea) is also known by several old descriptive names such as: perennial Forget-Me-Not, and Anchusa myosotidiflora; because its blue flowers look like the Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis).

They make airy drifts of blue in springtime. (See blue haze beyond steps in the distance below.) And, are especially pretty with spring bulbs.

But, have tiny little spines that get into the skin. Best ways I've found to get the invisible little things out is to plaster them with cellophane tape then pull it off. Even better: coat them with Elmer's glue, allow to dry, then pull it off. Usually, the spines go with it.

I get to attend a luncheon event this month. Hope the ladies don't look at my hands. Major help needed there.

I can't stand to wear gloves when I garden, except for extreme times and jobs. At such times, they are greatly appreciated. Grandchildren gave me a pair of Mud Gloves that are wonderful, coated with rubber and lined with warm fuzzy stuff. They were just what I needed for certain cold and wet jobs.

I used to wear gloves all the time, but I would shed them here and there as they impeded progress. Cannot abide them most of the time now, they slow me down too much. Besides, I love that therapeutic touch of the earth on my skin, probably just psychological. I don't care. I love it. But, it IS very drying to skin.


David in Greensboro, NC said...

I don't like wearing gloves either. It's easier to get the weeds up by the roots with your bare hands.

Sue Swift said...

Barbee, you have a lovely garden. I'm like you about gloves, and then i end up with my hands cut and full of thorns and I regret it ...

Barbee' said...

David, I think so, too. I need to feel along their length and tease them out hoping to get the whole root so a piece won't grow into a new plant as so many of these do. I compare it to being a surgeon who has to feel their way around "in there".

Sue, gardening season is misery for me. It is not all sun and roses. It is: sore damaged hands, mosquito bites, chigger bites by the dozens, poison ivy, sore muscles, etc., etc. you know how it is :(

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I love the Mysotis FGMNs, they're so tiny they require minute contemplation. (I don't have any of them, just the burly Brunnera FGMNs.)

Jim/ArtofGardening said...

Trying to give away forget-me-nots? Good luck. The only taker I have is my neighbor, but they didn't ask. The plant just made itself at home in their yard. In another week, I'll have so many that it'll be a sea of blue.

patientgardener said...

I cant get on with gloves either. I only wear them now if I am pruning something spiky like roses. I do find though that my hands really dry out and as for getting the mud from out under my nails - it drives me mad. I never believe people who have lovely nails are true gardeners!

Anonymous said...

Aaaarrggghh, composting brunneras and forget-me-nots! Geez, how I wish you lived near me. I'd take all you had to offer! SO beautiful, and I have a creek to plant them along. Sigh. I certainly agree about gloves, though! If I can't touch the soil and plants, what's the point?! I can always tell if it's gardening season by how short and chopped off my fingernails are (and how long my toenails are in their sandals). Great post!

Barbee' said...

Oh, you readers are such fun!!!

Nancy J. Bond said...

The forget-me-nots are so pretty! I dislike wearing gloves, also. Don't like wearing them for anything, including dishes and gardening. :)

Amy said...

Ooh, your description of those spines gives me the shivers! I'd probably go glove-less if only I could - I have so many issues with the poor skin on my hands as it is :) Gloves *are* annoying sometimes though when you really need to feel what you're doing. I've got one pair my parents bought me after trying them out themselves. They're the only ones I can stand :)

Babs said...

All those plants on the compost pile! That breaks my heart. (but then I can't even thin seedlings without feeling guilty) If I lived closer, I'd adopt them. I was actually thinking of trying to start forget-me-nots from seed, but it sounds like they'll make themselves right at home and take over. Maybe I should reconsider. Is there any good way to keep them in check? In a container maybe?

Barbee' said...

Nancy, I agree with you. I gave up trying to wear them to wash dishes. Now that I garden, it's just a good way to get hands & nails good and clean :)

Amy, I wish we knew what kind of gloves they gave you. I have tried several types already, but gave up.

Babs, I think it is the seeds that spreads it. In a container? I guess you would have to be diligent about dead heading. Even then it might escape. Anyone else know?

Melanie said...

Barbee, I wish you lived close to me, I'd take all those Brunera and pot them up for our sale. Mine haven't seeded enough for me to share yet.

I never knew about the spines! Are they on the leaves or the stems? Since I usually wear gloves that might be why. It's only when I'm potting that I just have to feel the soil with my fingers.

Barbee' said...

Melanie, I had never heard of the plant until we moved here. The seller (our elderly friend, Mary) called them Anchusa. I'm sure it is a very old fashioned strain. I don't know anything about the newer varieties. But, this one has the spines on leaves and stems; the plant is very coarse, scratchy, and unpleasant to brush up against - at least it is to me for I have sensitive Celtic skin. Newer forms may not be like that. I just don't know.

I spent the first year here with my nose in books trying to identify and learn about the plants that are here. I decided this 'Anchusa' is what they now call Brunnera. And, it seeds about everywhere. On the bank that is not a problem. Sometimes there is too much in a border or bed so we dig it out. Babies can be potted up.

I probably will try that for the upcoming plant sale held by the University of Kentucky Woman's Club of which I am a member, and they expect plants from me. I did that one year and a man bought everyone of them.

I wish we were close neighbors for many reasons. I have no gardening friends close by. All of you would be welcome to load up all the extras.

Thank you for stopping by; wish I could hand you some souvenir plants.

Esther Montgomery said...

I use gloves for pulling out teasles and not for much else.

I wish I could use them when pruning roses too - but whenever I've tried that, I've made a hash of the cuts.

I wish redbuds could be space-travelled.

I've fallen in love with them while reading North American blogs.


Barbee' said...

Whew! Those teasels are wicked! Yes, wish I could hand you some of the baby redbud trees.

joey said...

What a lovely post, Barbee ... Forget-me-nots remind me of my youth and my children picked them for my bouquets. But the glove story held my heart. I don't know any true gardener whose hands don't tell a lovely tale.

Years ago my mentally challenged nephew held my hands watching TV and commented how rough and calloused they were. Then, unexpectedly, he kissed them and said, "I love your hands, Aunt Jo, because they work so hard." Since then, instead of hiding them I proudly show them off for, after all, they are my most prized possession ... God-given tools.

So show them off at the luncheon, Barbee! They are the tools honing your beautiful gardens.

Barbee' said...

Joey, that is one of the sweetest stories I have ever heard! I think I will never forget it.