I’m pretty sure these are highbush cranberry (Viburnum trilobum) but I’m not one hundred percent because the leaves are long gone from the plants. I’d have to dig around to see if I have any old photos of the bushes at different times of the year to be sure. Although, thinking back to previous visits to this spot, I’d swear the bushes looked like the plants depicted in these photos.
The scale of the image doesn’t make sizing clear however, this was the biggest wasp nest I have ever seen. MASSIVE!
I’ve been growing a crop of anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) in a planter on my roof garden for several years now. It’s hardy enough to survive the extreme heat, wind, drought, and cold on the roof. Unfortunately, it’s also an aggressive self-seeder, which means its progeny pops up in every nook and cranny in the spring, continuing to produce new seedlings throughout the growing season.
I’ve wasted hours of my life so-far weeding out the babies but I’d grow it again despite the hassles. The flowers attract all manner of pollinators and beneficial insects to the roof, the birds like the seeds, and I like the flowers in tea. Sometimes it’s just nice to run my hands over the leaves and flowers for the smell, which is a mix of licorice or anise and mint with a hint of fruitiness.
This summer I discovered the joy of laying out on the roof and watching the silhouettes of the plants against flaming summer skies. I discovered this new perspective by accident while testing my new sleeping bag for that crazy camping trip to the Massassauga.
The dill is the most architectural and beautiful of them all.
I took this picture on a June 2007 trip to San Francisco. Crissy Field is on the Bay very near to Golden Gate Bridge (seen in the background). Apparently this saltwater wetland had been covered over to make way for an airfield sometime ago but has been recently resurrected and replanted with natives. I have no idea what the plant is in the foreground. There were lots of unknowns planted there. Visiting places like San Francisco is a humbling reminder of how many plants I don’t know and how much more is out there to discover.
That’s what makes these sorts of trips so fun! The first time I went to San Francisco in the mid 90s was the furthest trip I had ever taken from home and my first time in a southern climate. The plants all seemed so exotic and exciting. I teared up hugging palm trees. I ran around the city touching and smelling everything, marveling at the giant jades, monstrous geraniums and citrus trees. Before that trip it had never occurred to me that a common garden geranium could be so gnarly and wonderful unlike the sad little annuals people grow here. I was so excited to see everything and walk everywhere that I screwed up my knee going up and down all those steep hills and had to hobble around with a knee brace for my last few days there.
And it hasn’t changed really. I’ve been to a few southern climates now, San Francisco 4 times, and it never gets boring or repetitious. It’s always a thrill. I still tear up at the sight of a palm tree. And the same monster geraniums and giant jades are just as intoxicating as they were that first time.