Wednesday, February 4

Garden Pic Wednesday: Pine Tree Flowers!

I'm waiting for rice to steam to go with my leftover Gyoza right now, so why not work on today's post?
I know the pine trees around here do flower---I see the evidence in the form of yellow pollen coating the windshields of cars and everything else. That's where pine cones come from.
But because they are so high up, who ever thinks of what they look like?
Then the other day, I was looking out the back door and noticed the  nearest, lowest pine tree branch was loaded with blooms that looked bluish-purple. I thought, "Wow, I should take a picture and have a closer look."
 The sun was shining on one blossom just right, so I got out the camera and took this shot of these surprisingly attractive pine flowers:

This pine is native throughout the southern coast and is called a "Slash Pine" or "Swamp Pine."
And bears these bluish-purple flowers!
Most are 60 to 100 feet in the air, so not exactly in plain sight. I just happen to have a relatively young one with a low hanging branch within eyesight of my back door--still it's 20 feet up there.

Those purplish "petals" are future pine cones, though only 1 to 3 will mature. The rest of the "petals" will drop, littering the ground like brown caterpillars.Then in the fall--5 to 6 inch cones and in a good year for pine cones, 7 inches--which I have often collected for various craft purposes or for a nice bowl of them for fall decoration.
For crafts or indoor use, I do microwave them for 30 seconds to kill any insects and recommend that. Also, for crafts, it's a good idea to pull the seeds out from each petal with tweezers.
I once tried rinsing my first project cones with water, but wetting them just makes them close up tight--big mistake!
I had to set them out in the sun to dry until they opened back up.
Don't do that.
Have you ever used pine cones for a craft project? Found or purchased? What did you make?
(I've made tree ornaments, a Christmas door hanger and mini-Christmas trees!)
That's it for today! Stop back tomorrow to see what's up for Mama Kat!

1 comment:

Gentle Joy said...

We have 2 big pine trees and I so enjoy them.... all the different seasons of growth. They were only about 5' tall when we moved here 18 years ago.... now they are about 35-40' tall... and so beautiful. :) Right now we have a lot of pine cones all over the needles on the ground... well, we do UNDER the snow anyway. :) Thank you for this post... I have seen the tiny cones... I will have to pay closer attention now.

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