susansflowers

garden ponderings

Iceland Poppy

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Iceland Poppy

This is my only/first flower purchase this year – so far. I was at my local discount store, and have wanted one of these for a long time. It was calling to me to take it home.

I took this photo almost a week ago, and the flower is just starting to fade. Nothing like cool weather with no rain for the flowers to persist. Perfect flower weather. The rain is due in a couple of days, so I’m trying not to overdue myself with yard work.

These poppies are supposed to be deer-resistant, but you can see the fence-cage I put around this plant. I do not trust the deer until the plant can get established for a season or two. I’ve seen these plants get quite large in other gardens, so I’m hoping this one will like its new home. And the deer have not read the plant manuals to understand what they are not supposed to like to eat.

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First Tulips

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First Tulips

Yes, the rain has been trying to push these flowers to the ground. What a surprise to see the first tulips, I always wonder which ones will be the first to show their color. It seems to be different ones each year. These are in a sheltered, east-facing location, just below a deck.

In the bulb catalog, the colors are so entrancing, I admit to ordering a big variety on that premise at least once. But then I started to catch on, not all tulips return every year. Many tulips are bred to be tall, or a particular color, and don’t necessarily come back. Then there are the native tulips, many originated in Afghanistan of all places, that do return every year. These perennials are often shorter-stemmed, and not long-lived, but they are STURDY, and a hard winter does not deter their return.

One year we were at a huge public garden when they were digging up all of the tulips. Not all were done blooming, but it must have been on their schedule to remove those bulbs and prepare the beds for whatever would come next. I wanted so much to take some home with me, and I don’t believe anyone would have minded as these were all going to the compost pile. But this was in Canada, and I was not expecting to be home for over a week. I hardly think display gardens in other countries are any different on this topic. The tulips are treated like any other annual.

Baby Bok Choy flowers

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Baby Bok Choy flowers

It was a few years ago that I planted a six-pack of Baby Bok Choy seedlings. They were new to our diet, so we didn’t eat many, as I had a lot to learn about cooking these vegies.

But they did go to seed, and have done so repeatedly. Now, it would be very difficult to eat all the baby bok choy growing in the vegetable beds. Between what the slugs eat, and how fast it bolts to flower, the window of prime harvest is small.

The flowers are really quite pretty, and the bees like them. Such a good reason to let the cycle of rebirth continue. It would probably be smart to determine when the seeds are mature, so I can save some and plant them when and where I want.

Spirea

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Spirea

This is not the most glamorous photo of this bush, but it is the reality here. One can easily see the flowers on the top of this plant, and if you look close you can spot the ugly old fence around it. Deer keep the new growth nibbled to about 40 inches high. If the deer were to get very hungry they can eat much higher on a plant, or push the fence – it is not staked that sturdy.

When the plant was first moved here, the fence was more than adequate to protect it from varmits. The fence has been enlarged a couple of times, and will probably stay just as it is from now on. There is no irrigation here either – definitely a ‘survival of the fittest’ scenario.

Bloom-time is the one time of year this shrub looks great. In summer, when the grass turns brown, it looks good, as it is still green. Winter time shows just a bundle of sticks. Sometimes you just take what you can get!

Camellias

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Camellias

I had not realized just how close this plant was to blooming, when I noticed a bush full of flowers. It is so colorful, too bad these are not cutting flowers that can be enjoyed inside as much as appreciated outdoors. Though, I remember a babysitter from when my kids were little, who showed them how to float a camellia bloom in a dish of water.

The photo doesn’t show petal edges that are black from the rain. Finding a perfect camellia flower is always a challenge on my bush. A rainstorm passes over and the flowers are never quite as nice. While the plant will often flower over an extended period of time, many buds fall off the plant. Maybe if I learned judicious pruning, I would have more premium flowers. So much to learn about so many plants. In the meantime, they are pretty, even if they look better from a distance than from close up.

Wildflower

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Wildflower

I found these tiny flowers on the side of my long driveway to be very difficult to photograph. Holding my small digital camera almost on the ground, I found it challenging to make the auto-focus see what my eyes saw. Makes me appreciate my eyes, and how quickly they can change focus to whatever my brain wants to see.

A decent photo let me look up Oregon wildflowers and determine this is a Slender Toothwort. With only a minimum of skinny leaves, it is distinctive. What a funny name, who comes up with these? There were many of these pale pink gems that seem to like the dappled morning sun.

Weeping Cherry

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Weeping Cherry

This poor tree has had a tough time. My husband fell in love with it when he got it and brought it home. This is its third spring, and it is still struggling. But it is so pretty, so I keep pruning the dead twigs and keep it watered, so it will bloom again next year.

I think I know the cause of its troubles. The tree in the background is a redwood. It was so cute and little when we planted it over 20 years ago. But it isn’t so cute once it grows up (kind of like puppies and kittens) and the downside of such a dominant tree start to show. The roots of a redwood tree go everywhere – horizontally. I know this because when I dig any holes around the redwood, the roots are a distinct red, and they are prolific. Redwoods seem to seek the moisture, and in my clay soil that is sideways.