susansflowers

garden ponderings

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.

Hyacinths – again

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Hyacinths - again

Well, I just like hyacinths. Here they are on the opposite side of the house, starting to flower a couple of days after my first hyacinth posting. These are encircling a budding lilac bush (which the deer love to nibble on). The rabbits found they like the irises around the hyacinths, so I had to make the fencing around the lilac quite large.

Besides the dandelion leaves, I see California poppies and everlasting sweet peas coming up in the fencing.  A few years ago, I had the great idea that everlasting sweet peas would look great climbing up the lilacs and some other shrubs, so I planted the entire packet of seeds around the yard.  Not the best idea.  It turns out they can be very invasive and hard to dig up.

I started planting Shasta daisies around the irises, since neither deer or rabbits seem to bother the daisies. Perhaps when those plantings get completed and established, and the lilacs get large enough, the fencing can be removed. I’m always dreaming of more garden projects…

Bittercress

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Wintercress

Is it a weed or a wildflower I asked a ‘professional’ recently. “It’s only a weed, if it is growing where you don’t want it to grow,” she replied. Of course. It’s not as though I had never heard that before:)

So this flower grows prolifically all around here, and in the yards of everyone else I ask. It it in every flower and vegetable bed, and the fields. The good news is that it is easy to pull out. The bad news is that it seed prolifically. And if you don’t put the pulled weed in the trash or compost, it will re-root where ever it is thrown. A darn sturdy plant, it is.

I did learn its name and that it is native to this area.  When I looked up Oregon wildflowers online, I learned that I mis-heard the name of this plant.  Instead of winterflower it is actually named bitterflower.   I did hear that this is an edible plant, but I venture that the name gives an idea of how it tastes.   Don’t think I will rush to try the greens anytime soon.  Besides, they are so small, it would take an awful lot of leaf picking to get much more than a mouthful. Kind of like wild strawberries, which are so tiny, one picks seemingly forever to get a small bowl full.

Drooping Daffodils

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Drooping Daffodils

The rain will get them every time. But, not to worry, these daffodils almost always come back upright. Drier weather is predicted, for what that is worth, and we really need the rain anyway.

Daffodils have been blooming all around town, and I saw them in full bloom on a drive to the coast (60 miles away) 10 days ago. Mine are not quite at full bloom yet. We always have blooming daffodils on the first day of spring here. Though on warmer years, they are almost done, on that day. Still 10 days to go, but I don’t think that warm of weather is expected. Once the sun starts shining, the flowers bloom and die so fast. This is a positive note for overcast, 60 degree (F) days.

Hyacinths with Garden Goddess

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Hyacinths with Garden Goddess

I love taking photos of hyacinths, as I get to inhale their fabulous aroma. Okay, to some people it is sort of a strong scent, but not for me.

For a number of years, I sold hyacinths with hand-thrown vases for forcing blooms. These were sold before Christmas, with pre-cooled bulbs, that were immediately ready to be set up for forced blooming in January (or so). Of course, I had to try this out at home before I could sell any. And, of course, there were extra bulbs most years for me to force myself. And, of course, I would plant in my yard the spent bulb from forcing. Needless to say, I now have a good number of hyacinth blooming in my yard. Most are white, with some blues and purples, as these are the best colors for forcing.

Do you see the garden goddess behind the blooms? I make and sell Goddess Vases, and one year I decided to make Garden Goddesses. They have a good size hole in the bottom of the vase through which Japanese Iris can emerge and bloom. Perhaps I’ll get a photo of those later in the season.

Mystery Flower

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Mystery Flower

I wish I knew the name of these flowers.
They bloom very early, about the same time as crocus – except I see them in between the violets. The more recent blooms are more purple, while they fade to a paler lavender color as they age.

I thought I planted a handful of small bulbs a few years ago, now they are coming up all around a particular area. Are the small animals spreading them? Or is it the birds? Could they have gone to seed as many of my flowers do? But bulbs don’t spread by going to seed. I suppose I could dig one up to determine if they truly are bulbs. But I think I like them as they are, so they will stay and keep the violets company.

Anemone

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??????????????????????I spotted this gem while walking around the house on a warm overcast day.  A perfect day for flowers, as they love the spring heat (in the low 60’s), without direct sunlight.  The flowers last so much longer without much sun, and if it gets hot, the flowers are gone quickly.  Just another reason why I like the moist Oregon weather we get here.

I love these flowers and their delicate green leaves. When I spot the leaves each spring, I know to leave that area alone, as I don’t want to jeopardize these beautiful blooms. I’ve had them in shades of white, purple, red and combinations of those colors. They are short lived in my area, possibly because they come up between rain storms that tend to flatten them to the ground.

In the photo, there are many other bulbs coming up around the anemone. While part of me wants to divide and multiply, the cautious part of me says to leave well enough alone.

I think these bulbs have been here a very long time. Anemones have been in other flower beds, even beds that were not deer-fenced. We didn’t use to have as many resident deer as we do now (the fir trees we planted 30 years ago are now a forest), so I think a number of flowers escaped predation by melding into what little landscaping there was. Perhaps it was there were more people around in the daytime to deter the deer, as I was raising children years ago.