susansflowers

garden ponderings

Chives

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Chives

I love the smell and look of chive flowers. I love all the members of the allium family. I love the smell and taste of onions. This plant is right outside my front door, in view of my kitchen window.

When people who are not gardeners (think city-folk) come to visit, I love to lead them though my herb garden and invite them to taste particular plants. When my then-two-year-old grandson visited, I did the same with him, but quickly learned my mistake. He naturally thought he could take any leaf and taste it. Of course, he headed right toward a large (to him) rhododendron bush – which is poisonous.

I noticed in this photo that you can see some of the different stages of chive flowers opening.  Just got lucky, this time!

I am heading toward an art show where I will display my pottery and ceramics. The chive and armeria flowers will grace some of my vases. I saw the last tulips starting to open, and I cut some peony buds, just because they are pretty that way. The lilacs are on the down side of their blooms. Day lilies and foxglove are about to open. Stock and Jacob’s ladder have so few flowers this year.

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Columbine

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Columbine

I can’t remember where I got my first one from, but this plant sure does multiply. Okay, I have given it lots of help, by scattering its seeds under trees and it areas that I wanted filled in. It is interesting which places the seeds took well, and other places not at all. The flat beds have been better receptacles for these seeds than the inclined areas. For all the seeds I have scattered, I do not see that many plants. Although, I now have columbine in many areas around the land. It is also a native plant, but I believe this is a cultivated variety.

While these flowers may not look like much, you get a better view of the blossoms and buds than a photo packed with many flowers.

Armeria – Sea Thrift

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Armeria - Sea Thrift

These are such small flowers, about 1/2″ or 1cm across. You can see the top of the armeria clump as dark purple blades, at the bottom of the photo. Those are tulip leaves behind the flowers.

These flowers look great in a mini-vase, and will stay nice for a number of days. I haven’t tried drying these flowers – yet.

I also have a clump of this plant with white flowers, but they are just starting to bloom. The clump with white flowers, has green leaf blades, sort-of grass-like.

For me, this plant is in the front of a flower bed, note the deer fence in the foreground. I’ve tried to separate this clump to multiply it, and found it to be a challenge. Either my soil is very hard (good chance) or the clump is so dense, it is hard to shovel into two pieces.

Silene – Catchfly

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Silene - Catchfly

The second summer is coming up for this plant. Last summer it grew and bloomed for an extended period. I’ll have to pay attention this year and document just how long the bloom time is.

It lives beneath and between a couple of lilac bushes, so it is not in full sun, but I think it likes its home. When I read the sun and water requirements for a plant, I’ve found it to be just a start for finding it a home. Just because the tag says it can take some shade or loves the sun, does not mean it will like a place that I think fits that description. But when a plant finds its niche around my house, it will just go gangbusters! The definitive way to tell is this: if I have more than one start for a particular plant, and put them in different places. Even if both locations fit the profile, one will often do significantly better than the other.

Tree Peonies

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Tree Peonies

I was surprised when my older neighbor showed up one afternoon with this in the back of his truck. He apparently thought it would have a better home here.

At first there was no fence around this plant, and the deer pruned it back. But then it came back with new growth at the bottom. I am finally ready to cut some branches this year, after it is finished blooming, of course. I know just where I will cut, and I can see buds ready to break out half way down a long branch. I tend to be a very cautious pruner, taking a few years to study the growth of a particular plant I intend to cut back. This is the way of someone who has over-cut some plant and is trying not to make the same mistake again.

Peony petals are large and paper-like. They live only a few days as a cut flower. I found that if I cut a bud as the flower color is there, but before it opens, it can dry and stay that way for a couple of years. As the flower opens up, the petals don’t fade or turn brown, they just fall off.

I chose this photo of these flowers as it gives a view of the size of the plant. The flowers are over my 61″ high head.

Habitat View

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Habitat View

One more post about the North Bank Habitat Management Area.

This is the view of the North Umpqua River from the parking lot for horse trailers. It is a short walk (west) to a wide trail that fire trucks can drive on. Makes it easy to follow.
One of the botanists on the hike I went on, recently retired from BLM and this was one of the areas for which she was responsible. She was able to point out particular wildflowers that were reintroduced and areas that were fenced off for study. Did you know that “sedges have edges and rushes are round”? It’s funny how rhyming sayings can help one remember plant differences.

This area is a mere 5 miles up North Bank Road from Highway 99 (the old north/south road from Mexico to Canada in the West). It connects to the main road along the North Umpqua River near the town of Glide. The North Umpqua River has world-class steelhead fishing, catch-and-release-only as you go up-river. A hiking trail runs for a number of miles along the south bank of this River, east of Glide. One of the most beautiful drives one can take. There are waterfalls along the drive, one you don’t even have to get out of the car to see. Makes it a great place to take persons who cannot walk far, they get to see nature up close.
I could go on and on, but will restrain myself so it doesn’t get too crowded.

Poison Oak

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Poison Oak

This is what poison oak looks like when it flowers in the springtime. While some people are not bothered by this plant others (including me) have learned from experience to keep a safe distance from it. As much as we strive to exterminate it on our property, it is a native plant and should be left alone, I am repeatedly told by naturalists. We know, all too well, that it cannot be eliminated, merely kept at bay.

I had the opportunity to take this photo earlier this week while collecting for the upcoming Glide Wildflower Show (www.glidewildflowershow.org). I accompanied a couple of botanists on trails in the Habitat area of North Bank Road in Douglas County. This is a 6000 acre preserve for Colombia White-tail Deer that is managed by the BLM (thank you to the Feds for supporting public lands). I learned so much about common and unusual wild plants, many which grow on my own property. My brain was over-filled with facts, and I wanted to remember everything, but there are limits to what the filing cabinet in my head can retrieve on short notice.