susansflowers

garden ponderings

Wild Iris

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Wild Iris

While these wild iris flowers bear a strong resemblance to Japanese iris, they are different, not as tall for one.
The wild iris can often be seen growing along a country road locally, but are not seen as frequently as in the past. I blame the poison that is sprayed on the roadside to control weeds. What is sprayed cannot differentiate between weeds and wildflowers, so both perish.

These iris are also found on hillsides that are not mowed and no domestic animals graze there, so our place qualifies there. They still need the right amount of moisture in the spring for them to bloom and thrive. Most often they are purple and white, as pictured. Lavender and, rarely, pink are the other colors they come in. These are also some of the largest wildflowers I’ve seen. Not tiny like the blue, pink and white gems that are so hard to photograph clearly.

Years ago I would see large drifts of these flowers. Now I look hard to spot a few specimens here or there. Damn, I’m showing my age and how long I’ve lived in the same place.

Purple Camas

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Purple Camas

This is a native wildflower that grows along stream banks and other wet areas. On my property, it can be found during wet spring times along seasonal waterways. I’ve been hiking around looking for these flowers and have found them in two separate locations. Both areas will dry up once the weather warms enough, and are shaded by trees.

The flower bulbs were eaten by the native Americans, but only from the purple flower, the white flower bulbs are poisonous. I’ve even seen these in a nursery catalog (Territorial Seed Company, Cottage Grove, OR). Like most wildflowers, they only seem to grow where they really like the environment. Or so it seems to me.

Pink Rhododendron

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Pink Rhododendron

This is a very old plant that my elderly neighbor brought over after his mother passed in the mid-eighties. It has a perfect location, protected from the afternoon sun, in a narrow bed between a walkway and a deck. Every few years, I prune a branch to keep it from breaking off when I walk by on the stepping stones. This photo caught a branch-full of flowers at their peak.

White Lilacs

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White Lilacs

This is what I see outside my bedroom window. It is so pretty at this time of the year. There are purple lilacs on each side of the window, but the white lilacs are the star of the show.

Purple lilacs on each side of the window are about 30 years old. My husband liked them so much, he planted the white one across a walkway about 5 years ago. This way one could walk ‘under the lilacs’ – I’m sure he knows nothing of the Louisa May Alcott book of that name.
This plant is now large enough the deer fence is not as necessary. But the fence also protects iris and other flowers underneath from rabbits as well as deer.

Japanese Maple with tulips

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Japanese Maple with tulips

This is the second year for the tulips and the tree – in a newer planting bed. The pink tulips are starting to fade while the yellow ones are coming on. When both colors are still here and the tree is just leafed out, is the prettiest display time for this combination.

The Japanese maple has very tiny flowers right now. I have not figured how to capture them with the camera – yet. It may take another year, as my window of opportunity is small.

According to its tag, this tree is supposed to get taller. Maybe then I can remove the deer fence/flower jail when it is not tulip season. Besides spring, there are other times of the year when the deer will look for anything fresh and green to eat. I believe the wildlife look at tulips and roses as humans see chocolate. Not that they taste similar, just that they are treats to savor. If no people are around to make the ‘natives’ keep their distance, they can get specially brazen with their choices of food.

Sierra Current

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Sierra Current

This was acquired as a native plant. I was lucky to find a name tag at the bottom of one of the two specimens planted on the west side of the house, shaded by some getting larger redwood trees.

When I googled this plant, I learned that it will grow in zones 5 – 8, even though it is an alpine or higher altitude native. The last winter here was particularly cold, and only the hardiest of my plants survived. This one has extensive underplantings, so I wonder if that helped keep it just that touch warmer to get it through the winter.

You can see a ‘plant jail’ in the photo, that protects this from deer. Makes me wonder how this exists in the wild. Perhaps there are more plants than deer. Not like here, where the deer have few natural predators.