garden ponderings

Lady’s Mantle

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Lady's Mantle

What a good find this plant was/is. It sure can cover a lot of ground as it grows every year. And the flowers are a nice addition to bouquets. It is sturdy no matter how cold a winter we have, or how much water it gets in the summer. Those are the minimum conditions for survival in my yard.

This mother plant is within a deer fence, but where it expanded outside the fence it was not bothered by animals. Therefore, it seemed to me, a likely candidate to experiment and move a baby plant outside of the enclosure. Not a great idea, as it turned out. Now, this former baby has its own small fence around it, and the deer prune any parts that try to escape protection.


Rock Rose Petal Snow

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Rock Rose Petal Snow

This shrub was recently covered in flowers, and now the petals are falling. The ground appears to be covered with a light snowfall.

A few years ago, we moved this plant to its present location below a west-facing bedroom window. For a few days a year, you can look out the window and see a blanket of white flowers covering the entire bush.
Then the petals fall and it looks like a snowfall has come through the area in late May – an extremely unlikely event in this area.

Yes, these plants are protected by a deer fence. On the right, are day lily leaves, a month away from flowering themselves.

About a month ago, I took pruning loppers to this shrub, and cut a lot off. It has paid off already, as the stems are stronger and the flowers did not droop excessively.




I am new to appreciating these old-time flowers and I just love them. They are beautiful, sturdy, drought- resistant and deer-resistant. What a perfect addition to my country garden. They grow and thrive under what would be stressful conditions for more fragile flowers.

They appear to be biennial, where the plant takes a year to establish itself, then flowers the next year. I can live with that. Now I want to pay attention to when the flowers go to seed, so I can spread the seeds to specific areas. I want to learn if they can actually repel the deer, or just waylay them. My long-term thought is to be able to put deer resistant plants around a more vulnerable shrub (like a lilac) and not have to fence the shrub from four-footed invaders.

A Tale of Two Rhodies

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These lavender and purple rhododendrons are the same age, but grew up differently. (Describing plants can be so similar to describing people, sometimes.) They both have their stories.

One year, the lavender rhodie, was photographed by my mother-in-law every day for a week as she watched the blossoms open. I’m thinking it was her last visit here, she was in her mid-eighties at the time. Every morning she would go out and examine the wonder of flowers slowly opening, and take a picture with her little camera. She would get so excited, and later savored her photos after they were developed (this was before digital cameras and instant pictures).

The little purple rhodie on the right was one of the favorite nap spots for our old family dog. From when the plant was little, Rascal would wallow in the dirt, and make his bed there. Many times I tried to pry him from there or lure him into another spot, but no success. The soil there was cool and the area shady in summer afternoons. After he went to doggie heaven, I got more into gardening and have been working to revive this plant ever since.


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This is one of the taller specimens in the allium or onion family. Last year I planted four bulbs and got four giant flowers. I was so looking forward to this year’s blooms and wondering if and when the bulbs might multiply. This is the only bloom from these bulbs this season. I wonder if the particularly cold winter we had last year could have damaged the other three bulbs? They are still there with pathetic looking leaves. Still alive, but hardly thriving.

Do you see the resemblance to the chives flowers I posted recently? The main difference is size. This flower is a good 6″ – 8″ across, while the chive blooms are just over an inch wide.

White Iris

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White Iris

I took some of these to my art show last weekend. Some of the buds had yet to open, and they ended up looking good for an extra day. There was some discussion about whether these were Siberian or Japanese Iris, as I know they are not Bearded Iris by the greenery.

In this photo those are pink Rhododendrons in the background. The rhodies bloom in the same order every year, over an extended period of time. Same do the iris and a number of other flowers. In this case, the white iris bloom before the other colors, which include white and purple.

These flowers look exceptionally beautiful in a vase. Soon enough I will include photos of the flowers I grow, in vases I have made. Just another thing to arrange for…. I’m really not complaining, just trying to stay organized.