susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Rose of Sharon

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This is the first year this plant has bloomed for me and I really like what I see.  It was a good surprise to see the pastel pink flower color which goes perfect with the other flowers in the same bed.  The bi-color leaves were a good find for me, as they make the plant interesting not just when it is in bloom.

It was two falls ago that I spotted a large flowering shrub in a few places in town.  After asking around, I learned it was a Rose of Sharon that I had admired.  Then the search for the plant of my desire at a neighborhood nursery.  I got lucky again, and found it at a newer nursery that was not far away.

I just read up on this plant in the internet and am now aware of some of its downsides. We’ll see how I feel about it in another year, but I do think I’ll move some near-by plants a bit farther away, as this could grow quite big.


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Rose Campion or Lychnis

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Okay, it is late in the season to highlight these flowers, but I saw a bloom just today in a shaded area next to a deck.  I’ve had the pink variety for awhile, and coveted the white one in a friend’s garden.  She generously shared with me, but warned that it easily reseeds itself.  I’m wondering if someday I might get flowers in a paler pink or a bi-color as the plants may intermingle.

I have moved some baby plants to un-caged areas that are not protected from deer.  The fuzzy grey leaves give me hope they can survive.  One season into this experiment, the results are ‘so far, so good’.  Which means that I trust the deer as long as I can see them.  Or until a very dry autumn has passed.  When they get very hungry, most everything is at risk.

These flowers look real pretty in a mini-vase and in the garden.  I so love low maintenance perennials.


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Helianthus Lemon Queen, a Sunflower

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The sunflower family includes so many flowers, from giant heads to very tiny.  From short to very, very tall.  This particular example is a perennial with showy blooms just a few inches across.  Deer find them tasty, so they grow in flower jails (cages) on my property.  Some insect also finds the blossoms delicious, as the petals are very uneven and often disappear before the bloom is finished.

I purchased starters for this plant from a mail-order catalog, a rarity for me.  Years later in my flower gardening path, I found the catalog and can see how the company makes money on this and many others they offer for sale.  They multiply easily.  I have shared this plant with as many people as I can get to take it.  Though it is pretty, it can definitely take over an area.


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Aster

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The first aster plant I bought, the purple flowered one in the first photo, looked a little sad in the discount section of one of my favorite nurseries, Down to Earth in Eugene, Oregon.  A birthday present to myself.  I would give it a good home and bring it back to life. 

How little I knew at that time.  It seems these are very sturdy plants, as long as I keep them from the deer, and give them enough water.  Oh, yes, and they like to multiply.  So I moved the new plants around to different places in the garden.  Flowers of the off-spring apparently do not have to be the same color as their parents, as I now have a variety of colors of asters growing.  I have not seen the white flowered plant yet this year, but it may be still to come.

In the second picture you can see a moth and a bee appreciating the blossoms.  I am careful as I walk among these flowers, as I know the bees and wasps can be easily agitated as the season wears on. 

These make great cut flowers, and will keep on blooming if the stems are not cut too short. 


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Dipladenia Rio

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My husband brought this home one day, because he thought it had pretty flowers.  When I read the tag, I saw that it is not considered a perennial here and would probably not make it through the winter.  I don’t like to bother planting plants that are known to have a slim to none chance of surviving winter, but I happened to find a place on an irrigation line that it could settle in for at least the summer. 

Such attractive flowers, and it has been blooming for about a month with no sign of slowing down – that is until it gets too cold. 


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Fuchsia

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This is a small specimen of what should grow much fuller as a perennial fuchsia shrub.  It gets the early morning sun, and is protected from some weather extremes being located next to the house foundation.  This is not the first one of these plants to get a home with me.  But this particular one has survived at least a couple of winters, so I’m thinking it could last even longer.  That is a garden goddess in the picture.

I was surprised when I learned that people like to ‘pop’ the flowers to bloom sooner.  Who thinks of these things?


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Dahlia

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These plants come in all sizes and heights, and some people specialize in growing only dahlia flowers.

I picked up a few bulbs on sale a couple of years ago, and planted them in different locations in my garden.  In my climate, I’ve read that you should dig up your dahlia bulbs in the fall, and replant them in the spring.  No way I can stay on top of that!  I promptly forgot that detail of plant care when the time came to do the job.  Two of four bulbs survived winter, and are just blooming now. 

Now that I know they can survive a winter, I’ll have to nurture them along some more.  I would like to see more of these flowers next summer.


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Horehound

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I assumed that horehound would be deer-resistant because of the fuzzy leaves.  But the resident deer here did not read the same manual as I, and they nibbled away.  So this plant lives in a cage, for now.  Maybe it will get large enough someday to not need protection,

The flowers were a pleasant surprise, but they are so tiny as to be almost non-existent.  I had the camera so low to the ground, I could barely see what I was photographing.

I purchased this as a small plant start, thinking I would add to my collection of herbs, but I knew very little to nothing about it.  I have heard of old-time horehound candy, but never tasted it.  A google search was in order.  I did not find a photo with leaves as gray as my plant, so I am unsure which particular sort of horehound this is.  But I did learn it is a member of the mint family and can naturalize, so I have been forewarned.


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Baby’s Breath

Baby's Breath in Mini-Vase Copy of Baby's Breath

What I don’t know about photography could fill volumes.  My trying to take a picture of the teeny-tiny flowers of baby’s breath is a prime example.  Perhaps a small tripod and learning how to leave the lens open long enough would help get many more of the flowers in focus.

These flowers are often used as fillers in a bouquet, but my vase is holding only baby’s breath.  It is a 3-inch high mini-vase, made of porcelain.  The upper part of the vase has a transparent blue glaze, and the lower part of it shows a light brown toasty color from the wood fueling my kiln.


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Artichoke Flower

Artichoke flower on plantArtichoke flower in Turtle Vase

These are really quite stunning flowers, and as an added bonus they keep beautifully if dried.  Camaroon is a cousin of the artichoke that is grown for its flowers rather than the edible thistle bud.  The camaroon can get quite tall, easily 5 or 6 feet high.

I like to let some artichoke buds mature and flower, rather than harvest them all earlier in the growth stage, for eating.   Since my artichoke vegies do not grow especially large, I get tired of the ‘labor-intensive’ process to eat the small bites of the tender heart. 

Pictured is an artichoke flower in a porcelain Turtle Vase, made by yours truly.