garden ponderings

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Purple Power


With some warm days, early spring flowers have come into full bloom.


These windflowers close up overnight, and in cool or wet weather.  But when the sun emerges or even on an overcast afternoon, they open to the warmth.


It will soon be time to move crocus bulbs around.  Unlike most other flower bulbs, they are amenable to a change in location as soon as the flower dies, but before the leaves do.



Windflower Anemone

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These Windflower anemones must spread through the air, because they have popped up all over the flower bed, where I planted a handful of these bulbs a few years back.
Violets and strawberry plants join the windflowers in the neighborhood as ground covers under rose bushes and rhododendrons.
Leaves of the windflower closely resemble an undesirable (aka: weed) that I am constantly uprooting.

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Heather flowers are so teeny, they are difficult to photograph.

When we first moved here, some of the first plant groupings in the ground was two sets of 2 white-flowered and 2 pink-flowerd heathers around a few daffodil bulbs.
Today, those daffodils are totally engulfed by the surviving heathers.  Those particular daffodils have not multiplied, but have endured.

When I see the white-flowered specimen in full bloom, it makes me think it is sprinkled with snow.

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White Flowers Hyacinth and Crocus


Did you know that the white hyacinth flowers before the blue or purple colored one?  Or that the purple crocus blooms before the white crocus?  I have been trying to figure out if the white colored specimens of a flower bloom first or later than the other colors of the same name.  Here it is early in the bloom season, and I already have two different bulb flowers that give me opposite information.  I can only conclude that there is no “theory of everything”.  Ever since Albert Einstein, physicists have been searching for a “Theory of Everything”, and perhaps Mother Nature has been trying to tell us all along that does not exist.



First Daffodil Bloom

Copy of DSCN1930This flower is on the south side of my home, which is the warmest site, of course.  What is more interesting to me, is that just a few weeks ago, I moved and separated a number of daffodils, including this one.  They had been inside a deer-proof fence, which is unnecessary for anything in the narcissus family.  When I noticed the leaves emerging from the ground, there was a warmer day that I took a shovel and decided to give some daffodils a new home.  The weather was cool and wet enough that they did not mind the move.

Now to remember after blooming, and when the leaves have died down, to take a shovel to the daffodils that did not get moved and separated this winter.  There are lots of them to be dealt with.

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Banana Slug

Copy of DSCN1924This slimy gastropod was outside my kitchen window this afternoon.  It did not eat the parsley plant below it;  a deer nibbled the leaves off a few days ago.

We see these beauties around here only when the air is heavy with moisture, as it was today.  They have grossed me out from the first time I set eyes on one.  Out of curiosity, I googled banana slug, and learned that some really are yellow, like the fruit.  All the banana slugs I have ever seen look like the one pictured.  In fact, this one is not even particularly large.  To give an idea of scale, the brick it is climbing is just over 4 inches high (about 11 cm).

On a side note, Eugene, Oregon is my nearest city, and they have a slug queen who came from the weirdness of the populace.  It is entertaining to read about, and I will vouch that this has been going on for many years!


Swollen Buds


While walking around the garden this morning, I tried to notice which plants had growth or flower buds ready to burst forth.

The rhododendrons started to form flower buds for this spring, shortly after flowering last year.
This evergreen shrub truly ‘plans ahead’.
They usually bloom in April and May, though who knows this year?

As it breaks dormancy from a silent winter, the tree peony is a pretty pink.  I can only hope that each new bud will each bring their own flower.  Not usually, but since branches were pruned last fall, I feel there is a very good chance of a higher percentage of blossoms.

??????????My camellia bush was one of the first shrubs planted here a very many years ago.  While the branches have multiplied plenty, the blooms have not been the best.  Any rain when this bush is in flower, and the blossoms just wilt and fall off.
I don’t think this poor plant has ever had a chance to show itself at its prime.  Who knows?  If this is an early drought spring / summer, the upside could be a full bush of beautiful red flowers.


Early Iris

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Early iris sure are short in stature, just like the bulb catalog claims.  It has been relatively warm and sunny for February, with the temps in the low 50 degrees F (barely over 10 degrees C).  Since the sun has come out the last couple of afternoons, the plants are basking in it.

These blooms were open in the early morning fog, while the crocus stayed closed.

Through the years I have planted so many bulbs in the ground.  Now, I have no idea what will come up where.  If I move a perennial from one location to another in a flower bed, too often, I find I have sliced bulbs with my shovel.  One time, I moved crocus bulbs to encircle perennials to solve over-crowding.  Then I intermixed some tulip bulbs with the crocus.  Now I find those, and other bulbs, showing up in interesting places.  I’ve heard of small animals, as mice and voles, moving bulbs around underground.  It seems to me, the rodents must see the bulbs as winter food to be stashed in case of need.


Crocus and an Orgiastic Bee

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The green and white crocus leaves outnumber the current amount of flowers, so I am anticipating many more blooms.  Mr. Sun peeked out from the overcast sky just a few times today, and the plants do feel the unusual February warmth.   Fifty degrees F (10 degrees C) would have felt much warmer if the sun really came out.

While I was taking pictures, I heard a bee – so early in the season.  He found a crocus flower and went straight for the pollen.  At that moment, my camera batteries decided to run down.  I fumbled through the case for my spare pair of batteries, and clumsily made the switch.  Where did that bee go?  He was having an orgy with himself still in the flower cup!  I decided to leave him in crocus heaven, as he was in no rush to leave, and that was the only ‘game in town’ today.

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Hellebore in Full Bloom

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A multitude of blooms on the white-flowered plant indicating it has been in the same location for a much longer time than the pink-flowered plant, gives me an idea of what can be expected in a few more years from ‘pink’.

These flowers grow funny, as they hang down and do not look good in a vase.  Makes me wonder how they evolved to be like that.

This is usually a very slow season in the flower garden, but we have had an unusually warm and mild winter.  So many flower plants are budding way before normal times.  After a very rainy week,  this next week is expected to be dry and warm, so I’ll see what will bloom next.