susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Asides . . .

Sometimes a thought or a photo strikes me.
Not enough for a full blog, but sticks in my head.
I think, wonder and philosophize.  So much to ponder in nature.
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Secondary Colors

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Purple (foxglove), orange (California poppies) and green (leaves) are secondary colors, they are painting mixtures of the primary colors of blue, yellow and red.

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How do you photograph the scent of a particularly aromatic flower?
You cannot.
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Plant and nursery catalogs, as well as winemakers,
go to great lengths to describe the smell and taste of their product.
But words can never do justice to what the nose senses and our brain feels.
Aromatics also stir memories, positive and negative.
While the lilies pictured above may bring fond memories and smiles,
Rue, pictured below, would probably more often bring on negative thoughts.
Thus, it is aptly named!
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Park Guell by Gaudi in Barcelona

Where to start?  Gaudi was such an amazing architect, and his park/gardens do not fail to amaze.

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There is a free admittance and a pay admittance area, needless to say, we saw this in the free section.  People had felt impelled to carve into cactus and we also saw the same vandalism on some wide aloe-type fronds.  But only at the entrance, the rest of the park was saved from such defacement.

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As we walked into the park, the aroma was almost overpowering.  Perhaps it was the direction of the air.  Are these gardenias?  That is my guess.  They are too tropical to live in my home climate, so they are a novelty to me.  I sure loved the scent.

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A wall of tiles, I liked the proximity of real flowers to the images.

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The lizard and calla lilies are just above the trickling spring with ferns and flowers, as one walks up a stairway.
Many tourist cards display the infamous, brightly-tiled chameleon.  Calla lilies are planted to show in a ring sculpture above him.  Below the lizard, a small spring and pond are planted with yellow Dutch iris and calla lilies, along with some ferns.

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Our last views before leaving these magnificent gardens were of banks of various flowers.  Day lilies and lavender I recognized, but these purple spiky flowers are foreign to me.

I have shared some photos of flowers from this amazing park, another UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is really famous for the architecture, which is most unusual and well worth a visit.


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Rosemary

??????????Last winter I gave away a number of babies from this Rosemary plant.
Some lower limbs had rooted in the ground as new plants.

It has also been pruned severely, and may look a little sparse.
No worries, there is now plenty of space for it to fill out with new growth this summer.
Tiny, pale blue flowers complement the pleasant aroma of the needles when the plant is stroked.  Rosemary is very tough and drought resistant, give it the sunlight it craves and it will be a reliable garden beauty.

I do dry rosemary needles to use in the kitchen through the year.  A stem laid across a piece of salmon when baking, will impart a subtle scent of this herb.


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Oregano, Mexican and Greek

Oregano, GreekOregano, Mexican

While both of these oregano plants look similar in the photos they have big differences.  The first photo is Greek oregano, which is low growing like a groundcover.  When Mexican oregano comes into bloom, the flower stems shoot up over a foot high.  While various bees like lavender and germander flowers, moths are especially attracted to the Mexican oregano.  I remember catching these moths when I was a kid (it is not hard to pinch the wings together when they are fully open).

In the culinary field, low-growing Greek oregano seems to me to have a stronger aroma and potency.  I recently acquired a small Italian oregano plant, that has yet to flower.  Have not yet done a taste comparison with the three varieties of oregano either.

I like using all of the oregano plants in the landscape, as they have some strong assets, besides their good looks.  They are deer and drought resistant.  The flowers are a pretty addition to a summer bouquet, but not over-powering in their scent.  While the Greek oregano flowers are good for very small vases, the Mexican variety is a nice accent for mid-size flower arrangements.


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Lavender

DSCN0798 Lavender pastel

I have two colors of lavender plants the darker purple and lighter lavender.  Through the years, the baby plants have taken on both colors and are now mostly a nice medium purple.

A couple of years ago, we ate lunch at the restaurant at King Estate Winery in Oregon.  The view included beautiful lavender beds.  I have seen fields of lavender, but they are just fields; where the King Estate lavender were artistically arranged.  With inspiration like that, I wanted to make my own lavender beds to enjoy from my front deck.  It has turned out to be a bit of work, and will take a few years before the baby plants I moved around to mature.  I’m sure it will be worth the wait.

Besides their beauty and delicious scent, I love that lavender is deer- and drought- resistant.  And the aroma!  Just a brush against the plant emits a heavenly smell.

Honeysuckle

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Honeysuckle

This photo shows three stages of honeysuckle flowers: the bud, full flower and spent flower. These blossoms are on a good-sized vine along a fence near my vegetable garden. Sometimes, when the breeze is just right, the scent will waft for a distance – such a beautiful aroma. I don’t think anyone could say the smell of honeysuckle is offensive. Quite the opposite is true and I think this plant can even stir olfactory memories.

Many years ago, I would admire the garden of an older woman (thank you, Leta). She dug a honeysuckle start from next to her own established plant. For all the gift plants I have killed by mis-timing their replanting in my own garden, I am very happy that this one survived.

What a surprise when I learned that honeysuckle blooms are edible. I grew up in a more temperate climate, where these splendid vines did not exist, and only discovered them as an adult. Nasturtiums move over – you are not near as tasty as honeysuckle.

Rue

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Rue

While Rue is technically an herb, I think a lot of folks would call it an annoyance. The leaves can irritate the skin of sensitive persons.

With such a reputation, I felt the deer and rabbits would surely leave it alone, but I was wrong. When I transplanted a number of seedlings to an un-fenced planting bed, they were decimated in short time. I do keep this plant in the back of the flower bed to minimize my own brushes with it. There is an aroma when the leaves are brushed, which is distinct, but not near as pungent as say Santolina.

Personally, I think this perennial is a very pretty plant, it does not deserve the bad rap that some gardeners give it.  Just because it has an unusual scent and perhaps bothers the skin of some persons – this is not poison oak!  I may watch myself, and not rub it all over my body, but it can have its own space. The small, delicate leaves and flowers are a strong contrast to everything else that grows around it.  It can stay in my garden.