susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Amaranth aka Pigweed

Such a beautiful flower, I cannot imagine it as a weed.
(I better watch my thoughts, as one person’s weed may be another person’s treasure!)
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My first time ever to grow this flower, and I had no idea what to expect.
It is about as tall as a cornstalk (5-6 feet, or up to 2 meters), but its ‘tassels’ droop down instead of staying erect, as with corn.
The flowers are a beautiful fuchsia color, and quite elongate
– around 12 inches (30 cm) long.

I read that these flowers can be dried and used in arrangements past their bloom season.  Of course, I have to try this:-)
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The flower on the far end was cut a few days ago.  It was laying on a counter and making a mess by dropping pollen.  Time to learn how to dry these.

First thing I discovered was amaranth flowers come in erect or hanging forms.
A suggestion to keep the fall of the flower was to drape it over a box.
This is how I interpret how to arrange these flowers for dehydration.  The color of the flower has darkened already.  I’ll keep you posted as to the success of this endeavor.


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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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Hyssop or Germander

??????????

I believe this is a Hyssop, but it sure looks a lot like a Germander.  One time I asked one of my favorite nurseries, Down to Earth in Eugene, Oregon, and they looked it up on the internet, and still it was hard to be decisive.  The final conclusion was that it was Hyssop, but only by a nose.

Bumblebees, the ones with yellow stripes across their black bodies, just love these flowers.  The bees never bother me, they know what they are interested in. 

These perennials are so easy to grow.  When I remember to cut them back in the dormant season, they come back so strong the next summer.  The cut flowers make a beautiful addition to flower arrangements.  If you wait until late winter or spring to prune this plant, you give some time for the spent flowers to go to seed.  The baby plants are so sturdy and reliable, they are worth the wait to watch them grow.