susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Babies

I am a sucker for the little ones.
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A local nursery had fall vegetable starts on sale.
Even though I am tired after a summer of weed-pulling,
I could not resist the chance to nurture these spindly young ones to maturity.
Pony-packs of cauliflower and broccoli came home with me.
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They are supposed to bear in 60 to 90 days.
Which I interpret as home grown vegies by the holidays.
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After pruning the spent flower stalks from artichoke plants,
their many new starts could be seen.
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Two stalk-stumps, one plant from earlier in summer and four new starts.
These artichoke plants are prolific.
My plan is to move a number of the larger artichoke plants
to the flower garden this winter.
I will learn whether or not they are deer-resistant.


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Going, going, almost gone

There was an entire bed of artichoke flowers.
Of course, not all at once, so I was able to enjoy them for awhile.
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The outer leaves are prickly, but the inner purple part is so-o soft.
I cut and dried many of these blossoms.  The stems are quite sturdy,
thus they can dry upright.
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Last of the lilies.
These are some of my favorite summer flowers, so showy.
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I have dead-headed most of my hyssop plants, but this moth found one of the last flowers.  When the plant is in full bloom, the insects love it.
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Mexican oregano, outside my front door is part of the kitchen herb garden.
These white flowers are also, very popular with bees and moths.

The small leaves of Greek oregano are more pungent than the larger leafed Mexican variety.  I dried this type for use this winter.  Not many of the pink flowers remain.
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Dried Flower Blossoms

A couple of peonies and an artichoke flower photographed in a vase
with a turtle-shape opening.
The same wood-fired vase appears quite different from opposite sides.

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Lavender flowers have long been dried to preserve the scent year-round.
My mini-vases display the unopened buds from lavender tops.

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What a fine discovery, on my part, to learn these tiny succulent blossoms
dry to be enjoyed all year long.


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Alluring Artichokes

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After our share of thistle hearts (in case you didn’t already know, artichokes are in the thistle family), I let the last few buds go to flower.
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This was not the only bee allowed a last fling before I cut the flowers.
If you get a chance to feel them, fresh artichoke flower tops are very soft.
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Copy of DSCN3475A dried artichoke flower from last year is on the left and a fresh cut flower on the right.  Not only the color of the new flower base (it is green), but its shape reveal the difference in age of the two.  As water evaporates, the bud will shrink and lose weight quite a bit.

These flowers are standing in a Goddess Vase that I made.
I love to play/work in the mud – clay and flowers both live in dirt.

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One of the coolest things about artichokes, is that the mother plant that yielded delicious eating chokes and pretty flowers for drying, makes baby plants before it dies.
There are two artichoke plants coming from the ground, in the photo above.  On the left side is new growth with the mother plant’s leaves turning  yellow on the right side.


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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.

California Poppies

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California Poppies

These flowers are coming up all through my vegetable beds. I figure they are good food for the bees and they make the garden look very colorful. I let the poppies reseed in this area, and have been collecting seeds to reseed other flower beds.

In these beds, plants are watered with drip irrigation. The theory is that only the vegetables I plant get the water, and the drought-resistant poppies can grow and flower in between. In this photo are serrated artichoke leaves between the poppies.