susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Fun with a Fish Eye (camera lens, that is :)

I have spent an extraordinary amount of time this last month, weeding.
The flower beds are not near perfect, but have never looked so good.

Above are two views of the same flower bed.
Foreground is Shasta daisies, bearded Iris and lavenders.
Foxglove, daffodils, and iris live further back.
A couple of canna lilies are the recent additions.

There is a fence (we call it a ‘flower jail’) along the edge of the deck.
Inside live an azalea, peony, hosta, calla lilies, camellia,
tulips, tree peony, stock, rhododendron and a few others.
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If this bed were planned before planting,
the Japanese maples would be at each end with the
contorted filbert (aka Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick
– where that name came from, must be a good story)
in the middle instead of on the left end.

Santolina, teucrium (germander), hyssop, more bearded iris (they multiply!)
with lots of Greek oregano as groundcover are the main plants here.

I had read in a novel that daylilies could hold a hillside in place,
so I planted and re-planted them behind.
California poppies are multiplying slowly, and the weeds here are prolific.
Specially after our wet winter.

Anyway – above are some views of the front & back of my yard.
You are introduced to some of what I care take.
Isn’t the fish eye lens cool?  What a view!

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Wildflower Show

For over 50 years the tiny community of Glide, Oregon, has hosted an annual wildflower show.  Presented by a committee of volunteers I was amazed when I first saw it.
I have been fortunate to help collect specimens for 3 years, and my knowledge of the wildflowers has grown exponentially.  I’m starting to recognize and remember some of the Latin and many common names, also!

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Plants are arranged in families on the tables, in order of evolutionary development of the plant’s reproductive structures.  Who’da thought of such an organizational system?
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Such a large and unusual flower, I wanted to share it.
From the map, I can tell that it is found in the higher mountains.
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We found these pinks in a small meadow, off the beaten track at a county park.
My collecting partner knew where to look.
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These azaleas smelled heavenly.
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Such pretty little flowers.  The name would make a cool title for a book, wouldn’t it?
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I’ve been pulling this out of my flower garden for a long time.  Now that I know its name, and that it is an official wildflower, I can no longer treat it so rudely.
Notwithstanding the strange common name, it is not unattractive and does not seem to be invasive, so some can stay.
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Isn’t this one of the strangest ‘flowers’ you have ever seen?
A friend had emailed me a photo of this ground cone, they had seen while bird-watching in Northern California.  She asked me to find its name.  I joked to her that it might just be an odd looking mushroom.  But now, we have both learned it is a real plant.
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These leaves (which come in different sizes) have little flowers growing up on the leaf, opposite side of the stem.  Now, I notice this on my property.
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I know equisetum because of its use on pots when high-firing.  It is high in silica & calcium, which are common glaze ingredients.
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For those who stuck with me through this longer than usual post, thank you.
You can feel my enthusiasm.


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Springing Spring ?!

We have had glorious weather:  some rain, some clouds and some sun.
Rain alleviates any thoughts of irrigation, clouds encourage the flowers to stay around much longer than usual, and the sun,
well the sun encourages everything to bloom and grow!

The first rhodies are blooming, and my one azalea is so covered with flowers
that is all you can see of it.

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Even though I cut rhubarb flowers, it keeps putting out more of them.
At least, they are unusual looking.
Blueberry and strawberry plants are booming with flowers.  We can only hope the weather stays favorable, and the bird nets keep the pilfering in check.
Last photo above is rosemary, which I see in flower around town.
Such a sturdy and aromatic plant, how can one not love it?

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This has been one of the best tulip years I can remember.  I like to think it is because I separated some of the larger ones and planted them all around the house.  We have enjoyed tulips out of most every window.
White lilacs open their blossoms before the lavender or purple ones do.
These are my favorites, I love the sweet scent and only wish they lasted longer indoors.


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Bursting Buds Update

April came in with showers, which is good for flowers to stay around.
When the sun is shining, spring flowers bloom very pretty and are done before you know it.
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This is my only bi-color rhododendron, and the first one to bloom.
With bluebells and tulips it is quite a show from my kitchen window.
What a way to greet the time of longer daylight.
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After years of being nibbled by deer, this azalea is slowly coming into its own.  I prune and thin the too-dense branches a little more every year.
As it now gets taller and more full, I find myself moving plants from the understory, so they have a chance to grow also.
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The lilacs are getting tall enough to fulfill a long-held dream:  to be able to walk on the path under a canopy of blooming flowers.
White flowers are peaking while the purple are just beginning their bloom time.


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Bursting Buds

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My rhododendrons always bloom in the same order, and this one is always first.  I so look forward to seeing the first rhody flowers.  When the blossoms open, they will be a pretty pink and white.  Those are bluebells in front and a tulip bud.  Barring anything unforeseen, I will be able to show photos soon.

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This is the only azalea here.  For some reason, the branches through the slats on the deck are blooming before the main plant.  Perhaps they get more all day sunshine.  In full bloom, the entire plant will look red.

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I got excited to see the first lilac bloom.  White-flowered shrubs bloom before the purple-flowered ones every year.  In the photo, the purple buds are very full, and the white flowers are beginning to bloom on the very top of the bush.

Sweet Woodruff

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Sweet Woodruff

I planted a small container of this under a rhododendron many years ago, and it has spread. It is now under a couple of rhodies and an azalea. There are not a lot of shady areas in my yard, and while this has spread nicely, there isn’t much more space for it to go to. Unless it will displace violets. Time will tell which ground cover will dominate in the long run.

Red Azalea

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Red Azalea

I love to see an azalea in full bloom, all you can see is the flowers as they hide all of the leaves.

This particular plant had been heavily pruned by the local marauding deer. It has been maybe 10 years that this shrub has been fenced from the varmits, and I am still thinning the inside to encourage growth on select branches. Perhaps if I had cut more extensively in the beginning, the plant could have grown more evenly. But my cuts are conservative, as I have tried hard to keep this bush thriving. It now has sweet woodruff, bergenia and violets at its base, as I keep amending the surrounding soil.