susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Orange Crocosmia

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My first set of bulbs for these crocosmia were given to me by one of the people who built my house over 30 years ago.  They were growing in his mother’s yard, she had passed away, and the house had just been sold.  For me, I have found that flower and plant starts, not from a nursery, can come with an interesting story.  When I see the plant in my yard, it brings back memories of where it came from and more.

These are sturdy little bulbs, that can really multiply if left undisturbed for a few years.  When I think I have dug them out from a flower bed, I see escaped bulblets growing for years to come. 

Normally my crocosmia thrive when they are protected from deer, but I have them growing in all sorts of places.  There is one unfenced bed containing crocosmia growing wild with lemon balm, on a hill away from the regular deer paths.  Bearded iris and artemisia are also on guard – 3 out of 4 plants that our deer don’t eat, seems to save the crocosmia. 

Italian Flat-Leaf Parsley

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Italian Flat-Leaf Parsley

Parsley flowers are so small, they can be hard to notice when they finally bloom. The seeds are about the same size as the numerous flowers and are just as plentiful.

Seeds will sprout easily as long as there is plenty of moisture. Under, or near, a water faucet is a good place to start a parsley bed. Later on, seeds can be spread to other places to see where the emerging plants best like the prevailing micro-climate. This particular bed has been reseeding itself for many years, and I think it is in need of rejuvenation. This is where timing comes into play – I need to wait until the plants go to seed, then save some seeds, just in case there are any challenges (like a heat wave) when the planting bed is cleaned up.

In the upper right are parsley leaves, don’t be misled by the sage leaves in the upper left of this photo. Sage and parsley live together with stray violets, and are protected from deer in this fenced planting bed.  I keep any other interlopers (weeds)  out in an effort to encourage what I want to live here to thrive.

Yellow Succulent Flowers

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Yellow Succulent Flowers

I have a half dozen succulent plants along the front border of a long bed next to the driveway. Sure do wish I knew their names, but I believe that most are probably in the sedum family.

About five years ago, I visited a local art festival on the last day near closing time and saw an older woman selling succulent plants. While chatting with her, I learned that she had sold plants at art festivals for many years, but now she was retiring and this was her last show. She assured me the particular plants I was looking at would grow year-round out-of-doors, as they flourished in her very Northern California yard. Did I get lucky that day!? I would give a number of plants a new home, and start learning about growing succulents.

This is the first one to bloom. The spikes of yellow flowers are about three inches high, and are a beautiful cut flower in a very small, or mini, vase.  There is a photo of these flowers in a wood-fired mini-vase posted on www.facebook.com/SusanRodenPottery

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.

Salvia – Snow Hill

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Salvia - Snow Hill

I’ve tried growing various salvias, but this is the first perennial success for me. The flowers might appear delicate, but I think they are sturdy. I’m thinking that if I can keep it deadheaded, I’ll have blossoms for quite awhile. Trying to remember how long it bloomed last summer, which was its first in my garden.

This small plant is positioned to be the first I walk by when entering the gate of a long rectangular flower bed, next to the driveway to my house. The entire bed used to be in sunlight all day long, but things have changed. Just up the hill, redwood trees have grown on the west side of the bed and now give late afternoon shade relief. There is a minor side effect to planting anywhere near redwood trees: those trees have a multitude of shallow roots that will infiltrate anything and everything. So, I’m learning to keep adding topsoil and plant flowers that can think of competing with tree roots. So far, so good.