garden ponderings

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Spring Abloom in Winter

Violets bloom all winter long here.
They look beautiful in the snow,
but no snow this year, so far.
These blossoms have naturalized in many of my beds.
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Bergenia are early bloomers here, also.
They grow on the sheltered east side of my house,
protected from deer.
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Hellebore are also growing in a sheltered east-facing area.
The ferns came up naturally,
and keep these flowers shaded.
While the white flowers are in full bloom,
the pink ones are just beginning.
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The first strawberry blossoms
from a warmer area in the yard.



An Early Bounce from Spring

We took a two week trip to visit grandboys,
missing a snowstorm, cold and rain while gone.

Upon our return home, I took my camera
around the house to see what had bloomed in my absence.

These hyacinth bulbs are in the same bed.
Photos confirm that white hyacinth flower before the blue ones.
I love the scent from hyacinth, even though it can be strong.
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In the same bed as the hyacinth above are these bloomers.

The windflower anemones shown are in various stages of bloom.
They have self-multiplied all through this bed,
and will flower for at least another month.

Our local weather has sun and cold rain in spurts (significantly less sun),
which has extended the bloom time of early spring flowers.
Tons of daffodils are planted in front of the house.
They are starting to bloom at not-exactly-the-same-time.
I am not sure if this is the soil or the particular micro-climate.
Those are clumps of bluebells coming up near the daffodils.
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More purple flowers!
Just a small bunch of miniature iris here.
Up close, they show some weather damage, but are still pretty.

Anemones are short, but sweet, flowering.
There is a bud behind and to the left of this blossom.
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I have shown this batch of flowers already this year, but am doing so again.
Bergenia are blooming in many places – they were easy to divide.

Pink hellebore are finally blooming, much later than the white.
There are still buds on the pink-flowered plant, and
the weather forecast has enough cool rain to keep these around for awhile.


Early Spring

We have had a bumper year for rain,
which after a drought is very welcome.
As soon as the rain lets up,
plants (including weeds) reach for the bits of sunshine.

I have been watching my crocus for years
and observed the various colored flowers bloom in a specific order:
yellow ones first, then the lavenders, next come purple and white striped,
then purples, and the pure white ones last.

Here is a crocus fact that I can vouch for from experience:
If you want to move the bulbs, wait until the blossoms are spent,
but before the leaves have died.
It is a short window of opportunity,
but the bulbs are easy to locate in the ground.
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Bergenia are starting to bloom.
This large-leaved groundcover has such pretty, delicate flowers.
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I know a little about hellebores,
like deer do not eat them and they love shade.
In contrast to the crocus, the white blossoms come first,
while the pink flowers are still budding.
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I have planted and divided and planted hundreds of daffodils around our plot of land.
All I see around the house are emerging leaf blades.
What a surprise to find these flowers near the driveway, closer to the county road.
On a south-facing slope, with little shade from trees,
the micro-climate here must be quite a bit warmer.

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Passionate Purple & Pink

Both of these wildflowers found my garden.
They are seasonal and have multiplied.
Sometimes you just get lucky!
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Here are eggplant and potato flowers
from the vegetable garden.
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Lupine and Foxglove reseed freely.
I never know where they will appear year-to-year.
They are always welcome additions.
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Years ago, I planted Garlic in my flower beds to fight bugs,
I think it will come up forever.
Agastache, or Giant Hyssop, is supposed to be deer resistant,
but I don’t trust those animals.  Some of the plants are fenced,
some are not, so far all are surviving.
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Short and tall exemplars.
Bellflower is peeking out between Bergenia leaves.
Its own leaves are the serrated ones in the back of the photo.
These Hollyhock blossoms are ‘doubles’ with extra petals.
A neighbor gave me these plants a number of years ago,
and they are finally blooming.


Bergenia Blooms

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In our unseasonably warm winter the flowers are budding and blooming way ahead of normal years.  These bergenia buds are next to the house on the east-facing side.  Other bergenias, below a deck, are not as far along, even though their exposure is also to the east.

In the first photo, if you look to the right of the blossoms you can see the strappy leaves of an amaryllis that I call a ‘naked lady’.  Pink flowers will bloom on a stalk that grows in summer, after the leaves that are emerging now die back.  I entirely forgot where I planted this bulb, and did not notice it in the flower bed when I was taking pictures.  My surprise came when I was examining photos on the computer and noticed the leaves.  Now, if I remember to mark where the naked lady is, I can consider moving it where the flower will show better in summer.



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Bergenia and Hellebore – both are in bud this early in the season!  The sun was shining yesterday, a warm 45 degrees F (just over 7 degrees C), as compared to a cool 45 degrees when the sun is not out.  Interesting, isn’t it, how the same number of degrees can feel so different to one’s body depending on the sun?

There is also a white-flower hellebore, almost adjacent to this pink-flower one, but its buds are not as developed as these pink ones are.  I will have to keep my eyes open for an example of a white flower opening before its colored counterparts.

Balloon Flower

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Balloon Flower

I planted this a number of years ago, and was sure it disappeared soon after. Surprisingly, it has survived and lives in the shade and moisture under a Camellia bush. The blue-violet flowers grow on stalks that emanate away from the balloon plant, thus they appear to be growing in the leaves of nearby winter-blooming violets.

Violets grow profusely under the camellia bush, making it hard to see any other plants that might also be growing there.  Besides the balloon flower, I am now discovering various other plants popping up under the camellia including a bergenia and bluebells.  I know I have not planted the latter two in that area, so I am thinking the mice (or voles) have been moving bulbs and parts of plants around in the winter time.  I had heard that this could happen, and now I am observing plants in places that I have no other explanation for their location.

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.


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These are early buds, and the first flowers have opened.
A low-growing perennial, that stays green all year in my area. It lives in a morning sun area near a deck and the side of the house.
I saw a hillside of these flowers when we were in Santa Cruz, near the beach. They appeared to be growing wild, just fine on their own. Just beautiful.

A couple of years ago, I separated and transplanted a big clump of these plants. Of course, the plants nearer irrigation did better, but these are quite hardy and all the plants moved survived.
I cannot remember where I got my first start from. Am happy to share with any who read this. Just email me.