garden ponderings


Spring Flowers can be Fleeting

Weeping cherry tree flowers early,
but the blooms are not long-lived (for me).

While I was cleaning out weeds from under this tree,
it started to snow flower petals, as my head bumped the trunk.

Do I dare remove the deer fence,
since those animals usually prune lower on plants?

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Camellia in full bloom
This shrub always seem to bloom when it is raining.
Water is deadly to the appearance of these fragile blossoms.
Talk about beauty being short, but sweet!


Flowers of Cinque Terre

We visited Cinque Terre in early May, last spring.
The hillsides between the towns were a lush green and the succulent plants bloomed.
Calla lilies looked beautiful growing wild in the ravines.


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.


Violets are Coming on Strong

Violets near Violets

From a shovel-full many years ago, this ground cover of violets grows prolifically in my yard.  It loves any shade it can find, and thrives under a deck or under rhododendrons.  If I am digging plants or bulbs surrounded by violets, the violets are the first to come back.  The blooms will continue into summer if they get enough moisture.



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Hollyhocks were unknown to me until a woman friend gave me a handful of seeds.  I dutifully planted them and they grew and grew and grew some more.  These are by far the tallest flowers I have.  They have bloomed and reseeded for a number of years now.  This year the blossoms are far more meager than in previous years, and I wonder if the plants are just getting old and need to be started again.  I used to see stems-full of dark red flowers that I learned were an old-fashioned favorite.

In the second photo you can see where the deer have eaten everything off the hollyhock stems.  They have been pruning these plants for years now.  I just measured the deer fence at 4 feet (120 cm) high, and it is also 4 feet (120 cm, again) from the house wall.  While the deer could jump this height easily, the bed is full of plants with no landing space.  The fence is high enough to deter the deer from nibbling low stature plants.


Bee Balm


Maybe because this is a newer plant for me, and these are the only flowers, but I have not seen any bees around it.  I do like the feathery petals of these flowers a lot, and the bright red sure stands out in my flower garden.  It is planted between white-flowering salvia and chamomile.  Unfortunately they do not flower in the same month as their blooms would look so striking next to each other with short white flowers under the taller red bee balm.

I understand the base of this plant should spread as it stays in one place, and I look forward to seeing that.  It will take a bit of nurturing since this flower bed is on shale and clay with redwood trees growing behind.  If you didn’t already know, the roots of redwood trees go sideways for a very long ways, and not much grows in their shadow.  I just keep adding amendments to lighten the ‘soil’ and keep raising the bed for the flowers.  Don’t know how long I can pull this off, but for now, it works.