susansflowers

garden ponderings


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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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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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Fruiting Plum Trees

Plum trees flower so early in the season here, we rarely get fruit.
On top of that, we have had rain every day for over a week,
which is not great for pollination.

Above is a Santa Rosa plum tree whose fruit is so delicious to eat right out of hand.
The last time this tree bore fruit was 25 summers ago.  We took quart bags of home-grown plums on a family river rafting trip.  They were so juicy, just a few bites,
then see how far you can toss the pit.

This Japanese prune plum tree has borne only a handful of fruit in over 25 years.
It was swarming with insects that appeared to be fertilizing the blossoms,
on the cool, but dry afternoon, this photo was taken.

Besides conducive weather at pollination time, we need no more below freezing temperatures.  I will always remember when it was severely cold one Mother’s Day in early May – we lost the fruit from all of our trees that year.


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The early flower gets .. rained on

Why would only two crocus bulbs flower and all the other ones wait over a week to bloom?
This is not even the sunniest location.

1st crocus

After some days of rain, the sun has encouraged more crocus to break their dormancy, and greet the winter sun.
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A week later, after days of rain, the sun re-emerged.
These same crocuses (croci?  I saw this plural someplace, did not make it up myself!) put out more blossoms.

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A few more bulbs bloomed

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And more are on the way

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Colorful Asters

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The original plant is this color, but the camera captures a different color than my eye sees.  I looked at a number of photos I took, and kept seeing the same hue.  In person, these flowers look more purple / blue.  I suppose there is a perfectly logical camera explanation for the color difference :-)* * * * *
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I do like this light pink color, perhaps because there are so few plants with flowers this color.  Can you see the purple asters on the far left of the photo?  The camera was fooled into showing those flowers their true color!

I am inundated with aster seedlings in the garden, since it is extremely time-consuming to dead head these plants.  New blossoms open and others die everyday, from the top of branches going down.

My latest plan is to mark the bottom of the plants with pink blooms, so I will know them after the tops have been cut off.
When they are dug up in winter, I can say decisively, what color flower comes from which plant.
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The one plant with white flowers was the last to bloom.


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Flowers in the Vegetable Garden

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Strawberry plants are looking great.  I pick a couple of pints every morning.  My favorite ways to eat these summer gems is on a bowl of granola for breakfast, and on a dinner salad.  M-m-m, tasty!
Any extras get frozen on a cookie sheet and put away to be enjoyed in winter.
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Copy of DSCN3527 Copy of DSCN3535Summer squash is just getting going, I like mine small, young & tender.
A friend was surprised with a few zucchini at her front door the other morning.
The zuke elves are starting their rounds, watch out!
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Copy of DSCN3528 Copy of DSCN3536I’ve picked only a very few cherry-size tomatoes, and not one green bean – yet.
The best is yet to come in these departments.
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Copy of DSCN3530 Copy of DSCN3548Baby, red leaf, butter lettuce gone to seed is not necessarily glamorous.
The dandelion-looking fuzz balls are their flowers gone-to-seed.
Close-up the flowers are kind of cute.
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Copy of DSCN3538I try to keep flowers pinched from all my basil plants, as it is the leaves that are used.  Thai basil has the prettiest purple flower buds, and a few blossoms opened before they were pruned.
These leaves get dried to add flavor to curry dinners all winter long.
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Copy of DSCN3531Amaranth is new to me, and I’m not sure how much larger the flower will grow.  There are around a dozen plants, each about a yard (a meter) tall.
I keep checking this one, there is much for me to learn here.
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Copy of DSCN3526 DSCN3549Melons are such a gamble to harvest here.  Will the heat continue through August and September?  Since it is still July, it looks like this could be a good year.  Cantaloupe or rockmelon are the size of a large orange, so far.  Smooth-skin melons usually take longer to mature, but this one is on its way, also.
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And last, but hardly least, are a couple of my own garden nemeses:
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Someone was just here extolling the beauty of Queen Anne’s lace in the fields, and I objected.  The flowers are not evil themselves, but when they go to seed, the trouble starts.  It is a test of my patience to pick the burrs out of kids and my own socks.
The yellow flowers are not dandelions, but I would not be surprised to learn they are close cousins, as the flowers turn to fuzz-balls when they go to seed.


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A Yammering of Yellow

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I’ve been watching these St. John’s Wort buds the last couple of days, and this morning the flowers burst open.  I’ve never noticed the orange-tipped stamen before, so pretty.
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These wildflowers appeared a year ago at the back of a bed.  Since they were in a good location, I let them stay.  So far, they have stayed put, and not invaded the cultivated flowerbed.
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The first succulent of mine to bloom.  Tiny flowers on stems about 3″ (8cm).
Last year, I cut a small bouquet of these blossoms and kept them through the winter, in my kitchen windowsill, as dried flowers in a mini-vase.
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Earlier this spring, I was sure this Lady’s Mantle had died.  It may have outgrown its location, so I shoveled part of the plant out.  The interesting shape of its leaves and hardiness make this a keeper in my garden.
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Alliums are known to be robust members of any garden, and these yellow-flowered ones do not fail.  Mine have been neglected, separated and moved around by me and who-knows-what critters.
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The first bud of a prolific mini-flower rose bush.
You can see additional buds surrounding this blossom.
I am able to cut flowers from this plant all summer long.