susansflowers

garden ponderings


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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.

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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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Buds

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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.


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Asters make a liar out of me!

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These are the same asters I cut a few days ago.  The flowers really did close up the next morning when I went to take a photo.  For some unknown reason I did not throw throw them in the compost bucket.  When I noticed the vase later, the blossoms looked great, and the tiny buds were starting to open.  They must like their new home!


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Artichoke Flower

Artichoke flower on plantArtichoke flower in Turtle Vase

These are really quite stunning flowers, and as an added bonus they keep beautifully if dried.  Camaroon is a cousin of the artichoke that is grown for its flowers rather than the edible thistle bud.  The camaroon can get quite tall, easily 5 or 6 feet high.

I like to let some artichoke buds mature and flower, rather than harvest them all earlier in the growth stage, for eating.   Since my artichoke vegies do not grow especially large, I get tired of the ‘labor-intensive’ process to eat the small bites of the tender heart. 

Pictured is an artichoke flower in a porcelain Turtle Vase, made by yours truly.

Broccoli Flowers

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Broccoli Flowers

These flowers are growing from a crop of winter broccoli. Perhaps it was the fickle spring weather this year that contributed to the short window of time edible broccoli buds were available and the proliferation of weeds in the gardens.

This year, I observed the strong resemblance among the flowers of broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts and probably all other cruciferous plant flowers. When I checked my dictionary for the spelling of cruciferous, I learned these plants are all in the mustard family. The last few years, I’ve been trying to purchase organic, non-hybrid broccoli plants, that might come true to seed. Time will tell if the seed will produce plants that will grow over the winter and produce broccoli florets next spring.

Camellias

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Camellias

I had not realized just how close this plant was to blooming, when I noticed a bush full of flowers. It is so colorful, too bad these are not cutting flowers that can be enjoyed inside as much as appreciated outdoors. Though, I remember a babysitter from when my kids were little, who showed them how to float a camellia bloom in a dish of water.

The photo doesn’t show petal edges that are black from the rain. Finding a perfect camellia flower is always a challenge on my bush. A rainstorm passes over and the flowers are never quite as nice. While the plant will often flower over an extended period of time, many buds fall off the plant. Maybe if I learned judicious pruning, I would have more premium flowers. So much to learn about so many plants. In the meantime, they are pretty, even if they look better from a distance than from close up.