susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Hordes of Hyacinths

For many years, I made hyacinth vases to sell before the holidays.
They always included a pre-chilled bulb, ready to be forced to bloom.

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Of course, there were always left over bulbs (as I ordered in quantity),
that I kept planting in my gardens.

Most of the hyacinth bulbs live in my ‘flower jails’
to protect them from marauding deer and rabbits.

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Every year the rabbits have chewed the flowers and leaves of the un-fenced bulbs in this bed.  This is the first year in memory, the flowers have survived.

The rabbit population rises and falls annually, opposite that of the predators, usually coyotes, though there is the occasional bobcat or bear.  Since hyacinths are blooming safely out of the fence, it lets me know to be aware the predator population is on the rise.

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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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Blooms & Buds in the Dead of Winter

Between the rain and cold most flowers are dormant in this season.
It is called the ‘dead’ of winter for good reason:-)

Purple violets bloom through the winter here.
I think they don’t mind the cold, and must love the rain,
since these often sleep through the summer heat.

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Snowdrops are the first bulb to bloom in the calendar year.
This lone specimen is my only sample.
It will soon be hidden by the daffodils whose leaves are just emerging behind.

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Pink hellebore buds will open soon.

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Evergreen leaves can be susceptible to snails, I have heard.
My problem pests are voles who have eaten leaves and left me stems.
A vole is similar to a mouse, but with a shorter tail.
I catch them in mousetraps in the garage and shops.


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Autumn Crocus

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Technical name for this beauty is colchicum which is in the lily family
It has no relation to crocus, in the iris family.
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Above, the buds are emerging from the ground in the same hole as their dead leaves did last spring.
There should be 3 to 4 times as many flowers as I see this year, because there were that many leaves a few months ago.  Perhaps this summer was too hot for the bulbs.  I understood these bulbs can take full sun, but apparently, I was mistaken.


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Spanish Bluebells

?????????? ??????????A shovel full of these bluebell bulbs were given to me over twenty years ago.
I had seen them growing at the base of an old tree, so planted mine in a similar manner.  After noticing the leaf blades had been nibbled by wildlife, I moved my remaining bulbs into a fenced area.  There they not only thrived, but multiplied profusely.  I am now inundated with bluebells.

Somewhere along the line, I acquired what I called white bluebells – it sounds like an oxymoron!  Shouldn’t they be called white bells?
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Or are they really lily-of-the-valley flowers?
Therefore, I decided it was time to look them up.  True Lily-of-the-valley flowers have significantly wider leaf blades, so I do not have those.  Surprisingly, there really are (off) white bluebells, and they are not albinos!  Online, I found many photos of bluebells that were drooping over.  My bluebell flowers are definitely erect, and I concluded they must be Spanish bluebells.  There is something similar called a Harebell, but that blooms in summertime, and is a different flower.


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Chionodoxa or Glory of the Snow

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This is one of our favorite reliable bulbs here.  The leaves emerge in November or so, and give some needed greenery along the front of many flower beds until the flowers bloom in spring.  Then we get rows of beautiful light blue blossoms.
These bulbs have multiplied profusely, they have been shared and divided many times.  I love the aroma they emit when I pull weeds that try to live amongst these small plants.
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Chionodoxa are lush in front of these bricks, they will be ready to divide in another year.  As these bulbs grow too thick through the years, they get divided to edge another bed.
I have read that deer and animals are supposed to ignore these plants, probably because of their scent.  The local animals have not read the same gardening book, as I always find some nibbles on the greenery.
Remembering the name of these cute little flowers, has always been a challenge for me.  A search in a catalog of spring bulbs brings it back to mind.


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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.