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.


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Colchicum or Autumn Crocus

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I was paying attention and took photos of these flowers as they emerged from the ground over a period of a week (okay, I was visiting my grandsons for a few days in between, but I did not miss one of my favorite flowers).

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I was given my first Colchicum bulb many years ago when I went to a farmer’s market looking for a friend.  Never found her, but did chat up a person packing up their booth, and they gave me this strange, roundish, potato-shape bulb that they claimed would flower.   I stuck it in the ground and promptly forgot about it.

The next spring some leaves came up, but I could not remember what they went to.  The leaves died out, and not until late summer did a beautiful pink flower emerge.  I thought the crocus had forgot what season it was, since they bloom in early spring.  The flower died and I got busy with my life again.

Years later, I noticed many of the beautiful delicate pink flowers in the fall.  I read about colchicums in a gardening magazine and finally realized what I had in my yard.  By this time my area of these bulbs had enlarged quite a bit.  When I dug them up to divide and spread them around, I saved half a dozen bulbs for my friend who gave me a stack of her old Fine Gardening magazines where I learned about these unusual flowers.

 


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Dahlia

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These plants come in all sizes and heights, and some people specialize in growing only dahlia flowers.

I picked up a few bulbs on sale a couple of years ago, and planted them in different locations in my garden.  In my climate, I’ve read that you should dig up your dahlia bulbs in the fall, and replant them in the spring.  No way I can stay on top of that!  I promptly forgot that detail of plant care when the time came to do the job.  Two of four bulbs survived winter, and are just blooming now. 

Now that I know they can survive a winter, I’ll have to nurture them along some more.  I would like to see more of these flowers next summer.


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Orange Crocosmia

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My first set of bulbs for these crocosmia were given to me by one of the people who built my house over 30 years ago.  They were growing in his mother’s yard, she had passed away, and the house had just been sold.  For me, I have found that flower and plant starts, not from a nursery, can come with an interesting story.  When I see the plant in my yard, it brings back memories of where it came from and more.

These are sturdy little bulbs, that can really multiply if left undisturbed for a few years.  When I think I have dug them out from a flower bed, I see escaped bulblets growing for years to come. 

Normally my crocosmia thrive when they are protected from deer, but I have them growing in all sorts of places.  There is one unfenced bed containing crocosmia growing wild with lemon balm, on a hill away from the regular deer paths.  Bearded iris and artemisia are also on guard – 3 out of 4 plants that our deer don’t eat, seems to save the crocosmia.