garden ponderings

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Rudbekia or Black-Eye Susans


I had heard of these flowers for a long time, but this story is how I found that it was a must-grow-in-my-own-garden plant.

I am also an artist (clay is my medium), and was part of a group of artists all with the name Susan.  At the opening of our first group show, one of the Susan’s brought a bouquet of Rudbekia for display.  That was the moment I decided that I had-to-grow-them-in-my-own-garden. 

These plants multiply so freely, I can’t believe I couldn’t find anyone who wanted to part with some, so I purchased my first plant.  Now I dig up wayward starts and beg friends to take some.  They are very sturdy growers, and so are the starts I keep in small pots.  But do watch out for the deer, as they find these flowers tasty.

The coreopsis that are blooming now, are the same colors as these black-eye Susans, but are smaller flowers.  I think they look nice next to each other.  In the lower right of the photo are some flower buds before they open.  The black “eye” is peeking through baby-size yellow-orange petals.

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These cute little flowers almost took over my garden one year.  Then I started pulling them up by their roots and cutting them back severely.  They are now under control and pop up in the most interesting places.  I let them live most of the time, now days.

It is amazing how a specific plant can take over in almost the blink of an eye.  I think it looks good where it is, and it reseeds freely – such a nice attribute in an almost empty flower bed.  From now on, I am on the lookout for a plant that seems too good to be true.  Which reminds me of a great old saying:  ‘if something seems too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true’.

Do not think I am totally disparaging this annual flower, I like many of its positive attributes.  Though I have learned from experience to not look the other way at a plant that seems to have it all.  As a mid-summer flower, the color blends in well with other blossoms here, and complements the greenery of spent flowering plants.

Mystery Flower


Mystery Flower

I wish I knew the name of these flowers.
They bloom very early, about the same time as crocus – except I see them in between the violets. The more recent blooms are more purple, while they fade to a paler lavender color as they age.

I thought I planted a handful of small bulbs a few years ago, now they are coming up all around a particular area. Are the small animals spreading them? Or is it the birds? Could they have gone to seed as many of my flowers do? But bulbs don’t spread by going to seed. I suppose I could dig one up to determine if they truly are bulbs. But I think I like them as they are, so they will stay and keep the violets company.