susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Changeable Weather

We had a few days of record heat, then rain, and cooler.  The plants are dealing with this variable weather better than I am.  At least I don’t have to water anything myself!

New flowers are blooming nearly every day.
So much to do, and only so many hours of agreeable weather.

Not a lot of blossoms on this tree peony, so I savor every one.
These photos are of the same flower, on the same day.   They open fast in the sunshine.
I did cut a couple of these flowers, just as they began to open.
They are hanging in a closet, clothes-pinned upside-down from a hanger.
If my experiment works, I’ll have some peonies all summer – or maybe even longer!
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Lots of white Dutch iris, I like these a lot.
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Rhododendron flowers open in the same order every year.
These are some earlier bloomers.* * * * *
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Weigela is an old-time shrub, and new to my garden.
This particular spot can get very wet during rainy season, and I’ve lost a few plants here.
Upon investigation, I determined that this is a prime candidate to like this location.
It sure looks good now, I do hope it stays around.


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Amaranth aka Pigweed

Such a beautiful flower, I cannot imagine it as a weed.
(I better watch my thoughts, as one person’s weed may be another person’s treasure!)
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My first time ever to grow this flower, and I had no idea what to expect.
It is about as tall as a cornstalk (5-6 feet, or up to 2 meters), but its ‘tassels’ droop down instead of staying erect, as with corn.
The flowers are a beautiful fuchsia color, and quite elongate
– around 12 inches (30 cm) long.

I read that these flowers can be dried and used in arrangements past their bloom season.  Of course, I have to try this:-)
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The flower on the far end was cut a few days ago.  It was laying on a counter and making a mess by dropping pollen.  Time to learn how to dry these.

First thing I discovered was amaranth flowers come in erect or hanging forms.
A suggestion to keep the fall of the flower was to drape it over a box.
This is how I interpret how to arrange these flowers for dehydration.  The color of the flower has darkened already.  I’ll keep you posted as to the success of this endeavor.


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Alluring Artichokes

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After our share of thistle hearts (in case you didn’t already know, artichokes are in the thistle family), I let the last few buds go to flower.
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This was not the only bee allowed a last fling before I cut the flowers.
If you get a chance to feel them, fresh artichoke flower tops are very soft.
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Copy of DSCN3475A dried artichoke flower from last year is on the left and a fresh cut flower on the right.  Not only the color of the new flower base (it is green), but its shape reveal the difference in age of the two.  As water evaporates, the bud will shrink and lose weight quite a bit.

These flowers are standing in a Goddess Vase that I made.
I love to play/work in the mud – clay and flowers both live in dirt.

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One of the coolest things about artichokes, is that the mother plant that yielded delicious eating chokes and pretty flowers for drying, makes baby plants before it dies.
There are two artichoke plants coming from the ground, in the photo above.  On the left side is new growth with the mother plant’s leaves turning  yellow on the right side.


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Sea Lavender

Sea Lavender

I was disappointed to find my Sea Lavender did not bloom this year.  It is in a corner of a planting bed that catches some shade in the afternoons.  Then I remembered last spring when I found a baby Sea Lavender and moved it to a real sunny location.  And the baby was flowering!  What luck!

Autumn is coming soon, and this plant’s leaves are already starting to change colors.  In the past, I have cut these flowers and dried them to last through the winter.  Since there are not many blossoms this year, I will let the few stay on the plant.


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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.