garden ponderings

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Purple Power


With some warm days, early spring flowers have come into full bloom.


These windflowers close up overnight, and in cool or wet weather.  But when the sun emerges or even on an overcast afternoon, they open to the warmth.


It will soon be time to move crocus bulbs around.  Unlike most other flower bulbs, they are amenable to a change in location as soon as the flower dies, but before the leaves do.



Early Iris

Copy of DSCN1890

Early iris sure are short in stature, just like the bulb catalog claims.  It has been relatively warm and sunny for February, with the temps in the low 50 degrees F (barely over 10 degrees C).  Since the sun has come out the last couple of afternoons, the plants are basking in it.

These blooms were open in the early morning fog, while the crocus stayed closed.

Through the years I have planted so many bulbs in the ground.  Now, I have no idea what will come up where.  If I move a perennial from one location to another in a flower bed, too often, I find I have sliced bulbs with my shovel.  One time, I moved crocus bulbs to encircle perennials to solve over-crowding.  Then I intermixed some tulip bulbs with the crocus.  Now I find those, and other bulbs, showing up in interesting places.  I’ve heard of small animals, as mice and voles, moving bulbs around underground.  It seems to me, the rodents must see the bulbs as winter food to be stashed in case of need.

Wild Himalayan Blackberry

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Wild Himalayan Blackberry

I like this picture as you can see the developing berries as well as the delicate flowers. Not only the stems, but the leaves, and even the backs of the leaves, have a multitude of thorns. Anyone who has gone berry-picking quickly learns how to pick these delicacies without getting too bloody in the process.

Some berry-picking hints, gleaned from experience (the best teacher):
1 – Go early in the morning, so you can wear long pants and long sleeves without cooking yourself in the summer heat.
2 – Bring clippers to be able to cut a path to a desirable clump of berries.
3 – Have plenty of clean buckets for the picked berries. If you are picking berries to be cooked into pie or jelly, for example, as big as a 5-gallon bucket is fine. If you want to freeze or eat individual berries, a smaller size bucket is preferable, so as not to crush the bottom layers.
4 – Avoid berries on a roadside where they have accumulated car exhaust. Along a stream is a much better location for picking.

Although locals love these tasty berries, the plant is an invasive in the state of Oregon. It was brought here in the mid-1800’s to help prevent stream erosion, after the local beaver population was decimated. (Oh, the tales that history can tell…)

Do know that you are competing with the local wildlife population, including birds, deer and bears, for your juicy berries?


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SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAPink flower buds are peeking from the fern fronds.  The distinctive leaves of hellebore confirm that the young plant has survived the winter.

I found these flowers in the garden of an elderly neighbor.  After she passed, her son let me dig up a plant for my garden.  The mother plant is not in a fenced area, and I’ve seen many deer pass through those flower beds. I need to get brave and plant one of these outside my deer-fenced area, to prove to myself they are deer resistant.

Once I tried to give a vase of these flowers away, and learned the hard way that they are not ‘cutting’ flowers. They look best on the plant and in the ground. They merely droop like sad-sacks when in a vase.

The fern pictured  trying to hide the hellebore above is one of a group of ferns that took up residence at the edge of an east-facing deck.  I see them in nurseries, but find them to be almost a pest here.  They require pruning a couple of times a year, to remove dead fronds and show the flowers I have planted underneath.

Well, I just noticed that I already had a post on hellebores.   These are some of the same comments by me.  I think I’ll leave both posts as a reminder to myself of ??

Have spent some time recently, on non-rainy days, pruning and weeding.  So much to do.  Dry days in late winter have been the best time to get a jump on busy spring days.  Still have plants I bought last fall, to get into the ground, and a number of other plants to move around while the rainy season is still here.


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In between rain storms, I noticed this snowdrop flower. I thought I had planted some of these bulbs, but totally forgot where. Finally, I found it, outside a fenced area, because I thought the deer & rabbits would not eat them.

Many years ago, I had a small clump of snowdrops that were the first flowers to come up every year. They did not seem to multiply like daffodils, bluebells and many other bulbs did. This lone survivor is showing no signs of multiplying either.

The daffodil leaves in the background do keep multiplying, though.