garden ponderings

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Snow as a Novelty

Walked around with my camera looking for something interesting.
In the fir woods, wet snow turned icy had settled on mushrooms.
Under the house eaves,
dry morning snow sits on the dead flowers of Autumn Sedum.

* * * * *
In the garden, some plants huddled under the snow.

It is not as though Bok Choy, Salad Burnet, Swiss Chard or Artichokes
were excited about the snow, but they did not roll over and die.
I’ll see how well they really survive come spring.

* * * * *

We walked by the creek and looked at some leafless Oak Trees.
Ferns grow on the damp lower branches,
and Lichen hangs from branches.
Poison Oak and Hawthorns are dormant now,
so we could walk safely under the oaks.

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Bad Berries & Good Berries


Hawthorn berries are a colorful addition for the holidays, if you can get through the thorns!  Birds will eat the berries during the winter, and spread the seeds to the frustration of people.  English settlers (ignorantly) brought hawthorns to my area over 100 years ago – and we are still cursing them (the English & the hawthorns).

Classic English hedgerows were made of hawthorns.  Professional gardeners were needed to weave and maintain the hedgerows.  In the new world, there was plenty of wood to make fences, and they were not a full-time job to maintain.

Where I live today, the hawthorn is a significant, noxious and invasive plant.
The large thorns are capable of puncturing a tractor tire.
I have broken a couple pair of garden clippers trying to clip too large a hawthorn stem.
(Not counting all the scratches I have endured:-)

* * * * *

I cannot think of anything negative to say about Snowberries.
This native plant lives along the seasonal and year-long creeks here.
Beautiful white berries stand out among the thickets and stems of deciduous bushes.
(Please excuse my less-than-stellar photography, as my camera lens did not know that I wanted it to focus on the berries 🙂

* * * * *
Happy Solstice to all.
I love this time of year, as I get to look forward to a touch more minutes of daylight everyday for the next six months.

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Verbena Bonariensis


While this photo was taken July 1 this year, this plant is flowering again.  These flower stems are very long – about 3 feet tall (1 meter), yet the flower heads themselves are quite small.  The one in the picture is 3 inches across, at most.  And each flower head is really many teeny-tiny florets.

I’ve only seen this flower in a public planting here in the Northwest US, one time, and it was more sparse than lush.  One reason might be that it grows as an annual here in Oregon, but can naturalize in tropical climes, as Hawaii.  But then you have to watch out, because it has become invasive some places.  I try not to plant anything that can become invasive in my area.  We are doing battle with enough unwanted plants, for example Himalayan blackberries (planted to control erosion) and English hawthorn (brought by early settlers for fence rows).