susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Dog Days of Summer

I’ve spent (most) every morning this summer
at my vegetable garden,
before it gets too hot to work outside.
The flower garden has been on its own,
save for some deadheading of blossoms.
(It is called ‘survival of the fittest’ 🙂

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Helianthus is a perennial sunflower
that grows at my house
as tall (or short, depending on your view) as I am.
Many years ago, I ordered it from a catalog.
The original location had its flowers attacked by bugs,
so I divided my plant and
moved part to the other (south) side of the house.
Bugs have not discovered these blossoms,
and the plant has flourished.
On the other hand, the rhizomes are quite invasive
and it is a battle to keep this plant contained.
* * * * *

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Sunflowers in my garden.
I planted 2 packets of shorter sunflowers,
but none came up.
Was I surprised to see these volunteers
come up in a corn bed.
The sunflowers dominated corn seedlings
at a very early stage of growth.
As the flower matures,
petals drop off and seeds start to develop.
Long-stemmed flowers look beautiful in a vase,
but a few days later pollen falls and makes a mess.
(Just a forewarning!)
* * * * *

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Rudbeckia or Black-Eyed Susan are prolific
late-summer bloomers.
Their rhizomes are also invasive,
as I dig them out from other plants annually.
They are beautiful cut flowers and last a week in a vase.

 


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Helianthus Has Issues

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These beautiful flowers in the sunflower family were planted 5 – 10 years ago, and have had bug problems ever since.
Pictured here are plants that were moved to the south side of my house.
They are doing much better than the original location in sun all day long.
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See the flowers here that are missing petals?
Some thing has made these blossoms incomplete.
I do not know the infestation that is devastating these flowers.
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At times, I thought I could see the insects eating the petals, now I throw my hands up in confusion.  I cannot figure out what is going on.
I’m sure I will dig out the other batch of flowers, and give these another year to live and redeem themselves.  Only out of sheer frustration.


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Autumn Gladiolus – Maybe

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I’m sure I found the starts for this flower early this spring.  They tempted me with their beautiful photos.  After planting the bulbs, I forgot about them all summer long, and never noticed the gladiolus-type leaves growing.  I definitely like this sort of surprises in the garden.  Wouldn’t it be nice if they came back next year?  We’ll just have to wait and see.  If they really like where they are planted they may multiply.  That is Lemon Queen Helianthus peeking in on the right.  Hollyhock leaves are on the left.


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Helianthus Lemon Queen, a Sunflower

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The sunflower family includes so many flowers, from giant heads to very tiny.  From short to very, very tall.  This particular example is a perennial with showy blooms just a few inches across.  Deer find them tasty, so they grow in flower jails (cages) on my property.  Some insect also finds the blossoms delicious, as the petals are very uneven and often disappear before the bloom is finished.

I purchased starters for this plant from a mail-order catalog, a rarity for me.  Years later in my flower gardening path, I found the catalog and can see how the company makes money on this and many others they offer for sale.  They multiply easily.  I have shared this plant with as many people as I can get to take it.  Though it is pretty, it can definitely take over an area.