susansflowers

garden ponderings


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A Cloudy Morning

An overcast morning,
so I grabbed my camera for a walk around the house.
This is some of what was in bloom:

French cooking thyme, an essential garden herb (for me).
These stock plants were rescued from a nursery.
Barely alive, they cost 25 cents, now they are thriving (yay!)
Foxglove, which neither deer nor rabbit bother, is in full bloom.
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Yellow allium flowers, a later blooming variety.
This was one of the first bulbs I planted here over 30 years ago.
It keeps coming back, no matter how much I neglect it.
One of my favorite colors of bearded iris,
this dark purple is almost black.
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Red-hot pokers start out orange then the yellow part below
grows to the top as the flower matures.
These are real hummingbird magnets!
Perennial cranesbill geraniums flower and multiply profusely.
Yellow is my early blooming color of daylily.
It is always a shot of sunshine for my disposition.


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Going, going, almost gone

There was an entire bed of artichoke flowers.
Of course, not all at once, so I was able to enjoy them for awhile.
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The outer leaves are prickly, but the inner purple part is so-o soft.
I cut and dried many of these blossoms.  The stems are quite sturdy,
thus they can dry upright.
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Last of the lilies.
These are some of my favorite summer flowers, so showy.
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I have dead-headed most of my hyssop plants, but this moth found one of the last flowers.  When the plant is in full bloom, the insects love it.
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Mexican oregano, outside my front door is part of the kitchen herb garden.
These white flowers are also, very popular with bees and moths.

The small leaves of Greek oregano are more pungent than the larger leafed Mexican variety.  I dried this type for use this winter.  Not many of the pink flowers remain.
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Springing Spring ?!

We have had glorious weather:  some rain, some clouds and some sun.
Rain alleviates any thoughts of irrigation, clouds encourage the flowers to stay around much longer than usual, and the sun,
well the sun encourages everything to bloom and grow!

The first rhodies are blooming, and my one azalea is so covered with flowers
that is all you can see of it.

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Even though I cut rhubarb flowers, it keeps putting out more of them.
At least, they are unusual looking.
Blueberry and strawberry plants are booming with flowers.  We can only hope the weather stays favorable, and the bird nets keep the pilfering in check.
Last photo above is rosemary, which I see in flower around town.
Such a sturdy and aromatic plant, how can one not love it?

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This has been one of the best tulip years I can remember.  I like to think it is because I separated some of the larger ones and planted them all around the house.  We have enjoyed tulips out of most every window.
White lilacs open their blossoms before the lavender or purple ones do.
These are my favorites, I love the sweet scent and only wish they lasted longer indoors.


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Delicate Dill

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It has taken a number of attempts to get an acceptable photo of these teeny-tiny dill flowers.  The leaves are feathery delicate and lightly aromatic.

This herb is short-lived, but easily reseeds itself.  In the photo above is a late season seedling that emerged in a bed of turnips.

I have tried to preserve the leaves by freezing, but the results were just passable.  Best used fresh, dill is delicious on a fresh (not frozen) salmon, or try it on other light-flavored fish.


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A Proliferation of Purple and Pink

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Lamb’s Ear makes a lovely ground cover and cut flower.
It can be invasive, which I control with minimal watering.
Another perk of this plant is that deer ignore it.
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Lavender looks so pretty when in bloom!
I fell in love with the view of a hillside of lavender and have been slowly moving seedlings (if you don’t deadhead lavender, it loves to go to seed) into a pattern on the downhill side of my house.
This has turned into a slow project, but one I have had fun pursuing.
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This perennial geranium is a cranesbill.  Such a funny name.
It too will reseed, and I cannot imagine deadheading these small flowers.
The baby plants are easy to discard, if you don’t want to share them with other gardeners.
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These sage flowers were tricky to photograph.  I finally discovered the perfect background was right in front of me.
This is a yearling plant that I purchased when I noticed the original was looking a little feeble.  Sure enough, this spring, only one came back to life.
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When I started flower gardening, I planted many garlic cloves in an effort to deter deer from nibbling my greenery.
Now that fences (flower jails :-))have been erected around vulnerable plantings, the garlic is not so needed.
But, they are rather pretty at this stage of life.


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Rosemary

??????????Last winter I gave away a number of babies from this Rosemary plant.
Some lower limbs had rooted in the ground as new plants.

It has also been pruned severely, and may look a little sparse.
No worries, there is now plenty of space for it to fill out with new growth this summer.
Tiny, pale blue flowers complement the pleasant aroma of the needles when the plant is stroked.  Rosemary is very tough and drought resistant, give it the sunlight it craves and it will be a reliable garden beauty.

I do dry rosemary needles to use in the kitchen through the year.  A stem laid across a piece of salmon when baking, will impart a subtle scent of this herb.


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Horehound

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I assumed that horehound would be deer-resistant because of the fuzzy leaves.  But the resident deer here did not read the same manual as I, and they nibbled away.  So this plant lives in a cage, for now.  Maybe it will get large enough someday to not need protection,

The flowers were a pleasant surprise, but they are so tiny as to be almost non-existent.  I had the camera so low to the ground, I could barely see what I was photographing.

I purchased this as a small plant start, thinking I would add to my collection of herbs, but I knew very little to nothing about it.  I have heard of old-time horehound candy, but never tasted it.  A google search was in order.  I did not find a photo with leaves as gray as my plant, so I am unsure which particular sort of horehound this is.  But I did learn it is a member of the mint family and can naturalize, so I have been forewarned.

Rue

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Rue

While Rue is technically an herb, I think a lot of folks would call it an annoyance. The leaves can irritate the skin of sensitive persons.

With such a reputation, I felt the deer and rabbits would surely leave it alone, but I was wrong. When I transplanted a number of seedlings to an un-fenced planting bed, they were decimated in short time. I do keep this plant in the back of the flower bed to minimize my own brushes with it. There is an aroma when the leaves are brushed, which is distinct, but not near as pungent as say Santolina.

Personally, I think this perennial is a very pretty plant, it does not deserve the bad rap that some gardeners give it.  Just because it has an unusual scent and perhaps bothers the skin of some persons – this is not poison oak!  I may watch myself, and not rub it all over my body, but it can have its own space. The small, delicate leaves and flowers are a strong contrast to everything else that grows around it.  It can stay in my garden.

St. John’s Wort

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St. John's Wort

This ground cover looks so cool during the month it blooms every summer. Even though the leaves are evergreen, it is pretty non-descript the rest of the year, gracefully fading into the background.

I have found this to be deer and rabbit proof, though nothing green is totally safe from hungry predators in a drought season. Again, to keep this plant from spreading where the gardener does not want it to go, one needs to stop watering it.  Tough love, garden style.  But, there is no escape from a rainy summer. The particular bank where these flowers grow on my land, can get very soggy during the rainy times, and this plant can take it.

Recently, while walking with a botanist, I noticed what she pointed out as St. John’s Wort looked nothing like what I grew at home with the same name. She informed me the medicinal herb is quite different than what is sold for a home plant. There is so much for me to learn about my plants, and others I would like to add to my collection.

Silver Thyme

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Silver Thyme

I’ve been moving starts of this plant to different places around the house. Thyme is such a sturdy plant that all the moves have been successful. This example has bi-color leaves of white and green, with spikey flowers in pale lavender.

If I wait too long before I prune this ground cover back, the leaves turn to a solid green.  I discovered that if I prune off the dead flowers, the leaves remain the beautiful bi-color as pictured above.

It will multiply naturally where a longer branch touches the ground, or send up starts on its own.  I’ve given plant starts away, and transplanted it around my house.  The deer and rabbits do not seem to bother with this herb.