susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Winners and Losers

I consider myself and the plant ‘winners’ when it comes back to life in the spring, once it has gone totally dormant over the winter.

Photo on the left is a hardy fuchsia, and on the left of that plant is a Bella Donna amaryllis, where the leaves die back, then its flowers emerge in mid-summer.

The next photo is a Russian Sage that I just had to have last year, and I was concerned it might not like its new home enough to leaf out again this spring.
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My friend Terry gave me a shovel-full of an old yellow rose that grows on her land.  It stayed in a bucket all winter, and I forgot about it.  This spring, a great surprise was when I noticed green leaves on a stem, and new growth at the base of the plant.  It now has three stems growing from the ground!

Last is Agastache, also called Giant Hyssop.  For a long time I confused this plant with Germander, whose flowers can look similar, but they are different plants.  I thought I killed this plant a few times, and bought another one.  Now I have a couple that are established, and will look forward to blue flowers in summer.

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Now, the losers.  Why don’t they love me enough to stay around?  Did I treat them so bad?  Lady’s Mantle has thrived for about 3 years.  It even had a baby that I moved to a new home on the other side of the house.  Neither one came back this year, and it was a particularly mild winter.  Oriental Poppy and Horehound have been here just a year, but looked like they liked their locations.  The poppy flowered until late summer, so I had high hopes for it.  English Stock was faltering last year, so it is no surprise it did not survive.

Our greatest disappointment is a huge Sugar Maple tree.  It was one of the first trees we planted over thirty years ago.  We watched red-headed woodpeckers pecking away for bugs, and a resident grey squirrel spent many hours scampering about the branches.  It is close to the last tree to bud out, but a Sweet Gum Maple is in bud now, and this tree is always the last to lose its leaves and the last to get them back in the spring.  I’ve been in denial that the sugar maple is dead, perhaps it tree really needed a colder winter for good health.


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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.