susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Aster or Astor, What’s the Diff?

Variations in the spelling of American’s surnames,
leads me to wonder if these words have the same origin.
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From a discount plant at the end of summer,
this flower has become invasive here.
Okay, if I deadheaded conscientiously,
there would probably be significant number
of fewer garden additions.
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Interestingly, three colors of flowered plants have evolved.
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Obsessed – Compulsed

Gardening can be an addiction.
There is immediate gratification in a freshly weeded bed.
Waiting for seedlings to emerge, then watching them grow can be an exercise in patience.
The expectation of seeing flowers bloom in a regular succession satisfies a need for order in the universe.

I have been caught up in bringing order to my gardens.  It brings peace and contentment to my life.  In the meantime, the colorful show of spring flowers is slipping by.  The blossoms have encouraged my madness, as I try to whip the yard into shape before the rains end and weeds are cemented into the hard ground.

Gardening is also a learning process, not an end product.  I have sympathy for those who feel they must purchase a finished garden, and do not get to endure the trials and tribulations of the learn-by-the-seat-of-their-pants, passionate dirt person.

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Foxglove can be found in the wilds, but I brought it to my gardens on purpose.
They are so easy to care for and flower prolifically.  But … they can be invasive.  Darn 🙂
I actually transplanted many (over 100) to the not-irrigated, outlying areas.  Not realizing how many little ones I left behind in the more carefully tended beds.
Yesterday, I noticed a few stalks that deer had carefully de-flowered.  Although the wildlife will clear-cut tulips and roses as though they were chocolate, they merely prune a few foxglove.  Unfortunately, I will have to dead-head soon, and again, and again to curtail millions more unwanted seedlings.

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I finally found the dirt in the foreground of these beds, while the weeds still proliferate in the back.  Perhaps people who ready-order landscaping are not so stupid after all.  Maybe it is me who insists on doing things the slow way.  Lucky for me, rainy days are still here, and the ground is still soft enough to pull unwanted plants.


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Wildflower Show

For over 50 years the tiny community of Glide, Oregon, has hosted an annual wildflower show.  Presented by a committee of volunteers I was amazed when I first saw it.
I have been fortunate to help collect specimens for 3 years, and my knowledge of the wildflowers has grown exponentially.  I’m starting to recognize and remember some of the Latin and many common names, also!

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Plants are arranged in families on the tables, in order of evolutionary development of the plant’s reproductive structures.  Who’da thought of such an organizational system?
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Such a large and unusual flower, I wanted to share it.
From the map, I can tell that it is found in the higher mountains.
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We found these pinks in a small meadow, off the beaten track at a county park.
My collecting partner knew where to look.
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These azaleas smelled heavenly.
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Such pretty little flowers.  The name would make a cool title for a book, wouldn’t it?
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I’ve been pulling this out of my flower garden for a long time.  Now that I know its name, and that it is an official wildflower, I can no longer treat it so rudely.
Notwithstanding the strange common name, it is not unattractive and does not seem to be invasive, so some can stay.
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Isn’t this one of the strangest ‘flowers’ you have ever seen?
A friend had emailed me a photo of this ground cone, they had seen while bird-watching in Northern California.  She asked me to find its name.  I joked to her that it might just be an odd looking mushroom.  But now, we have both learned it is a real plant.
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These leaves (which come in different sizes) have little flowers growing up on the leaf, opposite side of the stem.  Now, I notice this on my property.
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I know equisetum because of its use on pots when high-firing.  It is high in silica & calcium, which are common glaze ingredients.
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For those who stuck with me through this longer than usual post, thank you.
You can feel my enthusiasm.


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Summer Surprise

I found this post in my “Drafts” folder dated August 30, 2015.  It was meant to be published then.  The flower is still in the garden over a month later.  Even though the fields are brown and dry, deer have not eaten it.
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It is exciting to me, as a gardener, when a plant I was sure died over the winter, shows up in bloom later in summer.
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I am sure glad I did not mistake this emerging plant for an unwanted weed.
The teeny-tiny, one inch (2.5 cm) flower of verbena bonariensis, might be easy to miss, even though its stem is almost 3 feet (one meter) tall.
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When this plant was purchased, I was sure it was a perennial.  Not exactly.
It can return, but my winters are too cold (unless global warming keeps the mild winters around) for the plant to stay put.
It comes back by reseeding.  Wind and birds determine just where it will show up.  In fact, it can be invasive (that is a very nasty word for gardeners).
In my little corner of land, I am not concerned about it taking over, as it is barely surviving.  I wouldn’t mind seeing a small patch of these cute purple blossoms in my flower bed.


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Black-Eye Susans – Rudbeckia

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While these flowers are not named after me, I like to think they are 😉
Of course, I had to have some in my garden.

Actually, they are quite welcome, since they bloom later in summer and are drought-resistant.  On the down side they do not respect boundaries, and spread easily.  The wandering roots can be a plus if one is trying to fill space in a flower bed, but they just do not know when to stop!

I wish they were deer-resistant, also.
Hey, this is what I can try:  in winter (the rainy season) I will move the invasive individuals outside of a protected area to the hinterlands (what I call the further edges of my yard).  This way I can learn for myself whether local deer find rudbeckia irresistible, somewhat tasty or just leave it alone.
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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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Green Flowers?!

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From what I can determine this specimen is in the papyrus family.
It does re-seed itself, but not on an invasive level.  This medium-small plant can take lots of sun, looks unusual in the garden and I like it!
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On the other hand, this plant has shown itself to be invasive.
My plan this year, is to prune off all the ‘flowers’ so it cannot reseed itself.
I believe it is a sea holly, but, to me, it resembles a thistle.
On a positive note, the deer are not remotely interested in this greenery.