susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Fun with a Fish Eye (camera lens, that is :)

I have spent an extraordinary amount of time this last month, weeding.
The flower beds are not near perfect, but have never looked so good.

Above are two views of the same flower bed.
Foreground is Shasta daisies, bearded Iris and lavenders.
Foxglove, daffodils, and iris live further back.
A couple of canna lilies are the recent additions.

There is a fence (we call it a ‘flower jail’) along the edge of the deck.
Inside live an azalea, peony, hosta, calla lilies, camellia,
tulips, tree peony, stock, rhododendron and a few others.
* * * * *

If this bed were planned before planting,
the Japanese maples would be at each end with the
contorted filbert (aka Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick
– where that name came from, must be a good story)
in the middle instead of on the left end.

Santolina, teucrium (germander), hyssop, more bearded iris (they multiply!)
with lots of Greek oregano as groundcover are the main plants here.

I had read in a novel that daylilies could hold a hillside in place,
so I planted and re-planted them behind.
California poppies are multiplying slowly, and the weeds here are prolific.
Specially after our wet winter.

Anyway – above are some views of the front & back of my yard.
You are introduced to some of what I care take.
Isn’t the fish eye lens cool?  What a view!


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Treasure Hunt

Back in Fall of 2013, I purchased a bag of pastel color tulips from a local store.  All 40 bulbs were planted under a Japanese Maple Tree, and bloomed beautifully the next spring, in April 2014. Copy of DSCN0106
* * * * *
A year later in March 2015, the flower production was not quite as spectacular.

Copy of DSCN2211 * * * * *
I am suspicious this is inherent in tulips, that they bloom less every year the bulbs stay in the ground.  Or it could be a plan by the tulip breeders, to get customers to buy fresh bulbs every year.

I decided to dig up the bulbs under this particular tree, divide them and replant in the fall.  It doesn’t seem like I have a lot to lose, especially if the flowers diminish even more next year.
So . . I went on a treasure hunt.  After hours of shoveling and sifting with my fingers through the dirt, I had over a gallon of bulbs in a bucket (about 5 liters). Copy of DSCN3445 The bulbs had definitely multiplied, but none were near as large as the original bulbs.  Next, I sorted the bulbs by size. Copy of DSCN3447 I selected the forty largest bulbs and put these aside to replant under the Japanese Maple tree.  Into another container I put fifty of the next size down bulbs.  And into another container went 100 of the next size bulbs (very close to the same size as the 50 bulbs).  Containers 4 & 5 hold 150 bulbs each, and in the last container went hundreds of very small bulbets.
If I looked at it as multiplication, I hit the jackpot by turning 40 bulbs into more than 500.  Or I could look at my ‘winnings’ from a different point of view and see a very slight increase in bulb volume.

This fall, the plan is to plant as many bulbs as I can.  I will try to note where each size goes, so I can learn if they all have a chance of blooming again. I’m wondering what is done commercially?  Do the tulip farms replant all the small bulbs?  Do the bulbs take more than one year to grow large enough to be marketed?  I hope be able to answer some of these questions next spring!