susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Autumn Joy – Sedum – Turtle Vase

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These snapshots show the progressive change of color of this outstanding landscape plant.  (I see the photos are posted in reverse order.)  While many sedums are groundcovers, Autumn Joy easily grows to 18 inches tall.  The above pictures cover the gradual darkening of this plant’s flowers.  They were taken over the course of a month, and the flowers will keep on getting darker for another few weeks.

I recently saw a line of about 20 barrels of these flowers decorating the entry to Maryhill Winery in Washington State on the Columbia Gorge.  They were still in the early stage of color development, and would look handsome for another month or so.

The bud in the Turtle Vase is still in the early stages of color change, as the stem was nipped by deer, earlier in its development.  (If you look close, you can see the darkening of the stem cut near the top flower.)  My plant is next to a fence, and the natives keep it pruned.

This porcelain vase is made by me in my ‘other life’.  A turtle is carved into the opening, and the piece was fired in my wood and gas fueled kiln.  The orange-peel texture seen on the vase shoulders is from soda introduced into the kiln near the end of the firing.


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Oregano, Mexican and Greek

Oregano, GreekOregano, Mexican

While both of these oregano plants look similar in the photos they have big differences.  The first photo is Greek oregano, which is low growing like a groundcover.  When Mexican oregano comes into bloom, the flower stems shoot up over a foot high.  While various bees like lavender and germander flowers, moths are especially attracted to the Mexican oregano.  I remember catching these moths when I was a kid (it is not hard to pinch the wings together when they are fully open).

In the culinary field, low-growing Greek oregano seems to me to have a stronger aroma and potency.  I recently acquired a small Italian oregano plant, that has yet to flower.  Have not yet done a taste comparison with the three varieties of oregano either.

I like using all of the oregano plants in the landscape, as they have some strong assets, besides their good looks.  They are deer and drought resistant.  The flowers are a pretty addition to a summer bouquet, but not over-powering in their scent.  While the Greek oregano flowers are good for very small vases, the Mexican variety is a nice accent for mid-size flower arrangements.