susansflowers

garden ponderings


Leave a comment

Belladonna or Naked Lady Amaryllis

??????????Copy of DSCN1127??????????

When I first saw the Naked Lady blossoms, I was very surprised that a flower could bloom without any leaves.  Then I learned the leaves emerged back in the springtime, and the flowers much later in the summer.  How strange.

Later a friend showed me a flower that grew in his garden that was named after his mother, Donna.   I thought is was cool that a grown man would love his mother so much, he wanted to have flowers that reminded him of her after she was gone.  He had many of these flowers growing and offered to share some bulbs.

I did not plant my samples wisely and am pleasantly surprised that one survived.  It really does need  a better location, then it would have a better chance to multiply.

My pictures show the flower emerging from the ground, the first bloom, then more on the same stem.  What a treat!  The helianthus are crowding this beauty and need to be thinned.   Another garden project for after the rains soften the ground.


1 Comment

Rose of Sharon

?????????? ??????????

This is the first year this plant has bloomed for me and I really like what I see.  It was a good surprise to see the pastel pink flower color which goes perfect with the other flowers in the same bed.  The bi-color leaves were a good find for me, as they make the plant interesting not just when it is in bloom.

It was two falls ago that I spotted a large flowering shrub in a few places in town.  After asking around, I learned it was a Rose of Sharon that I had admired.  Then the search for the plant of my desire at a neighborhood nursery.  I got lucky again, and found it at a newer nursery that was not far away.

I just read up on this plant in the internet and am now aware of some of its downsides. We’ll see how I feel about it in another year, but I do think I’ll move some near-by plants a bit farther away, as this could grow quite big.


Leave a comment

Rose Campion or Lychnis

?????????? ??????????

Okay, it is late in the season to highlight these flowers, but I saw a bloom just today in a shaded area next to a deck.  I’ve had the pink variety for awhile, and coveted the white one in a friend’s garden.  She generously shared with me, but warned that it easily reseeds itself.  I’m wondering if someday I might get flowers in a paler pink or a bi-color as the plants may intermingle.

I have moved some baby plants to un-caged areas that are not protected from deer.  The fuzzy grey leaves give me hope they can survive.  One season into this experiment, the results are ‘so far, so good’.  Which means that I trust the deer as long as I can see them.  Or until a very dry autumn has passed.  When they get very hungry, most everything is at risk.

These flowers look real pretty in a mini-vase and in the garden.  I so love low maintenance perennials.


1 Comment

Horehound

??????????

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.


Leave a comment

Queen Anne’s Lace – weed or not?

??????????

We have too many of this plant living on our land.  It is a weed as far as I am concerned.  Those pretty white flowers close up as they ripen their seed heads (in the upper middle of the photo is a spent flower with seeds developing).  Then the seeds are dispersed – I think by clamping onto socks, shoelaces or anything fibrous.  I have picked so many of these seeds out of footwear, it can make me scream!  Honestly, I seriously consider the value of the socks or whatever the clothes item is, when I decide whether to throw it out or start the tedious de-seeding process.

The leaves of Queen Anne’s Lace do resemble carrot leaves, and the scent or both is very similar when digging the roots out.  They must be botanical cousins of some sort.

I wonder what people were thinking when the name of this flower evolved?  It seems like they did not like their Queen Anne at all!

Wild Himalayan Blackberry

Leave a comment

Wild Himalayan Blackberry

I like this picture as you can see the developing berries as well as the delicate flowers. Not only the stems, but the leaves, and even the backs of the leaves, have a multitude of thorns. Anyone who has gone berry-picking quickly learns how to pick these delicacies without getting too bloody in the process.

Some berry-picking hints, gleaned from experience (the best teacher):
1 – Go early in the morning, so you can wear long pants and long sleeves without cooking yourself in the summer heat.
2 – Bring clippers to be able to cut a path to a desirable clump of berries.
3 – Have plenty of clean buckets for the picked berries. If you are picking berries to be cooked into pie or jelly, for example, as big as a 5-gallon bucket is fine. If you want to freeze or eat individual berries, a smaller size bucket is preferable, so as not to crush the bottom layers.
4 – Avoid berries on a roadside where they have accumulated car exhaust. Along a stream is a much better location for picking.

Although locals love these tasty berries, the plant is an invasive in the state of Oregon. It was brought here in the mid-1800’s to help prevent stream erosion, after the local beaver population was decimated. (Oh, the tales that history can tell…)

Do know that you are competing with the local wildlife population, including birds, deer and bears, for your juicy berries?

Rue

1 Comment

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.

Santolina in Bloom

Leave a comment

Santolina in Bloom

Yesterday, I pruned the flowering plants back, so they are not so large or plush anymore.  In my second entry in this blog, I showed a photo of this plant in January.  I thought it was pretty then, as so few plants have color in the winter. I like this perennial all year long, with or without flowers.  Although the flowers are profuse, they are very small.  It may not be known for its flowers, as the foliage is quite unusual: first of all, it is not green, but a sort of gray-green color; it sports thin, fine ‘leaves’, that emit a strong scent when brushed against.  I rather like the aroma, though some may find it too pungent and be put off by it.

The original plant was never pruned, and grew to cover a large area, about 10 feet square.  After a severe, unusual winter freeze (below freezing for 4 days in a row), a lot of the mother plant died out.  When I removed the dead plant material, what remained was a number of small plants.  I pruned and transplanted these around the house, and nursed them back to health.  Now, I notice that if I keep the mother plant pruned, it does not make more plants.  It appears the baby plants come from stems that root themselves in the ground.

Silver Thyme

Leave a comment

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.

Hebe

Leave a comment

Hebe

I learned from one of my favorite nurseries, Siskiyou Rare Plant Nursery in Talent, OR, that this is a more unusual specimen of a large family of perennial plants.  There was a full-grown example of this plant at the nursery that sold me on it.

More often one will see small leaves on more compact plants, and this shrub is an exception in that it has larger leaves growing on loose stems of 2′ – 3′ long. About the size of a silver dollar, these roundish leaves remind me more of eucalyptus than a Hebe.

The flowers are not significant, and are fleeting. At the end of the stems, grow a 6″ to 10″ length of small, pretty blue-violet flowers.