susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Spanish Bluebells

?????????? ??????????A shovel full of these bluebell bulbs were given to me over twenty years ago.
I had seen them growing at the base of an old tree, so planted mine in a similar manner.  After noticing the leaf blades had been nibbled by wildlife, I moved my remaining bulbs into a fenced area.  There they not only thrived, but multiplied profusely.  I am now inundated with bluebells.

Somewhere along the line, I acquired what I called white bluebells – it sounds like an oxymoron!  Shouldn’t they be called white bells?
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Or are they really lily-of-the-valley flowers?
Therefore, I decided it was time to look them up.  True Lily-of-the-valley flowers have significantly wider leaf blades, so I do not have those.  Surprisingly, there really are (off) white bluebells, and they are not albinos!  Online, I found many photos of bluebells that were drooping over.  My bluebell flowers are definitely erect, and I concluded they must be Spanish bluebells.  There is something similar called a Harebell, but that blooms in summertime, and is a different flower.


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Helianthus Lemon Queen, a Sunflower

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The sunflower family includes so many flowers, from giant heads to very tiny.  From short to very, very tall.  This particular example is a perennial with showy blooms just a few inches across.  Deer find them tasty, so they grow in flower jails (cages) on my property.  Some insect also finds the blossoms delicious, as the petals are very uneven and often disappear before the bloom is finished.

I purchased starters for this plant from a mail-order catalog, a rarity for me.  Years later in my flower gardening path, I found the catalog and can see how the company makes money on this and many others they offer for sale.  They multiply easily.  I have shared this plant with as many people as I can get to take it.  Though it is pretty, it can definitely take over an area.


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Rudbekia or Black-Eye Susans

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I had heard of these flowers for a long time, but this story is how I found that it was a must-grow-in-my-own-garden plant.

I am also an artist (clay is my medium), and was part of a group of artists all with the name Susan.  At the opening of our first group show, one of the Susan’s brought a bouquet of Rudbekia for display.  That was the moment I decided that I had-to-grow-them-in-my-own-garden. 

These plants multiply so freely, I can’t believe I couldn’t find anyone who wanted to part with some, so I purchased my first plant.  Now I dig up wayward starts and beg friends to take some.  They are very sturdy growers, and so are the starts I keep in small pots.  But do watch out for the deer, as they find these flowers tasty.

The coreopsis that are blooming now, are the same colors as these black-eye Susans, but are smaller flowers.  I think they look nice next to each other.  In the lower right of the photo are some flower buds before they open.  The black “eye” is peeking through baby-size yellow-orange petals.


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Orange Crocosmia

Crocosmia aCrocosmia c

My first set of bulbs for these crocosmia were given to me by one of the people who built my house over 30 years ago.  They were growing in his mother’s yard, she had passed away, and the house had just been sold.  For me, I have found that flower and plant starts, not from a nursery, can come with an interesting story.  When I see the plant in my yard, it brings back memories of where it came from and more.

These are sturdy little bulbs, that can really multiply if left undisturbed for a few years.  When I think I have dug them out from a flower bed, I see escaped bulblets growing for years to come. 

Normally my crocosmia thrive when they are protected from deer, but I have them growing in all sorts of places.  There is one unfenced bed containing crocosmia growing wild with lemon balm, on a hill away from the regular deer paths.  Bearded iris and artemisia are also on guard – 3 out of 4 plants that our deer don’t eat, seems to save the crocosmia. 

Scabiosa

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Scabiosa

When a girlfriend referred to this flower, she made it sound so common and usual, but I had never heard of it. Scabiosa is a sturdy perennial, that flowers prolifically. As long as I keep it deadheaded, it keeps on going. These flowers are a good filler in a bouquet, yet look just fine alone or in a group, in a vase.

This plant has not multiplied for me, as have so many other perennials.  I’m finally deducing it is because I keep the spent flowers removed, so they never have a chance to go to seed.  What a trade-off is needed:  to let some flowers remain on the plant to go to seed, and then it will flower no more that season.  Perhaps it is time for an experiment.

Red Poppies

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Red Poppies

No, these are not potent poppies, but you could use the seeds in baking, as in muffins. I let them reseed themselves freely in a flower bed. Now that they are multiplying beautifully, I can try to harvest the seeds and introduce them to another flower bed. Without any proof, I do believe these are not deer-resistant.

I love the fragile, papery look of the petals on this flower. The way they follow gusts of wind in the air.

Recently, on the morning weather report, where they show photographs sent in by viewers, I saw a picture of a field of red poppies. They were being grown as a commercial seed crop. Just a beautiful sea of red blossoms.

Columbine

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Columbine

I can’t remember where I got my first one from, but this plant sure does multiply. Okay, I have given it lots of help, by scattering its seeds under trees and it areas that I wanted filled in. It is interesting which places the seeds took well, and other places not at all. The flat beds have been better receptacles for these seeds than the inclined areas. For all the seeds I have scattered, I do not see that many plants. Although, I now have columbine in many areas around the land. It is also a native plant, but I believe this is a cultivated variety.

While these flowers may not look like much, you get a better view of the blossoms and buds than a photo packed with many flowers.