garden ponderings


Artemisia – Wormwood


This is such a cool looking plant!  When I bought it at the nursery, I was looking for deer-resistant plants, and this seemed to have all the attributes.  It has silvery, fuzzy leaves and a scent that is supposed to discourage predators.  Well, the deer do keep this pruned, but it has more than survived.

Artemisia anchors a minor deer path just outside one of my fenced garden areas.  Does it sound funny to say a ‘minor’ deer path?  From experience, I’ve learned that deer, like many other herd-type animals, tend to walk along the same paths.  They have ‘major’ byways where the ground is stamped down strongly.  Then there are the ‘minor’, side roads which get used less often, but are pronounced.  Deer are browsers, or grazers, which means they nibble as they walk.  I believe this is a defense mechanism that makes them less vulnerable to attacks from predators.  Unless, of course, they find a banquet they cannot pass up.  But, I’m getting very sidetracked by talking about the deer and not the plant.  Where I live, they are very intertwined.

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?????????? aster with visitors ??????????

The first aster plant I bought, the purple flowered one in the first photo, looked a little sad in the discount section of one of my favorite nurseries, Down to Earth in Eugene, Oregon.  A birthday present to myself.  I would give it a good home and bring it back to life. 

How little I knew at that time.  It seems these are very sturdy plants, as long as I keep them from the deer, and give them enough water.  Oh, yes, and they like to multiply.  So I moved the new plants around to different places in the garden.  Flowers of the off-spring apparently do not have to be the same color as their parents, as I now have a variety of colors of asters growing.  I have not seen the white flowered plant yet this year, but it may be still to come.

In the second picture you can see a moth and a bee appreciating the blossoms.  I am careful as I walk among these flowers, as I know the bees and wasps can be easily agitated as the season wears on. 

These make great cut flowers, and will keep on blooming if the stems are not cut too short. 

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Hyssop or Germander


I believe this is a Hyssop, but it sure looks a lot like a Germander.  One time I asked one of my favorite nurseries, Down to Earth in Eugene, Oregon, and they looked it up on the internet, and still it was hard to be decisive.  The final conclusion was that it was Hyssop, but only by a nose.

Bumblebees, the ones with yellow stripes across their black bodies, just love these flowers.  The bees never bother me, they know what they are interested in. 

These perennials are so easy to grow.  When I remember to cut them back in the dormant season, they come back so strong the next summer.  The cut flowers make a beautiful addition to flower arrangements.  If you wait until late winter or spring to prune this plant, you give some time for the spent flowers to go to seed.  The baby plants are so sturdy and reliable, they are worth the wait to watch them grow.


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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.

White Ground Rose

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White Ground Rose

What a find this plant was. While driving in Northern California through Mount Shasta, we stopped in the north part of the town at the city park with the headwaters of the Sacramento River springing from a rock. As one turns off the highway towards the park, there is an excellent plant nursery, where I have found plants suited to the extreme local weather. What survives there, can survive the coldest winter or hottest summer in Douglas County, OR.

This was purchased as a ground rose, whatever that means. This is a very sturdy, disease-resistant, prolific flower-producing shrub. I cut it back liberally after each mass of blooms, then it reblooms and gets larger. The deer keep it pruned on one side as it is next to one of the “flower jails”. The blossoms look beautiful in one of the small, 2″ – 3″ high porcelain mini vases I have made.