susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Blooms & Buds in the Dead of Winter

Between the rain and cold most flowers are dormant in this season.
It is called the ‘dead’ of winter for good reason:-)

Purple violets bloom through the winter here.
I think they don’t mind the cold, and must love the rain,
since these often sleep through the summer heat.

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Snowdrops are the first bulb to bloom in the calendar year.
This lone specimen is my only sample.
It will soon be hidden by the daffodils whose leaves are just emerging behind.

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Pink hellebore buds will open soon.

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Evergreen leaves can be susceptible to snails, I have heard.
My problem pests are voles who have eaten leaves and left me stems.
A vole is similar to a mouse, but with a shorter tail.
I catch them in mousetraps in the garage and shops.

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Summer Surprise

I found this post in my “Drafts” folder dated August 30, 2015.  It was meant to be published then.  The flower is still in the garden over a month later.  Even though the fields are brown and dry, deer have not eaten it.
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It is exciting to me, as a gardener, when a plant I was sure died over the winter, shows up in bloom later in summer.
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I am sure glad I did not mistake this emerging plant for an unwanted weed.
The teeny-tiny, one inch (2.5 cm) flower of verbena bonariensis, might be easy to miss, even though its stem is almost 3 feet (one meter) tall.
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When this plant was purchased, I was sure it was a perennial.  Not exactly.
It can return, but my winters are too cold (unless global warming keeps the mild winters around) for the plant to stay put.
It comes back by reseeding.  Wind and birds determine just where it will show up.  In fact, it can be invasive (that is a very nasty word for gardeners).
In my little corner of land, I am not concerned about it taking over, as it is barely surviving.  I wouldn’t mind seeing a small patch of these cute purple blossoms in my flower bed.


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Colorful Asters

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The original plant is this color, but the camera captures a different color than my eye sees.  I looked at a number of photos I took, and kept seeing the same hue.  In person, these flowers look more purple / blue.  I suppose there is a perfectly logical camera explanation for the color difference :-)* * * * *
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I do like this light pink color, perhaps because there are so few plants with flowers this color.  Can you see the purple asters on the far left of the photo?  The camera was fooled into showing those flowers their true color!

I am inundated with aster seedlings in the garden, since it is extremely time-consuming to dead head these plants.  New blossoms open and others die everyday, from the top of branches going down.

My latest plan is to mark the bottom of the plants with pink blooms, so I will know them after the tops have been cut off.
When they are dug up in winter, I can say decisively, what color flower comes from which plant.
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The one plant with white flowers was the last to bloom.


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Bursting Buds Update

April came in with showers, which is good for flowers to stay around.
When the sun is shining, spring flowers bloom very pretty and are done before you know it.
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This is my only bi-color rhododendron, and the first one to bloom.
With bluebells and tulips it is quite a show from my kitchen window.
What a way to greet the time of longer daylight.
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After years of being nibbled by deer, this azalea is slowly coming into its own.  I prune and thin the too-dense branches a little more every year.
As it now gets taller and more full, I find myself moving plants from the understory, so they have a chance to grow also.
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The lilacs are getting tall enough to fulfill a long-held dream:  to be able to walk on the path under a canopy of blooming flowers.
White flowers are peaking while the purple are just beginning their bloom time.


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Bursting Buds

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My rhododendrons always bloom in the same order, and this one is always first.  I so look forward to seeing the first rhody flowers.  When the blossoms open, they will be a pretty pink and white.  Those are bluebells in front and a tulip bud.  Barring anything unforeseen, I will be able to show photos soon.

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This is the only azalea here.  For some reason, the branches through the slats on the deck are blooming before the main plant.  Perhaps they get more all day sunshine.  In full bloom, the entire plant will look red.

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I got excited to see the first lilac bloom.  White-flowered shrubs bloom before the purple-flowered ones every year.  In the photo, the purple buds are very full, and the white flowers are beginning to bloom on the very top of the bush.


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Early Iris

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Early iris sure are short in stature, just like the bulb catalog claims.  It has been relatively warm and sunny for February, with the temps in the low 50 degrees F (barely over 10 degrees C).  Since the sun has come out the last couple of afternoons, the plants are basking in it.

These blooms were open in the early morning fog, while the crocus stayed closed.

Through the years I have planted so many bulbs in the ground.  Now, I have no idea what will come up where.  If I move a perennial from one location to another in a flower bed, too often, I find I have sliced bulbs with my shovel.  One time, I moved crocus bulbs to encircle perennials to solve over-crowding.  Then I intermixed some tulip bulbs with the crocus.  Now I find those, and other bulbs, showing up in interesting places.  I’ve heard of small animals, as mice and voles, moving bulbs around underground.  It seems to me, the rodents must see the bulbs as winter food to be stashed in case of need.


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Late Summer Flowers in Vases

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I wanted to share a late summer flower arrangement.  The goddess vase holds a late season foxglove, many asters, some spikey heather flowers and a few autumn joy sedum blossoms.  Sweet peas are in the mini-vase in front.

It is interesting to me that all of the flowers in this display are in the pink to purple hues.  Save some California poppies, that is what is blooming at this time.