susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Moving Day for Foxglove, Lamb’s Ear & Lavender

Shastas, lambs ear, lavender ??????????

Today was a sunny fall day, the ground has been thoroughly moistened by rain, but it is still firm to walk on.  A perfect day for transplanting.

First off, I moved some Lambs Ear a great, drought-resistant ground cover.   Next, I put some Lavender plants in to complete a row along side the driveway.  In the lower right of the first photo, you can see a slim transplanted Lavender.  This particular bed now has Lavender, then Lambs Ear, then Shasta Daisies, and on the outside are Irises.  All of these plants are deer-resistant, thus there is no fence around them.  An Oregon Grape shrub (not pictured) in the middle, is deer fenced, even though it is supposedly deer-resistant.  My plan is to keep the Oregon Grape fenced until it is tall enough to withstand the deer nibbling.

Now to the Foxglove.  There was one plant within the deer fence and on irrigation.  It put out an enormous amount of babies.  I counted planting 76 of them.  While I dug the Foxglove from within the deer fenced flower bed, I also dug up a number of Asters that had grown up in places I did not want them.  Many of the rooted Aster starts are now in small pots to give away, but I cannot begin to keep up with them.  The Foxglove was planted along the outside of a fenced flower bed.  The second photo shows a few Foxgloves (I count eight) as they were planted.  There are at least five plantings similar to this, besides other individual plantings. They should look very nice from the front deck by next summer.  I am now learning to keep my flowers deadheaded to prevent an over abundance of progeny.  Should I call it birth-control for perennials?

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Artemisia – Wormwood

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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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Horehound

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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.


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Agastache – Hyssop

Copy of Agastache - purple Copy of Agastache c

I know that Agastache is a cousin to Hyssop, but cannot tell you how they are alike.  (yet!)  I have two of these growing in separate areas, and have killed at least that many others.  Supposedly the deer do not like these plants, but my experience tells me otherwise.  They may not be as delectable as roses or tulips, but they are not on the hated food list either.

The agastache I am growing now, are definitely babied.  They both have a small fence around them to keep marauding varmits at bay.  My long-term goal is to get them large enough to be able to survive on their own.  At which point only one fence will be removed a year – I will take few chances on these supposedly sturdy perennials.

I like the looks of these flowers a lot, and look forward to including them in cut bouquets as the plants grow and flower more.  In the meantime, they are beautifully, distinctive plants in the landscape.


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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.


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Shasta Daisies

Copy of DSCN0868

Shasta Daisies ring half of the flower garden area around my house.  Because the deer do not bother these flowers.  Usually deer-resistant plants are fuzzy, aromatic or gray-leaved, and Shasta Daisies have none of these features, so I have not figured out why the deer avoid them.  Another benefit to growing these daisies is they are drought-resistant.  Not quite like a cactus, but definitely do not need pampering.

I am including a photo of an arrangement of Shasta Daisies with accents of sprigs of lavender.  As the daisy flowers are coming into full bloom, the lavenders are starting to fade.  Thus a natural bouquet is so much a matter of timing. 

The flowers are standing in a Goddess Vase that I made.  Do you see the female figure in the pottery vase?  They are modeled on archaeological figurines that have been found throughout Southern and Eastern Europe, around Iberia to Scotland, and dated 20,000 to 30,000 years ago.  The original sculptures were usually small, with no head, just a torso.  They are often full-figured.  It is speculated the pregnant female body was being honored, as that ensured the future of humans.  This was long before the advent of agriculture, which emerged around 10,000 years ago.


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Lavender

DSCN0798 Lavender pastel

I have two colors of lavender plants the darker purple and lighter lavender.  Through the years, the baby plants have taken on both colors and are now mostly a nice medium purple.

A couple of years ago, we ate lunch at the restaurant at King Estate Winery in Oregon.  The view included beautiful lavender beds.  I have seen fields of lavender, but they are just fields; where the King Estate lavender were artistically arranged.  With inspiration like that, I wanted to make my own lavender beds to enjoy from my front deck.  It has turned out to be a bit of work, and will take a few years before the baby plants I moved around to mature.  I’m sure it will be worth the wait.

Besides their beauty and delicious scent, I love that lavender is deer- and drought- resistant.  And the aroma!  Just a brush against the plant emits a heavenly smell.