garden ponderings

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Springing Fast

The rain stopped and the sun came out.
Many flowers are going through their short lives quickly.
Camellia blossoms are always beautiful,
but short-lived.
It is a good thing the glossy leaves stay green all year.
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This azalea bush will be covered in red
at peak bloom.
The deck is scheduled to be repaired this summer,
I am afraid I will have to prune this plant severely:(
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Reliably, this is the first rhododendron
to flower every year.
When I took this photo yesterday morning,
there was only one other open bud.
This afternoon, half the plant was abloom.
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Blue Bells, Cockle Shells . . .
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Bleeding heart is a newer addition to my garden.
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Sweet woodruff is one of my favorite groundcovers.
Besides the delicate flowers, the leaves are evergreen.


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Changeable Weather

We had a few days of record heat, then rain, and cooler.  The plants are dealing with this variable weather better than I am.  At least I don’t have to water anything myself!

New flowers are blooming nearly every day.
So much to do, and only so many hours of agreeable weather.

Not a lot of blossoms on this tree peony, so I savor every one.
These photos are of the same flower, on the same day.   They open fast in the sunshine.
I did cut a couple of these flowers, just as they began to open.
They are hanging in a closet, clothes-pinned upside-down from a hanger.
If my experiment works, I’ll have some peonies all summer – or maybe even longer!
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Lots of white Dutch iris, I like these a lot.
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Rhododendron flowers open in the same order every year.
These are some earlier bloomers.* * * * *
Weigela is an old-time shrub, and new to my garden.
This particular spot can get very wet during rainy season, and I’ve lost a few plants here.
Upon investigation, I determined that this is a prime candidate to like this location.
It sure looks good now, I do hope it stays around.

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Springing Spring ?!

We have had glorious weather:  some rain, some clouds and some sun.
Rain alleviates any thoughts of irrigation, clouds encourage the flowers to stay around much longer than usual, and the sun,
well the sun encourages everything to bloom and grow!

The first rhodies are blooming, and my one azalea is so covered with flowers
that is all you can see of it.

* * * * *

Even though I cut rhubarb flowers, it keeps putting out more of them.
At least, they are unusual looking.
Blueberry and strawberry plants are booming with flowers.  We can only hope the weather stays favorable, and the bird nets keep the pilfering in check.
Last photo above is rosemary, which I see in flower around town.
Such a sturdy and aromatic plant, how can one not love it?

* * * * *

This has been one of the best tulip years I can remember.  I like to think it is because I separated some of the larger ones and planted them all around the house.  We have enjoyed tulips out of most every window.
White lilacs open their blossoms before the lavender or purple ones do.
These are my favorites, I love the sweet scent and only wish they lasted longer indoors.

A Tale of Two Rhodies

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These lavender and purple rhododendrons are the same age, but grew up differently. (Describing plants can be so similar to describing people, sometimes.) They both have their stories.

One year, the lavender rhodie, was photographed by my mother-in-law every day for a week as she watched the blossoms open. I’m thinking it was her last visit here, she was in her mid-eighties at the time. Every morning she would go out and examine the wonder of flowers slowly opening, and take a picture with her little camera. She would get so excited, and later savored her photos after they were developed (this was before digital cameras and instant pictures).

The little purple rhodie on the right was one of the favorite nap spots for our old family dog. From when the plant was little, Rascal would wallow in the dirt, and make his bed there. Many times I tried to pry him from there or lure him into another spot, but no success. The soil there was cool and the area shady in summer afternoons. After he went to doggie heaven, I got more into gardening and have been working to revive this plant ever since.

White Iris

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White Iris

I took some of these to my art show last weekend. Some of the buds had yet to open, and they ended up looking good for an extra day. There was some discussion about whether these were Siberian or Japanese Iris, as I know they are not Bearded Iris by the greenery.

In this photo those are pink Rhododendrons in the background. The rhodies bloom in the same order every year, over an extended period of time. Same do the iris and a number of other flowers. In this case, the white iris bloom before the other colors, which include white and purple.

These flowers look exceptionally beautiful in a vase. Soon enough I will include photos of the flowers I grow, in vases I have made. Just another thing to arrange for…. I’m really not complaining, just trying to stay organized.

Pink Rhododendron

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Pink Rhododendron

This is a very old plant that my elderly neighbor brought over after his mother passed in the mid-eighties. It has a perfect location, protected from the afternoon sun, in a narrow bed between a walkway and a deck. Every few years, I prune a branch to keep it from breaking off when I walk by on the stepping stones. This photo caught a branch-full of flowers at their peak.

Sweet Woodruff

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Sweet Woodruff

I planted a small container of this under a rhododendron many years ago, and it has spread. It is now under a couple of rhodies and an azalea. There are not a lot of shady areas in my yard, and while this has spread nicely, there isn’t much more space for it to go to. Unless it will displace violets. Time will tell which ground cover will dominate in the long run.

Pink and White Rhododendron

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Pink and White Rhododendron

This is always the first of my rhodies to bloom. The leaves used to be bi-color also, but they are now ‘just’ green. It is not a large bush, so I’m not sure if it is because this is how big it will grow, or that the soil it is in, is hardly optimum.

The rhododendrons I have seen growing in the forests are taller, but sparse. I don’t think the soil there is especially great once you get past the thin top soil.

Rhodies I have seen grown in parks in the Northwest are often heavily pruned. Is it to get more height on the plant? I don’t know. But I am slowly working more soil amendments around my rhodies, to give them a boost. They are also fed annually. Tulips and/or hyacinths are planted around the base of my rhodies. I get a longer time of spring blooms this way. I’ve also, pruned the bottom of my rhodies as they grow taller, this way I can see the ground cover plants better.