susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Almost Winter Solstice

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We’ve had a night or two where the temps dipped below freezing,
so I was surprised to see this rose (fighting for its life)!

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What do these bergenia think?
It is not spring!

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The violets are steady bloomers in the worst weather.
Some things are just hard to figure out.

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Last Gasp?

We’ve had a lot of rain, all the plants are sodden and drenched.

I was surprised to see from my kitchen window, a rose bush in bloom.
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Yes, it looked better at a distance.
A flower at this time of year, still makes my heart happy.
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A bit of sunshine on a rainy day.

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I had not realized just how hardy hydrangea flowers are.
This particular blossom is not showing signs of age.
I believe it is because temperatures are now cooler than in summer.
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Arabis and Rudbeckia are showing themselves not as rain-hardy as some other plants.


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Late Winter Blooms

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We’ve had rain and cold with very few hours of sun here and there.
This weather is making hyacinths slow to fully open, also the daffodils.
On the other hand, it is truly violets favorite weather, as they are thriving.

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Pale lavender windflowers, anemone blanda, growing at the base of a rose bush.
These flowers spread easily, and compliment the purple violets.

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Spinach planted last summer is now flowering.
The flowers look prettier than the leaves tasted.
I will try a spring or fall planting next try, the summer planting was strong tasting!


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Winners and Losers

I consider myself and the plant ‘winners’ when it comes back to life in the spring, once it has gone totally dormant over the winter.

Photo on the left is a hardy fuchsia, and on the left of that plant is a Bella Donna amaryllis, where the leaves die back, then its flowers emerge in mid-summer.

The next photo is a Russian Sage that I just had to have last year, and I was concerned it might not like its new home enough to leaf out again this spring.
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My friend Terry gave me a shovel-full of an old yellow rose that grows on her land.  It stayed in a bucket all winter, and I forgot about it.  This spring, a great surprise was when I noticed green leaves on a stem, and new growth at the base of the plant.  It now has three stems growing from the ground!

Last is Agastache, also called Giant Hyssop.  For a long time I confused this plant with Germander, whose flowers can look similar, but they are different plants.  I thought I killed this plant a few times, and bought another one.  Now I have a couple that are established, and will look forward to blue flowers in summer.

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Now, the losers.  Why don’t they love me enough to stay around?  Did I treat them so bad?  Lady’s Mantle has thrived for about 3 years.  It even had a baby that I moved to a new home on the other side of the house.  Neither one came back this year, and it was a particularly mild winter.  Oriental Poppy and Horehound have been here just a year, but looked like they liked their locations.  The poppy flowered until late summer, so I had high hopes for it.  English Stock was faltering last year, so it is no surprise it did not survive.

Our greatest disappointment is a huge Sugar Maple tree.  It was one of the first trees we planted over thirty years ago.  We watched red-headed woodpeckers pecking away for bugs, and a resident grey squirrel spent many hours scampering about the branches.  It is close to the last tree to bud out, but a Sweet Gum Maple is in bud now, and this tree is always the last to lose its leaves and the last to get them back in the spring.  I’ve been in denial that the sugar maple is dead, perhaps it tree really needed a colder winter for good health.


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Pineapple Express

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Most often, our winter weather comes from Alaska in the north, which brings the cold and wet.  When unusually warm weather comes from Hawaii, far to the southwest, this late in the year, it is called a “pineapple express”.  We have had particularly warm weather most of this fall.  There was a brief freeze a month ago, but no extended hard cold, which would be more common at this time of year.  The grass is green and growing, the weeds are filling in everywhere they can.

This rose is trying hard to bloom.  It might have better luck, but we’ve had quite a bit of rain lately.  The most recent forecast is a diminished chance of rain for a few more days, so the rose still has a chance to open.


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November Rose

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With camera in hand, I was looking at the changing colors of leaves on small and large plants.  This miniature rose is so small, I mostly check to see if it is still alive.  I was very surprised to see a flower – in November!

There are still some large rose bushes blooming in town, but my home and gardens are ten miles away in the hills, at much cooler temperatures.  My larger rose bushes are long dormant and I do not expect to see any new growth until spring.

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A lot of rain was in the weather forecast, so as the sky clouded up, I cut my solitary tiny rose and put it in a vase.  To keep things in perspective, this hand-blown glass vase is 1.5″ or 4cm tall.  Or should I say it is 4cm short?

It was a very cold day, and the house was relatively so much warmer, that I wondered how my flower would fare.  Even the north-facing kitchen windowsill was not agreeable enough.  By morning, the flower was about spent.

I have run into this before, when I tried to bring a flower from this particular plant to the indoors.  There must be something in its genetic makeup that is conditioned to cooler weather.