susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Asides . . .

Sometimes a thought or a photo strikes me.
Not enough for a full blog, but sticks in my head.
I think, wonder and philosophize.  So much to ponder in nature.
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Secondary Colors

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Purple (foxglove), orange (California poppies) and green (leaves) are secondary colors, they are painting mixtures of the primary colors of blue, yellow and red.

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How do you photograph the scent of a particularly aromatic flower?
You cannot.
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Plant and nursery catalogs, as well as winemakers,
go to great lengths to describe the smell and taste of their product.
But words can never do justice to what the nose senses and our brain feels.
Aromatics also stir memories, positive and negative.
While the lilies pictured above may bring fond memories and smiles,
Rue, pictured below, would probably more often bring on negative thoughts.
Thus, it is aptly named!
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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.

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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?

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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.


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Park Guell by Gaudi in Barcelona

Where to start?  Gaudi was such an amazing architect, and his park/gardens do not fail to amaze.

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There is a free admittance and a pay admittance area, needless to say, we saw this in the free section.  People had felt impelled to carve into cactus and we also saw the same vandalism on some wide aloe-type fronds.  But only at the entrance, the rest of the park was saved from such defacement.

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As we walked into the park, the aroma was almost overpowering.  Perhaps it was the direction of the air.  Are these gardenias?  That is my guess.  They are too tropical to live in my home climate, so they are a novelty to me.  I sure loved the scent.

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A wall of tiles, I liked the proximity of real flowers to the images.

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The lizard and calla lilies are just above the trickling spring with ferns and flowers, as one walks up a stairway.
Many tourist cards display the infamous, brightly-tiled chameleon.  Calla lilies are planted to show in a ring sculpture above him.  Below the lizard, a small spring and pond are planted with yellow Dutch iris and calla lilies, along with some ferns.

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Our last views before leaving these magnificent gardens were of banks of various flowers.  Day lilies and lavender I recognized, but these purple spiky flowers are foreign to me.

I have shared some photos of flowers from this amazing park, another UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is really famous for the architecture, which is most unusual and well worth a visit.


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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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Scented Lily

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Of course you cannot smell the delicate, delicious scent of this lily, but it is definitely there.  When investigating the last lily of the season to bloom, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it is scented.

Over the years I have purchased lily bulbs from a booth at a local Home Show in the early spring.  Short and tall, mixed colors, whatever I could get a deal on, I bought.  Next, I had to find a place to plant my great finds, someplace I had not planted other bulbs.  Then i would promptly forget about them until they surfaced later in the year.  I am slowly rediscovering and savoring my finds.  The shortest lilies are too easy to lose in the garden, and I would not buy them again.  But any of the others, I totally LOVE!  

Because I can enjoy these flowers where they are planted, I have never cut my lilies for indoor bouquets.  Someday, I will take a chance on a lily bloom in a hand-made vase.

 


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Queen Anne’s Lace – weed or not?

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We have too many of this plant living on our land.  It is a weed as far as I am concerned.  Those pretty white flowers close up as they ripen their seed heads (in the upper middle of the photo is a spent flower with seeds developing).  Then the seeds are dispersed – I think by clamping onto socks, shoelaces or anything fibrous.  I have picked so many of these seeds out of footwear, it can make me scream!  Honestly, I seriously consider the value of the socks or whatever the clothes item is, when I decide whether to throw it out or start the tedious de-seeding process.

The leaves of Queen Anne’s Lace do resemble carrot leaves, and the scent or both is very similar when digging the roots out.  They must be botanical cousins of some sort.

I wonder what people were thinking when the name of this flower evolved?  It seems like they did not like their Queen Anne at all!


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Lavender

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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.