susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Rose of Sharon

A few years ago,
I asked a flower woman
what she would suggest
as a late-summer blooming shrub.
Her reply was Rose of Sharon.
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It has grown well for me
within a ‘flower jail’.
Deer nibble off any branch
that extends out of the fencing.
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This year the wind removed dead blossoms
and kept the plant looking fresh for weeks.


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Harmonious Hydrangea

Copy of DSCN3466This shrub produces more flowers every year!
How is that not to love about a plant?

There are many types of hydrangea, some are smaller, some larger.  Some get pruned to the base every year, others merely get dead-headed (dead flowers are cut off), to encourage flowering the next year.
These are hereditary differences.

As far as flower color, pink or blue, that depends on the ph environment of the soil in which the bush grows.

I wish I could figure out which type of hydrangea I have.
One of the two in my garden is pictured above.
The other has never bloomed.  I am reluctant to cut all the branches to the base, for fear none of the branches would return the next spring.
The two specimen that I have were acquired at different times from very different places, they both get a lot of sun exposure and their local ground has been enriched.
Various hydrangea could be like relatives, they are in the same family, but even siblings are different from each other.


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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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Rose of Sharon

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This is the first year this plant has bloomed for me and I really like what I see.  It was a good surprise to see the pastel pink flower color which goes perfect with the other flowers in the same bed.  The bi-color leaves were a good find for me, as they make the plant interesting not just when it is in bloom.

It was two falls ago that I spotted a large flowering shrub in a few places in town.  After asking around, I learned it was a Rose of Sharon that I had admired.  Then the search for the plant of my desire at a neighborhood nursery.  I got lucky again, and found it at a newer nursery that was not far away.

I just read up on this plant in the internet and am now aware of some of its downsides. We’ll see how I feel about it in another year, but I do think I’ll move some near-by plants a bit farther away, as this could grow quite big.


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Fuchsia

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This is a small specimen of what should grow much fuller as a perennial fuchsia shrub.  It gets the early morning sun, and is protected from some weather extremes being located next to the house foundation.  This is not the first one of these plants to get a home with me.  But this particular one has survived at least a couple of winters, so I’m thinking it could last even longer.  That is a garden goddess in the picture.

I was surprised when I learned that people like to ‘pop’ the flowers to bloom sooner.  Who thinks of these things?

Hebe

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Hebe

I learned from one of my favorite nurseries, Siskiyou Rare Plant Nursery in Talent, OR, that this is a more unusual specimen of a large family of perennial plants.  There was a full-grown example of this plant at the nursery that sold me on it.

More often one will see small leaves on more compact plants, and this shrub is an exception in that it has larger leaves growing on loose stems of 2′ – 3′ long. About the size of a silver dollar, these roundish leaves remind me more of eucalyptus than a Hebe.

The flowers are not significant, and are fleeting. At the end of the stems, grow a 6″ to 10″ length of small, pretty blue-violet flowers.

Rock Rose Petal Snow

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Rock Rose Petal Snow

This shrub was recently covered in flowers, and now the petals are falling. The ground appears to be covered with a light snowfall.

A few years ago, we moved this plant to its present location below a west-facing bedroom window. For a few days a year, you can look out the window and see a blanket of white flowers covering the entire bush.
Then the petals fall and it looks like a snowfall has come through the area in late May – an extremely unlikely event in this area.

Yes, these plants are protected by a deer fence. On the right, are day lily leaves, a month away from flowering themselves.

About a month ago, I took pruning loppers to this shrub, and cut a lot off. It has paid off already, as the stems are stronger and the flowers did not droop excessively.

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.

Sierra Current

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Sierra Current

This was acquired as a native plant. I was lucky to find a name tag at the bottom of one of the two specimens planted on the west side of the house, shaded by some getting larger redwood trees.

When I googled this plant, I learned that it will grow in zones 5 – 8, even though it is an alpine or higher altitude native. The last winter here was particularly cold, and only the hardiest of my plants survived. This one has extensive underplantings, so I wonder if that helped keep it just that touch warmer to get it through the winter.

You can see a ‘plant jail’ in the photo, that protects this from deer. Makes me wonder how this exists in the wild. Perhaps there are more plants than deer. Not like here, where the deer have few natural predators.

Rosemary

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Rosemary

It took a few tries to get a photo of these small flowers when the wind wasn’t moving them around. Most herbs wait until later in the season to flower, rosemary is the earliest that I know of.

Deer stay away from this plant, as they do most all aromatics. I love that feature in a plant while I am living here.

I’ve seen rosemary plants growing in all sorts of climates. My biggest surprise was when I saw a row of upright rosemary plants growing on a commercial side street in Las Vegas. These are very drought-resistant, and grow in various sizes from sprawling to a good-size shrub. A woman told me how she trained her rosemary plant in a round, not circle, shape using metal wire as a guide. I haven’t figured that out – yet. Give me a little more time.