garden ponderings


Porcelain Lilies

Besides growing flowers, I am also a clay artist and potter.
Today, I made calla lilies of colored porcelain clay.


The flowers are small, about an inch long (not including stem).

This is a new item for me, I am not sure how the colors will look after being fired in my wood-fired kiln.  I’ll show you in a month, after the firing.


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Pink Viola

This is a little plant and a very small flower.  It appears to me, to be a member of the viola family, but I am not able to determine exactly which one.  An alpine viola is my best guess.
In the upper right corner of the photo is a ‘normal’ violet leaf, which looks relatively large, but is not really.

A gardening friend warned me this cute little flower can be invasive.  So far, I still see it as a welcome addition to my haphazard flower garden.  Although, it is moving in freely, I have no objections as it fills space and can bloom through the summer.  I know I should be wary, as I spend too much time pulling out a plant I liked at first, but then became overwhelming.


Chionodoxa or Glory of the Snow

This is one of our favorite reliable bulbs here.  The leaves emerge in November or so, and give some needed greenery along the front of many flower beds until the flowers bloom in spring.  Then we get rows of beautiful light blue blossoms.
These bulbs have multiplied profusely, they have been shared and divided many times.  I love the aroma they emit when I pull weeds that try to live amongst these small plants.

Chionodoxa are lush in front of these bricks, they will be ready to divide in another year.  As these bulbs grow too thick through the years, they get divided to edge another bed.
I have read that deer and animals are supposed to ignore these plants, probably because of their scent.  The local animals have not read the same gardening book, as I always find some nibbles on the greenery.
Remembering the name of these cute little flowers, has always been a challenge for me.  A search in a catalog of spring bulbs brings it back to mind.


Early Iris

Copy of DSCN1890

Early iris sure are short in stature, just like the bulb catalog claims.  It has been relatively warm and sunny for February, with the temps in the low 50 degrees F (barely over 10 degrees C).  Since the sun has come out the last couple of afternoons, the plants are basking in it.

These blooms were open in the early morning fog, while the crocus stayed closed.

Through the years I have planted so many bulbs in the ground.  Now, I have no idea what will come up where.  If I move a perennial from one location to another in a flower bed, too often, I find I have sliced bulbs with my shovel.  One time, I moved crocus bulbs to encircle perennials to solve over-crowding.  Then I intermixed some tulip bulbs with the crocus.  Now I find those, and other bulbs, showing up in interesting places.  I’ve heard of small animals, as mice and voles, moving bulbs around underground.  It seems to me, the rodents must see the bulbs as winter food to be stashed in case of need.

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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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The flowers are really quite small, but looking at this photo, they bear a strong resemblance to Shasta and field daisies.
On the other hand, the leaves are very different. They are very fine toothed and soft, as though to invite being petted.

This perennial grows close to the ground most of the year, only gaining height when it flowers. I read that one wants to collect the flowers for chamomile tea. Will put that on my to-do list today. I remember telling my children that Peter Rabbit’s mother made him chamomile tea when he had a tummy ache. They readily agreed to try that cure when needed.

Armeria – Sea Thrift

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Armeria - Sea Thrift

These are such small flowers, about 1/2″ or 1cm across. You can see the top of the armeria clump as dark purple blades, at the bottom of the photo. Those are tulip leaves behind the flowers.

These flowers look great in a mini-vase, and will stay nice for a number of days. I haven’t tried drying these flowers – yet.

I also have a clump of this plant with white flowers, but they are just starting to bloom. The clump with white flowers, has green leaf blades, sort-of grass-like.

For me, this plant is in the front of a flower bed, note the deer fence in the foreground. I’ve tried to separate this clump to multiply it, and found it to be a challenge. Either my soil is very hard (good chance) or the clump is so dense, it is hard to shovel into two pieces.

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.

Mystery Flower


Mystery Flower

I wish I knew the name of these flowers.
They bloom very early, about the same time as crocus – except I see them in between the violets. The more recent blooms are more purple, while they fade to a paler lavender color as they age.

I thought I planted a handful of small bulbs a few years ago, now they are coming up all around a particular area. Are the small animals spreading them? Or is it the birds? Could they have gone to seed as many of my flowers do? But bulbs don’t spread by going to seed. I suppose I could dig one up to determine if they truly are bulbs. But I think I like them as they are, so they will stay and keep the violets company.