susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Chionodoxa or Glory of the Snow

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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.
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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.

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Yellow Succulent Flowers

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Yellow Succulent Flowers

I have a half dozen succulent plants along the front border of a long bed next to the driveway. Sure do wish I knew their names, but I believe that most are probably in the sedum family.

About five years ago, I visited a local art festival on the last day near closing time and saw an older woman selling succulent plants. While chatting with her, I learned that she had sold plants at art festivals for many years, but now she was retiring and this was her last show. She assured me the particular plants I was looking at would grow year-round out-of-doors, as they flourished in her very Northern California yard. Did I get lucky that day!? I would give a number of plants a new home, and start learning about growing succulents.

This is the first one to bloom. The spikes of yellow flowers are about three inches high, and are a beautiful cut flower in a very small, or mini, vase.  There is a photo of these flowers in a wood-fired mini-vase posted on www.facebook.com/SusanRodenPottery

Columbine

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Columbine

I can’t remember where I got my first one from, but this plant sure does multiply. Okay, I have given it lots of help, by scattering its seeds under trees and it areas that I wanted filled in. It is interesting which places the seeds took well, and other places not at all. The flat beds have been better receptacles for these seeds than the inclined areas. For all the seeds I have scattered, I do not see that many plants. Although, I now have columbine in many areas around the land. It is also a native plant, but I believe this is a cultivated variety.

While these flowers may not look like much, you get a better view of the blossoms and buds than a photo packed with many flowers.

Bergenia

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Bergenia

These are early buds, and the first flowers have opened.
A low-growing perennial, that stays green all year in my area. It lives in a morning sun area near a deck and the side of the house.
I saw a hillside of these flowers when we were in Santa Cruz, near the beach. They appeared to be growing wild, just fine on their own. Just beautiful.

A couple of years ago, I separated and transplanted a big clump of these plants. Of course, the plants nearer irrigation did better, but these are quite hardy and all the plants moved survived.
I cannot remember where I got my first start from. Am happy to share with any who read this. Just email me.

Violets

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Violets

The first spring violets are finally here! Last year was so mild, these were blooming at the new year, this year is much colder and they have finally arrived. The first real harbinger of spring to come.
Since I do not have any snowdrop bulbs, these are the first flowers here.

I got my first shovel-fulls of violets from an elderly neighbor about 30 years ago. I loved how it grew around her shrubs. If it gets water or shade in the summer, it will stay green. I don’t worry if I dig up the violets, as they are very hardy, but not too invasive. They look beautiful under rhododendrons.

Chamomile, German

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Chamomile, German

I was looking for something green in the yard on New Year’s Day, and I found this. The original tag was laying around, and read: German Chamomile. This is one of many babies of the parent plant, as it is a good low ground cover and spreader. I have yet to harvest any of the flowers for tea. It seems that the window of opportunity for any plant is so short, and I get so busy in the summer just keeping my gardens alive… I have been moving small amount of this around the garden to see what larger plant it might look nice underneath. Right now it is starting to spread around stepping stones.

This was supposed to be my first post right after New Year’s Day. I’m still learning how to use this system…


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Santolina

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAThis is one of thefirst plants I bought for here at least 25 years ago.   It grew and multiplied for many years, as it did not get pruned at all.  Then one year we had a severe freeze and most of the plant died.  A number of small starts remained.  This is when I started cutting back the plant after it flowered, and noticed how it grew.  It is a very drought tolerant herb that likes the sun.  The soft greyish  color looks good in flower bed all year long.  By pruning, I can keep its growth under control.

I’ve read that plants with scented or greyish leaves are generally deer proof, and this has been shown to be true in my unfenced areas.   It is slowly getting moved around to other places around the property, as I am now striving for some artistic arrangement of plantings.

I had hoped my first post would show a flower, but not this winter. Last year, on New Year’s Day 2013, I had a yellow miniature rose bloom. But we soon got a cold snap, and the flower froze on the bush.