susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Springing Fast

The rain stopped and the sun came out.
Many flowers are going through their short lives quickly.
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Camellia blossoms are always beautiful,
but short-lived.
It is a good thing the glossy leaves stay green all year.
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This azalea bush will be covered in red
at peak bloom.
The deck is scheduled to be repaired this summer,
I am afraid I will have to prune this plant severely:(
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Reliably, this is the first rhododendron
to flower every year.
When I took this photo yesterday morning,
there was only one other open bud.
This afternoon, half the plant was abloom.
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Blue Bells, Cockle Shells . . .
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Bleeding heart is a newer addition to my garden.
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Sweet woodruff is one of my favorite groundcovers.
Besides the delicate flowers, the leaves are evergreen.


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Flowers from the Eiffel Tower in April

It is wintertime, and no plants are in blooms here.
But I can share some flower photos from my travels this last spring.

In Paris, the Eiffel Tower is a must-visit.  We loved the views and walked around each level many times – just in case there was something we missed.
April is early for flowers, but the first displays were ready for visitors.
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Autumn Crocus

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Technical name for this beauty is colchicum which is in the lily family
It has no relation to crocus, in the iris family.
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Above, the buds are emerging from the ground in the same hole as their dead leaves did last spring.
There should be 3 to 4 times as many flowers as I see this year, because there were that many leaves a few months ago.  Perhaps this summer was too hot for the bulbs.  I understood these bulbs can take full sun, but apparently, I was mistaken.


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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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Spring Wild Flowers

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In the left hand photo is a delicate flower referred to as rabbit ears or bunny ears.  I have seen hundreds of these blooming under our scrub oak trees.

The light pink bloom in the next photo, has a tall stem, and I have seen them sporadically for a few weeks now.  They don’t seem to like too much sun, and there is lots of moss at the base of this one.

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On the right is a deer trail, with the same pink wildflower in the upper left corner of the photo.  Deer tend to follow the same paths when wandering their “home area”, and the above photo is a worn path they use when climbing an embankment above a driveway.

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Here are buttercups, that surprised me one morning.  They were above the hill where I dump my weed buckets and flower prunings.

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I’m not sure if these ox-eye daisies ever died out over the winter.  They are everywhere, and I am constantly digging them out of my flowerbeds.

In the morning, it is not unusual to see spider webs in the grass.  When they are wet with dew, they are easy to spot.

I thought they were cool looking, so wanted to share the pictures.

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Winter Sprouts

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Bluebell and daffodil leaves are sprouting all over my garden.  Signs indicate that spring can not be far away, no matter what page the calender is on.  But I know to be wary, as a freeze can come at any time and set things back.

The bluebell clumps look like they are getting a bit crowded, and may need to be divided again.  These are prolific bulbs, and I wish I could plant them in the woods.  Unfortunately, for me, the local deer find them quite tasty and they do not last long in the wild.

On the other hand, our deer do leave daffodils alone.  Yesterday, I moved some sprouting bulbs out of an enclosed area, to the “wilds”, as they do not need to be protected.  I’ve tried to plant daffodil bulbs in the fields, but they rarely regrow and bloom again.  Finally, I realized that spring grass mowing also mowed down the daffodil blades.  The plant needs its leaves to die-off naturally to replenish its nutrients and energy to rebloom another year.


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Death Valley National Park Flowers

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There is plenty of life in Death Valley, you just have to know where and when to look for it.  Plants in many places on earth have a dormant season in the cold of winter.  In Death Valley, as with other desert areas, the dormant season is the extreme heat of summer.  If there is enough rain in the spring, the wildflowers do emerge.

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Last May, we were fortunate to be driving by the area and stopped by to see what what the flora looked like.  It was late spring, so we saw only a few wildflowers in the north of the Park and of course, took some photos.  We found an ancient crater to walk around.  It was a challenge to keep our footing, especially when hiking uphill in the soft rocks.

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Japanese Maple on the First Day of Autumn

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Actually, autumn began at 7:30 pm last night, but today is the first day of the new season.  The color change of the leaves is very subtle, as it is just beginning, in this tree.   If you look on the upper left side, you can notice the leaves getting lighter, as they lose the deep red color they had all summer long.

Yes, that is a four foot high (122 cm) deer fence around the tree trunk.  Although the tree appears to be tall enough that the deer cannot decimate its foliage, I will not even attempt to remove the fence until spring.  There is barely enough forage for the deer at this time of year, and I have seen hungry animals stand on their hind feet to eat whatever they can.