susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Spring Abloom in Winter

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Violets bloom all winter long here.
They look beautiful in the snow,
but no snow this year, so far.
These blossoms have naturalized in many of my beds.
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Bergenia are early bloomers here, also.
They grow on the sheltered east side of my house,
protected from deer.
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Hellebore are also growing in a sheltered east-facing area.
The ferns came up naturally,
and keep these flowers shaded.
While the white flowers are in full bloom,
the pink ones are just beginning.
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The first strawberry blossoms
from a warmer area in the yard.

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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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Flowers in the Vegetable Garden

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Strawberry plants are looking great.  I pick a couple of pints every morning.  My favorite ways to eat these summer gems is on a bowl of granola for breakfast, and on a dinner salad.  M-m-m, tasty!
Any extras get frozen on a cookie sheet and put away to be enjoyed in winter.
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Copy of DSCN3527 Copy of DSCN3535Summer squash is just getting going, I like mine small, young & tender.
A friend was surprised with a few zucchini at her front door the other morning.
The zuke elves are starting their rounds, watch out!
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Copy of DSCN3528 Copy of DSCN3536I’ve picked only a very few cherry-size tomatoes, and not one green bean – yet.
The best is yet to come in these departments.
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Copy of DSCN3530 Copy of DSCN3548Baby, red leaf, butter lettuce gone to seed is not necessarily glamorous.
The dandelion-looking fuzz balls are their flowers gone-to-seed.
Close-up the flowers are kind of cute.
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Copy of DSCN3538I try to keep flowers pinched from all my basil plants, as it is the leaves that are used.  Thai basil has the prettiest purple flower buds, and a few blossoms opened before they were pruned.
These leaves get dried to add flavor to curry dinners all winter long.
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Copy of DSCN3531Amaranth is new to me, and I’m not sure how much larger the flower will grow.  There are around a dozen plants, each about a yard (a meter) tall.
I keep checking this one, there is much for me to learn here.
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Copy of DSCN3526 DSCN3549Melons are such a gamble to harvest here.  Will the heat continue through August and September?  Since it is still July, it looks like this could be a good year.  Cantaloupe or rockmelon are the size of a large orange, so far.  Smooth-skin melons usually take longer to mature, but this one is on its way, also.
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And last, but hardly least, are a couple of my own garden nemeses:
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Someone was just here extolling the beauty of Queen Anne’s lace in the fields, and I objected.  The flowers are not evil themselves, but when they go to seed, the trouble starts.  It is a test of my patience to pick the burrs out of kids and my own socks.
The yellow flowers are not dandelions, but I would not be surprised to learn they are close cousins, as the flowers turn to fuzz-balls when they go to seed.


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The Edible Garden

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Temperatures dipped below freezing last night, which makes me just as glad I have not started my vegetable garden.  Even though we have had many sunny days, spring weather is quite unpredictable.

Bok Choy flowers are very pretty, and the renewal of a crop I began a couple of years ago.  This is a sturdy plant, and all winter it has been nice to walk down to the garden and pick a few bunches for dinner whenever I want.

Strawberry flowers are beautiful for themselves, and for what they portend.  A month ago, I planted a new strawberry bed knowing it can take a year to come into full production.  It is very hard to remove the first flush of flowers that are starting already.  Pictured are flowers with developing berries on plants from the old bed.  More warm days will mean sooner fresh strawberries.  Yum-yum.
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We love our homegrown pears in the autumn.  D’Anjou is one of our favorites, and these flowers are on one of those trees.  We eat most of the pears fresh, I preserve some in jars, and make jam.  Last year I also sliced and dried a batch of pears that were so-o sweet.

Blueberry flowers look like little bells hanging from the branches.  The bushes are loaded with flowers right now.  There was a black and yellow bumble bee at these flowers while I was taking pictures, but I just couldn’t get him to hold still long enough to get his photo.

Strawberry flowers

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Strawberry flowers

While this plant is not full of flowers, I am impressed the plant is flowering in our cool rainy weather. We have had some 60-degree days that probably favored flowering and these are sturdy plants.

This may be the third summer for these plants, which could be their maximum production year. If I was really together and hard-core, I would be planting another bed of strawberries to start bearing a year from now. This current batch of strawberry plants was purchased from a reputable nursery (Territorial Seed in Cottage Grove, OR) instead of the local discount store. There were a few holdover plants from the last discount store buy, and those plants need to be dug up as their production doesn’t even warrant the space in the garden.

I will have to look up the name of these strawberries, if I want to be able to make an educated, experienced purchase on my next buy. I remember being given a choice between taste, higher yield, size or disease immunity and I went with taste. Ultimately, for me, it really comes down to taste for home-grown strawberries. These are not the largest berries, but we are still eating last year’s harvest – yum!