susansflowers

garden ponderings


4 Comments

Fun with a Fish Eye (camera lens, that is :)

I have spent an extraordinary amount of time this last month, weeding.
The flower beds are not near perfect, but have never looked so good.

Above are two views of the same flower bed.
Foreground is Shasta daisies, bearded Iris and lavenders.
Foxglove, daffodils, and iris live further back.
A couple of canna lilies are the recent additions.

There is a fence (we call it a ‘flower jail’) along the edge of the deck.
Inside live an azalea, peony, hosta, calla lilies, camellia,
tulips, tree peony, stock, rhododendron and a few others.
* * * * *

If this bed were planned before planting,
the Japanese maples would be at each end with the
contorted filbert (aka Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick
– where that name came from, must be a good story)
in the middle instead of on the left end.

Santolina, teucrium (germander), hyssop, more bearded iris (they multiply!)
with lots of Greek oregano as groundcover are the main plants here.

I had read in a novel that daylilies could hold a hillside in place,
so I planted and re-planted them behind.
California poppies are multiplying slowly, and the weeds here are prolific.
Specially after our wet winter.

Anyway – above are some views of the front & back of my yard.
You are introduced to some of what I care take.
Isn’t the fish eye lens cool?  What a view!

Advertisements


1 Comment

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.

* * * * *

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?

* * * * *

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.


2 Comments

Treasure Hunt

Back in Fall of 2013, I purchased a bag of pastel color tulips from a local store.  All 40 bulbs were planted under a Japanese Maple Tree, and bloomed beautifully the next spring, in April 2014. Copy of DSCN0106
* * * * *
A year later in March 2015, the flower production was not quite as spectacular.

Copy of DSCN2211 * * * * *
I am suspicious this is inherent in tulips, that they bloom less every year the bulbs stay in the ground.  Or it could be a plan by the tulip breeders, to get customers to buy fresh bulbs every year.

I decided to dig up the bulbs under this particular tree, divide them and replant in the fall.  It doesn’t seem like I have a lot to lose, especially if the flowers diminish even more next year.
So . . I went on a treasure hunt.  After hours of shoveling and sifting with my fingers through the dirt, I had over a gallon of bulbs in a bucket (about 5 liters). Copy of DSCN3445 The bulbs had definitely multiplied, but none were near as large as the original bulbs.  Next, I sorted the bulbs by size. Copy of DSCN3447 I selected the forty largest bulbs and put these aside to replant under the Japanese Maple tree.  Into another container I put fifty of the next size down bulbs.  And into another container went 100 of the next size bulbs (very close to the same size as the 50 bulbs).  Containers 4 & 5 hold 150 bulbs each, and in the last container went hundreds of very small bulbets.
If I looked at it as multiplication, I hit the jackpot by turning 40 bulbs into more than 500.  Or I could look at my ‘winnings’ from a different point of view and see a very slight increase in bulb volume.

This fall, the plan is to plant as many bulbs as I can.  I will try to note where each size goes, so I can learn if they all have a chance of blooming again. I’m wondering what is done commercially?  Do the tulip farms replant all the small bulbs?  Do the bulbs take more than one year to grow large enough to be marketed?  I hope be able to answer some of these questions next spring!

Chives

Leave a comment

Chives

I love the smell and look of chive flowers. I love all the members of the allium family. I love the smell and taste of onions. This plant is right outside my front door, in view of my kitchen window.

When people who are not gardeners (think city-folk) come to visit, I love to lead them though my herb garden and invite them to taste particular plants. When my then-two-year-old grandson visited, I did the same with him, but quickly learned my mistake. He naturally thought he could take any leaf and taste it. Of course, he headed right toward a large (to him) rhododendron bush – which is poisonous.

I noticed in this photo that you can see some of the different stages of chive flowers opening.  Just got lucky, this time!

I am heading toward an art show where I will display my pottery and ceramics. The chive and armeria flowers will grace some of my vases. I saw the last tulips starting to open, and I cut some peony buds, just because they are pretty that way. The lilacs are on the down side of their blooms. Day lilies and foxglove are about to open. Stock and Jacob’s ladder have so few flowers this year.

Pollen Laden Big Daddy

5 Comments

Pollen Laden Big Daddy

I was looking at flowers to photograph, and saw this bee on a tulip leaf. Really wanted to take a photo of him on a flower, but it is not as if I can say, “Sir (or ma’am), could you please fly to a nearby flower so I can take your picture there?”

When I looked at the photo up close, a surprise: the bee’s legs are full of pollen.

This is one of the largest bees I have seen here. We get plenty of bees, but they are usually smaller. This one may not have been too active, as the sun is having a hard time breaking out of the clouds today, and it is still coolish, 59 degrees F.

Species tulips

Leave a comment

Species tulips

I love the soft pink on the outside of the petals, that frames the inside white petal color. The flowers look so delicate.

This type of tulip are usually the first to bloom. Species tulips are not hybrids, they are what was/is found in the wild (as I understand). They are not long lasting blooms, and not particularly good as cut flowers. But they do come back every year, are great color in a spring garden and easy to care for. The biggest hazard is forgetting where they are planted and cutting a bulb with a shovel – instant death.

I thought I had more of this style planted around the yard, but this is all I can verify to myself. There are many varieties and colors available. My source for great bulbs is John Scheepers Bulbs in Connecticut. They also have a separate wholesale bulb company, but you have to order 50 or 100 of a particular bulb or color of bulb, so I don’t do that. The John Scheepers catalog is beautiful, and I strongly recommend it for flower bulb connoisseurs.

First Tulips

Leave a comment

First Tulips

Yes, the rain has been trying to push these flowers to the ground. What a surprise to see the first tulips, I always wonder which ones will be the first to show their color. It seems to be different ones each year. These are in a sheltered, east-facing location, just below a deck.

In the bulb catalog, the colors are so entrancing, I admit to ordering a big variety on that premise at least once. But then I started to catch on, not all tulips return every year. Many tulips are bred to be tall, or a particular color, and don’t necessarily come back. Then there are the native tulips, many originated in Afghanistan of all places, that do return every year. These perennials are often shorter-stemmed, and not long-lived, but they are STURDY, and a hard winter does not deter their return.

One year we were at a huge public garden when they were digging up all of the tulips. Not all were done blooming, but it must have been on their schedule to remove those bulbs and prepare the beds for whatever would come next. I wanted so much to take some home with me, and I don’t believe anyone would have minded as these were all going to the compost pile. But this was in Canada, and I was not expecting to be home for over a week. I hardly think display gardens in other countries are any different on this topic. The tulips are treated like any other annual.