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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Changeable Weather

We had a few days of record heat, then rain, and cooler.  The plants are dealing with this variable weather better than I am.  At least I don’t have to water anything myself!

New flowers are blooming nearly every day.
So much to do, and only so many hours of agreeable weather.

Not a lot of blossoms on this tree peony, so I savor every one.
These photos are of the same flower, on the same day.   They open fast in the sunshine.
I did cut a couple of these flowers, just as they began to open.
They are hanging in a closet, clothes-pinned upside-down from a hanger.
If my experiment works, I’ll have some peonies all summer – or maybe even longer!
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Lots of white Dutch iris, I like these a lot.
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Rhododendron flowers open in the same order every year.
These are some earlier bloomers.* * * * *
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Weigela is an old-time shrub, and new to my garden.
This particular spot can get very wet during rainy season, and I’ve lost a few plants here.
Upon investigation, I determined that this is a prime candidate to like this location.
It sure looks good now, I do hope it stays around.


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Very South Germany

We drove into Germany from Switzerland and found a field of tulips.

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People stopped their car to pick a few blooms.
There were indications that the flowers had been for sale,
but no more, as these were past their prime.
Nevertheless it was still a beautiful sight.

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Next day we visited Rhein Falls between Germany and Switzerland.
A short walk upstream is a bridge to the other side of the river.
There is lots to see, and the waterfalls were really cool.
Here are some beautiful May flowers we saw near the castle on the Swiss side.

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Our last morning in Germany, I found Botanical Gardens in the university town of Frieburg.  Unable to read German, it was not until we were leaving that I learned I could not visit the greenhouses inside, because it was a holiday.
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But there was much to see outside, including giant potted plants that would not live outdoors year-round.

 

There were a number of ponds of waterlilies – exquisite!

 

The azaleas were about finished blooming, and not photogenic,
but the peonies were still at their prime.
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Villandry Garden – Part 2

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Villandry Chateau and gardens were restored beginning in 1906, to what we see today.  We got our tulip fix here when we saw a number of beds of one color of tulips.  The next bed would show off another color of tulip, and so on.  Those flowers were on their way down, but still looked regal.  The light blue complementary flowers are what I call forget-me-nots, and they showed off the various colors of tulips just perfectly.
Do you notice the various shades of green in the hedge part of the garden design?  It is different plants next to each other that are all grown together, and pruned to make one continuous shape.  Personally, I really liked the effect and thought this to be a great idea.

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Above photo shows but a small segment of the small army of workers that maintain the beautiful gardens.
The brochure mentions a staff of about a dozen persons, but we saw many more than these persons, pruning, mowing, raking and doing other garden jobs.  I imagine it would take more workers in the spring to bring the garden back to life after a cold winter.
This makes me feel much better about the relative sad shape of my home garden that is maintained by one person, myself!


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Bursting Buds Update

April came in with showers, which is good for flowers to stay around.
When the sun is shining, spring flowers bloom very pretty and are done before you know it.
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This is my only bi-color rhododendron, and the first one to bloom.
With bluebells and tulips it is quite a show from my kitchen window.
What a way to greet the time of longer daylight.
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After years of being nibbled by deer, this azalea is slowly coming into its own.  I prune and thin the too-dense branches a little more every year.
As it now gets taller and more full, I find myself moving plants from the understory, so they have a chance to grow also.
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The lilacs are getting tall enough to fulfill a long-held dream:  to be able to walk on the path under a canopy of blooming flowers.
White flowers are peaking while the purple are just beginning their bloom time.


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Rogue Bluebells

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One project for this year is to coordinate the tulips for succession blooms and avoid outrageous color clashes.  This row of blossoms is a success which I wish I could say I planned, but I will take a lucky break any day.

Do you see the bluebells?  Bluebells were never planted on this east side of the house.  They have been planted, moved and rearranged on the north side with plenty more area to go.  There is also a single clump of bluebells in a location on the west of the house.  Supposedly, these plants can reseed themselves.  My theory is this:  the growth of bluebells in rogue locations here is due to voles and mice.  They think of the bulbs as food to store or hide from others in the winter.  Or perhaps it is a game of hide-and-seek the young animals play to pass the time.


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Pastel Tulips under Japanese Maple

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This particular green-leafed Japanese maple tree is leafing out, just as the tulips below begin to flower.  A bag of pastel tulips planted a few years ago is reaching maturity, and will need to be divided this year.  The yellow and pink flowers are so pretty, and the timing couldn’t be better as the tree is coming to life at the same time.

I have been photographing this tree for a few days trying to get desirable light and a background on which the tree’s new leaves would show up.  This morning’s photo was taken after the sun rose over the hills to the east;  tulips are shadowed by the house.