garden ponderings

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First Tulips

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These brave souls are the first of what I am optimistic to see many more of this season.  Some animal has chewed the tops of a number of emerging tulip leaves in this particular east-facing bed.  I was sure it was voles, until we spotted a cottontail bunny just outside the fenced area.  They are not large animals, and are known to be able to squeeze through impossibly small openings.  The thought of one of these rodents in my flower bed had me checking around the perimeter for possible entrances.  Sure enough a small hole in the ground next to a walkway is my suspicion.  We’ve put all sorts of items into the hole through the years to fill it up, but the animals are wily and persistent.


Early Iris

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Early iris sure are short in stature, just like the bulb catalog claims.  It has been relatively warm and sunny for February, with the temps in the low 50 degrees F (barely over 10 degrees C).  Since the sun has come out the last couple of afternoons, the plants are basking in it.

These blooms were open in the early morning fog, while the crocus stayed closed.

Through the years I have planted so many bulbs in the ground.  Now, I have no idea what will come up where.  If I move a perennial from one location to another in a flower bed, too often, I find I have sliced bulbs with my shovel.  One time, I moved crocus bulbs to encircle perennials to solve over-crowding.  Then I intermixed some tulip bulbs with the crocus.  Now I find those, and other bulbs, showing up in interesting places.  I’ve heard of small animals, as mice and voles, moving bulbs around underground.  It seems to me, the rodents must see the bulbs as winter food to be stashed in case of need.

Orange Daylilies

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Orange Daylilies


Because daylilies are so easy to grow, I have them in many places around the ranch.  This particular photo shows part of a long line of daylilies, planted under photinia plants. The bed includes a row of bearded iris behind the daylilies, and columbine which reseeds wherever it can get a foothold.

A winter project is to remove the ground cloth that lies below the orange daylilies, which flower now in early summer, and plant yellow daylilies that would flower in the spring.  Tulips could be planted in between, as this area is fenced from deer (if you look close, you can see the fence behind the photinia trunks).
Later in the fall, I go down the line of daylily plants and pull out armloads of spent flower stalks, which come out easily once they are dried and turn brown.

These periennals are so easy to care for. I have found them to be disease-free, and the only pests they attract are deer. In some places these plants get irrigation, and in other places they are left to mother nature. No matter what, they easily multiply.

Japanese Maple with tulips

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Japanese Maple with tulips

This is the second year for the tulips and the tree – in a newer planting bed. The pink tulips are starting to fade while the yellow ones are coming on. When both colors are still here and the tree is just leafed out, is the prettiest display time for this combination.

The Japanese maple has very tiny flowers right now. I have not figured how to capture them with the camera – yet. It may take another year, as my window of opportunity is small.

According to its tag, this tree is supposed to get taller. Maybe then I can remove the deer fence/flower jail when it is not tulip season. Besides spring, there are other times of the year when the deer will look for anything fresh and green to eat. I believe the wildlife look at tulips and roses as humans see chocolate. Not that they taste similar, just that they are treats to savor. If no people are around to make the ‘natives’ keep their distance, they can get specially brazen with their choices of food.

Tulips with Bluebells


Tulips with Bluebells

I view these flowers from my kitchen window, although it is at a different angle. The purple tulips opened a few days before the orange ones. They are on alternate sides of an Autumn sedum, which is just inches tall at this time of year.

Bluebells line the inside of this ‘flower jail’, which is large enough to enclose 4 rhododendrons, 3 medium rose bushes, and many bulbs and flowers. The bluebells are so prolific at increasing their numbers, it will not be long before I need to rearrange what grows in this surround.
Bluebells, anyone?

Pink and white Tulips

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Pink and white Tulips

After the species tulips, these pink and white tulips are the next to come into full bloom. This is interesting to me, to document the order the different colors of tulips flower. Though, I do need to take into account the effect on bloom time of the micro-climate where each tulip color is planted.
I have noticed this in the daffodils, where I have a very many of the same bulb, planted in various places around the ranch. The ones on the south-east facing wall of the house bloom first. So that seems to be the hot spot.

I had hoped to be publishing flower photos from my new camera, which are fantastic viewed in the camera. ‘Technical difficulties’ getting the photos from the camera to the computer are slowing things down at the moment. It shouldn’t be that hard to figure this out (famous last words!).