susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Dried Flower Blossoms

A couple of peonies and an artichoke flower photographed in a vase
with a turtle-shape opening.
The same wood-fired vase appears quite different from opposite sides.

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Lavender flowers have long been dried to preserve the scent year-round.
My mini-vases display the unopened buds from lavender tops.

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What a fine discovery, on my part, to learn these tiny succulent blossoms
dry to be enjoyed all year long.


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Hordes of Hyacinths

For many years, I made hyacinth vases to sell before the holidays.
They always included a pre-chilled bulb, ready to be forced to bloom.

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Of course, there were always left over bulbs (as I ordered in quantity),
that I kept planting in my gardens.

Most of the hyacinth bulbs live in my ‘flower jails’
to protect them from marauding deer and rabbits.

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Every year the rabbits have chewed the flowers and leaves of the un-fenced bulbs in this bed.  This is the first year in memory, the flowers have survived.

The rabbit population rises and falls annually, opposite that of the predators, usually coyotes, though there is the occasional bobcat or bear.  Since hyacinths are blooming safely out of the fence, it lets me know to be aware the predator population is on the rise.


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Dozens of Dozens of Daffodils

For me, daffodils are the sure sign of spring.  They are not subtle, but come on strong and take over the gardens.  I love it!

Neither deer or rabbits are interested in eating these bulbs or flowers.
I keep dividing the bulbs as they multiply generously.

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This bouquet lives in a Goddess Vase I made.
Of porcelain clay, fired in my hybrid wood-fueled kiln.


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Dazzling Dahlias

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Four dahlia bulbs were planted a couple of years ago.  I see three coming up, but only this one is blooming.  One has buds, and is also in direct sunshine, but no flowers yet.  Why, oh, why?
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Dahlia poses in my version of a bud vase.
The turtle cut-out on top helps the single flower stem stay erect.
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This is what the flowers from the top photo look like a week later.
It is tough to age gracefully, but these are doing pretty good.


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Alluring Artichokes

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After our share of thistle hearts (in case you didn’t already know, artichokes are in the thistle family), I let the last few buds go to flower.
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This was not the only bee allowed a last fling before I cut the flowers.
If you get a chance to feel them, fresh artichoke flower tops are very soft.
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Copy of DSCN3475A dried artichoke flower from last year is on the left and a fresh cut flower on the right.  Not only the color of the new flower base (it is green), but its shape reveal the difference in age of the two.  As water evaporates, the bud will shrink and lose weight quite a bit.

These flowers are standing in a Goddess Vase that I made.
I love to play/work in the mud – clay and flowers both live in dirt.

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One of the coolest things about artichokes, is that the mother plant that yielded delicious eating chokes and pretty flowers for drying, makes baby plants before it dies.
There are two artichoke plants coming from the ground, in the photo above.  On the left side is new growth with the mother plant’s leaves turning  yellow on the right side.


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Pruned Camellia

Copy of DSCN2124 It must have been the sunny afternoon that sent me on a pruning binge.  I decided the camellia needed to be trimmed and the bottom severely cut back.  Nothing like a dose of plant management education on the internet to get something going in the garden.

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After pruning the camellia, there were so many flowers that might go to waste, that I found a couple of vases to display the cuttings.  They may not last a long time, but they will look real nice for a couple of days.


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Camellia

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The camellia is full of blossoms, and this is about the prettiest it has ever looked.   With a little luck, rain will hold off until all the buds have fully opened, but that never happens 😦
This must truly be a zen plant.  I need to enjoy the flowers while they are here today, because no one really knows what the future holds.

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Almost two weeks ago, a friend emailed this photo of a camellia from her yard in a pottery vase I had made.  While she lives only about twenty miles from me, her garden is in a significantly warmer climate than my garden.  The river-bottom land she cultivates is very fertile and sunny, in contrast to the small valley in the hills I call home.


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November Rose

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With camera in hand, I was looking at the changing colors of leaves on small and large plants.  This miniature rose is so small, I mostly check to see if it is still alive.  I was very surprised to see a flower – in November!

There are still some large rose bushes blooming in town, but my home and gardens are ten miles away in the hills, at much cooler temperatures.  My larger rose bushes are long dormant and I do not expect to see any new growth until spring.

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A lot of rain was in the weather forecast, so as the sky clouded up, I cut my solitary tiny rose and put it in a vase.  To keep things in perspective, this hand-blown glass vase is 1.5″ or 4cm tall.  Or should I say it is 4cm short?

It was a very cold day, and the house was relatively so much warmer, that I wondered how my flower would fare.  Even the north-facing kitchen windowsill was not agreeable enough.  By morning, the flower was about spent.

I have run into this before, when I tried to bring a flower from this particular plant to the indoors.  There must be something in its genetic makeup that is conditioned to cooler weather.


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Late Season Autumn Joy Sedum

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When I first typed up Autumn Joy Sedum for a blog page, I cut one flower stem and put it into the vase above.  The surprise for me, is that the flower is still the same light pink two weeks later.  I did put a small amount of water in the vase, and because of the small opening at the top of the vase, evaporation is a minimum.

While tidying up a flower bed over the weekend, I found a stem of Sea Lavender, on a transplanted baby plant, that had escaped my previous notice.  The two flowers do complement each other, I think.

This morning, after I photographed the flowers in the above vase, I went outside to see what the Autumn Joy looked like within the garden fence.  The maroon-rust of the flowers shows them maturing towards their final color. Some of the flowers appear paler, but do not be fooled, it is only the bright sunlight.  The long-blooming time, and very gradual color change are two of this sedum’s assets.


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Asters make a liar out of me!

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These are the same asters I cut a few days ago.  The flowers really did close up the next morning when I went to take a photo.  For some unknown reason I did not throw throw them in the compost bucket.  When I noticed the vase later, the blossoms looked great, and the tiny buds were starting to open.  They must like their new home!