susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Late Summer Unknown Beauty

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I had been watching this unknown plant grow in the midst of my Bee Balm, and almost pulled it out early as an invading weed.
On second thought, I decided to let it live and see what developed.
You just never know ūüėÄ

Well, this plant looks so much prettier than my straggly bee balm.
Now, I get to decide who stays and who gets relocated.


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Amaranth aka Pigweed

Such a beautiful flower, I cannot imagine it as a weed.
(I better watch my thoughts, as one person’s weed may be another person’s treasure!)
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My first time ever to grow this flower, and I had no idea what to expect.
It is about as tall as a cornstalk (5-6 feet, or up to 2 meters), but its ‘tassels’ droop down instead of staying erect, as with corn.
The flowers are a beautiful fuchsia color, and quite elongate
– around 12 inches (30 cm) long.

I read that these flowers can be dried and used in arrangements past their bloom season.  Of course, I have to try this:-)
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The flower on the far end was cut a few days ago.  It was laying on a counter and making a mess by dropping pollen.  Time to learn how to dry these.

First thing I discovered was amaranth flowers come in erect or hanging forms.
A suggestion to keep the fall of the flower was to drape it over a box.
This is how I interpret how to arrange these flowers for dehydration.¬† The color of the flower has darkened already.¬† I’ll keep you posted as to the success of this endeavor.


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Live and Learn

When I was younger, I thought I knew a lot (sometimes I even thought I knew it all!).  Everyday, as I get older, I realize just how little I know.
Does this make me smart ?  Because I know that I have lots to learn.
Or does this make me stupid, because I am dumb enough to think I know anything?

* * * * *
Enough rambling, I have a correction to make:
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I posted this photo on June 29, 2015, and claimed it was a Monarch butterfly with a lily.  WRONG!  Monarchs are orange and black, what is in the photo is a Swallowtail butterfly dining on an Asiatic Species Lily.
* * * * *
And a discovery.  Since July 4, 2015 when I posted Weed or Not, a new flower bloomed, and I recognized Coreopsis:
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Can you tell that the leaves look the same?
The specimen on the right has significantly more altitude than the shorter flower.
I am waiting for the taller one to bloom before the deer discover it and chew the buds off.


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Weed or Not?

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Doesn’t it really depend on your definition of what is a weed?
This garden invader (see, a negative comment by me already), is at least 4 feet tall (over a meter).  I have been letting it stay so I could see what the flower looks like.  Perhaps I will like the blossoms, and it could be a new addition to this deer-proof bed.

So far, neither bees or wasps have been attracted to this specimen.  Although, when I was photographing this morning, the bees were all over nearby plants, and I did not dawdle.
The other photo-taking challenge was getting the entire plant in one picture.  It is in the middle of a bed, and the neighboring greenery partially disguises what I am attempting to point out.


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Queen Anne’s Lace – weed or not?

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We have too many of this plant living on our land.  It is a weed as far as I am concerned.  Those pretty white flowers close up as they ripen their seed heads (in the upper middle of the photo is a spent flower with seeds developing).  Then the seeds are dispersed РI think by clamping onto socks, shoelaces or anything fibrous.  I have picked so many of these seeds out of footwear, it can make me scream!  Honestly, I seriously consider the value of the socks or whatever the clothes item is, when I decide whether to throw it out or start the tedious de-seeding process.

The leaves of Queen Anne’s Lace do resemble carrot leaves, and the scent or both is very similar when digging the roots out.¬† They must be botanical cousins of some sort.

I wonder what people were thinking when the name of this flower evolved?  It seems like they did not like their Queen Anne at all!

Bittercress

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Wintercress

Is it a weed or a wildflower I asked a ‘professional’ recently. “It’s only a weed, if it is growing where you don’t want it to grow,” she replied. Of course. It’s not as though I had never heard that before:)

So this flower grows prolifically all around here, and in the yards of everyone else I ask. It it in every flower and vegetable bed, and the fields. The good news is that it is easy to pull out. The bad news is that it seed prolifically. And if you don’t put the pulled weed in the trash or compost, it will re-root where ever it is thrown. A darn sturdy plant, it is.

I did learn its name and that it is native to this area.¬† When I looked up Oregon wildflowers online, I learned that I mis-heard the name of this plant.¬† Instead of¬†winterflower¬†it is actually named¬†bitterflower. ¬† I did hear that this is an edible plant, but I venture that the name gives an idea of how it tastes.¬†¬† Don’t think I will rush to try the greens anytime soon.¬† Besides, they are so small, it would take an awful lot of leaf picking to get much more than a mouthful. Kind of like wild strawberries, which are so tiny, one picks seemingly forever to get a small bowl full.