susansflowers

garden ponderings


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The early flower gets .. rained on

Why would only two crocus bulbs flower and all the other ones wait over a week to bloom?
This is not even the sunniest location.

1st crocus

After some days of rain, the sun has encouraged more crocus to break their dormancy, and greet the winter sun.
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A week later, after days of rain, the sun re-emerged.
These same crocuses (croci?  I saw this plural someplace, did not make it up myself!) put out more blossoms.

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A few more bulbs bloomed

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And more are on the way

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Blooms & Buds in the Dead of Winter

Between the rain and cold most flowers are dormant in this season.
It is called the ‘dead’ of winter for good reason:-)

Purple violets bloom through the winter here.
I think they don’t mind the cold, and must love the rain,
since these often sleep through the summer heat.

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Snowdrops are the first bulb to bloom in the calendar year.
This lone specimen is my only sample.
It will soon be hidden by the daffodils whose leaves are just emerging behind.

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Pink hellebore buds will open soon.

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Evergreen leaves can be susceptible to snails, I have heard.
My problem pests are voles who have eaten leaves and left me stems.
A vole is similar to a mouse, but with a shorter tail.
I catch them in mousetraps in the garage and shops.


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Last Hurrahs

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Leaves on the Sweet Gum tree (above left) are just turning from green to yellow, while the Sugar Maple (on the right) has lost most of its leaves.
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Why would the leaves on one of three Aspen trees still be hanging on, when the other two trees are almost naked?

There are no flowers around the house.  Between the drought and global warming, I should be able to find some plant that will flower later in the season.  Driving today, I did spot nasturtiums in a neighbor’s yard.  Those I know I can grow – and they come with the bonus attribute of being edible besides pretty and late-growing.
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Down in the garden, it is another story.
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Dill (left) and Cilantro (right) flowers are staying handsome.  I think it is the perfect balance between enough sun to keep them happy, but cooler days of less daylight keep both of these plants from ‘going to seed’.
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Copy of DSCN4155 Copy of DSCN4157Cherry tomato and jalapeno flowers are in for disappointment, there is no chance they will grow to maturity before winter sets in.  Just not enough heat-hours left in this season.
Strawberries, also, keep blooming, and their fruit is much quicker to ripen, so I have a chance to harvest more of them – hoorah!


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First Freeze

We had our first overnight freeze and a number of plants are now dormant for the winter.  Still, the first official day of winter is not due for over a month.  Leaves of the hydrangea quickly turned a droopy brown, and those of the lilac bushes are on the ground.

But there are also trees whose leaves are not finished with their autumn show.
I present three examples I found around my house:
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First is a dwarf ginko tree, which is barely over a foot (30 mm) tall.  Daylilies keep trying to invade its ‘turf’ from the back and chamomile from the front.  The poor little ginko is so small, it cannot defend itself.
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Next is a Japanese maple that is a fairly new addition to my garden.  While my other Japanese maple tree has shed all of its leaves, this one is still trying to put out new growth.  Some of the leaves are starting to turn orange, and others are sprouting the light green of new growth.  Is this particular tree native to the Himalayas?
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Last is one of the beauties of this area, a Sweet Gum tree, from the maple family.  It grows more vertical than the sugar maple next to it, which has a classic roundish leaf area.  The sugar maple gets its leaves long before the sweet gum in the spring, but the sweet gum hangs onto its leaves longer in the autumn.


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Bloomin’ Violets

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I believe these flowers were waiting for rain and cool to start blooming.  Violets must be very “tough cookies” to put out their flowers in the cool of winter.  Much as I’ve tried to vase these blossoms, they just do not seem to like to live indoors.  It must be too warm for them.

Even if it snows, these tiny flowers will bounce back as soon as the sun melts an opening in the ground.  We should be enjoying violets until the heat of summer sends them dormant until the next rainy season.

This fall, I have been moving around many plants, some of them surrounded by this ground cover.  The little violet rootlets just get pushed back underground, and as long as it keeps on raining, they will reestablish in a new home.


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Dahlia

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These plants come in all sizes and heights, and some people specialize in growing only dahlia flowers.

I picked up a few bulbs on sale a couple of years ago, and planted them in different locations in my garden.  In my climate, I’ve read that you should dig up your dahlia bulbs in the fall, and replant them in the spring.  No way I can stay on top of that!  I promptly forgot that detail of plant care when the time came to do the job.  Two of four bulbs survived winter, and are just blooming now. 

Now that I know they can survive a winter, I’ll have to nurture them along some more.  I would like to see more of these flowers next summer.

Santolina in Bloom

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Santolina in Bloom

Yesterday, I pruned the flowering plants back, so they are not so large or plush anymore.  In my second entry in this blog, I showed a photo of this plant in January.  I thought it was pretty then, as so few plants have color in the winter. I like this perennial all year long, with or without flowers.  Although the flowers are profuse, they are very small.  It may not be known for its flowers, as the foliage is quite unusual: first of all, it is not green, but a sort of gray-green color; it sports thin, fine ‘leaves’, that emit a strong scent when brushed against.  I rather like the aroma, though some may find it too pungent and be put off by it.

The original plant was never pruned, and grew to cover a large area, about 10 feet square.  After a severe, unusual winter freeze (below freezing for 4 days in a row), a lot of the mother plant died out.  When I removed the dead plant material, what remained was a number of small plants.  I pruned and transplanted these around the house, and nursed them back to health.  Now, I notice that if I keep the mother plant pruned, it does not make more plants.  It appears the baby plants come from stems that root themselves in the ground.