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Posts Tagged ‘peony’

This is what I woke up to this morning:

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My Oriental Poppy bloomed overnight!

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What beautiful, papery petals! I think my heart stuck in my throat when I beheld it. A perfect flower.

The weather was a perfect blend of sun and warm, and I had an entire weekend to play in the yard. What better way to start out a morning than to to find it graced by such beauty?

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One blood-red peony opened up as well, the first of many peonies to grace the season.

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Have I ever mentioned how much I love peonies? I didn’t think so. The fact that we bought this house because of the peonies in the yard and the claw-foot bathtub in the bathroom probably has never once been mentioned here.

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If only I could remember the name of this ground cover with the striking blue flowers. Don’t you hate that? You plant something with all the intention of remembering what it was that you planted, but the little plastic name tag that came with the plant got lost when the dog used the plant for a bed cushion and…

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I could look it up. Lithodora, “Star”. There you go.

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This little blue flower I know well: Forget-me-not. Lovely when in bloom and a pestilence in dog’s fur when the little hairy seeds form. I love forget-me-nots.

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A random blue hyacinth. I’ve been finding these all over the yard, bird transplants from someone’s garden elsewhere in the neighborhood.

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The first blue Columbine. This isn’t a wild Columbine, but is a cultivar, probably from a packet of seeds I once purchased somewhere. I have several colors, but this is the first to bloom.

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Looking down on the world. Bees love this plant as do hummingbirds.

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These Native bleeding hearts are uninvited guests to my yard. I noticed them only a few years ago, struggling against all odds under the handicap ramp in back. I left them alone and they have taken over the dark, dank area under the ramp. I take care not to plant them elsewhere because they spread… like wildflowers or weeds.

027It is time to cut back the old fronds from all the sword ferns. They look sad and pitiful now, but once the fiddleheads get growing… I’m trying to encourage the ferns to fill in some of the blank shady places in the yard, like this section of Harvey-proof fence.

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This looks funny now, but when the mertensia ciliata or mountain blue bells get to their full height of 3′ to 4′, I’ll be glad I did this to hold them up. This is a Native. I planted it and then discovered how invasive it is. I currently have it confined to two corners. It gets huge – not just in height, but in breadth. It’s in the borage family and the bees love it.

Yes, I used old shelving to hold it upright. Reuse, Reduce, Recycle.

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I need to move this Lady Fern. It gets huge, but the fronds are so brittle that any traffic around them wreaks havoc on the beauty of this plant.

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Last beauty of the day – the California Lilac, ceanothus L. This tiny, fragrant, buds are about to burst open all over my bush! I’ll have to open the bedroom window at night so I can breathe their scent in while I sleep.

I spent a lot of today on my knees, pulling up grass and half a dozen other weeds. This year hasn’t been as bad as some years – either I’m winning the battle or the lack of snow and cold has given me a head start on the battle. I’ll take the win. It leaves me more time to enjoy the birds singing.

030Which is precisely what this guy was doing, just three feet from my head. Sorry that he’s back-lit so you can’t make him out, but I can tell you what he is – and share a Youtube video of the song he was singing.

Enjoy!

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Today was such a beautiful and mostly dry day that I decided to take advantage of the break in the weather and get some last minute gardening done. I rarely get an opportunity like this in November, and I had a number of peonies that I wanted to rescue from the choke-hold of the Creeping Myrtle.

The Myrtle is pretty, but it grows thick and deep and eventually it chokes out everything that was there before. Fortunately, it does not spread as quickly as an ivy, and a gardener who pays attention can hold myrtle at bay, confining it to one corner of a garden by pruning it back.

I like Periwinkle. It has several names: vinca minor, Periwinkle, Creeping Myrtle. I call it all of those names. The flowers are pretty in the Spring and it makes an excellent ground cover that springs back from a lot of abuse. I did not plant the Periwinkle in my yard, it came with the house. It wasn’t as widespread at it is now, but I neglected that corner of the garden a little too long.

That’s how it looked after I was finished digging and pulling and walking on it. It will spring back.

That corner is also choked with grape hyacinth bulbs. I did not plant them, either. I do not particularly care for them, but the ground in that corner is so littered with their bulbs that I can’t make any headway in getting rid of them. I’ve tried.

I divided five peonies and moved them to new plots. I dug up my purple aster and moved it to a sunnier and more open spot to allow for expansion. I also rolled back the Creeping Myrtle and dug out a handful of the dracunculus vulgaris bulbs (sometimes known as a “Voodoo Lily”I found enough bulbs to make two more clumps of the smelly carnivorous beauty.

As my husband said, I “shared the love” around the yard.

I wanted to weed the grass back from my Fothergilla Major Blue Shadow. It is supposed to be a showy plant through three seasons: when it flowers, after it flowers with it’s blue leaves, and in the Autumn when the leaves turn bright red. Hm. Not quite bright red, but it is pretty.

It’s behind a make shift “fence” because guess what dogs decided to use it as a marker?

All that digging and dead-heading and moving and bending over left me sore and tired, and covered with mud from head to foot. It felt good. I may not think so tomorrow. But I will think it was worth it next Spring, when the peonies bloom in their new locations and the “Voodoo Lilies” open their black hearts to spread the aroma of rotting meat around my yard.

I am so weird, I like that.

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Darn. My wallet is lighter this evening because I saw two perennials I just “had” to have for my garden. It’s an addiction.

First off, I want to say I did not intend to buy any plants this weekend unless I stumbled upon some sunflower starts. For some vague reason, my sunflowers are not coming up (again) this year. I had the same problem last year but I thought it was because I came home on Memorial Day weekend and I didn’t get any sunflower seeds in the ground until then. This year, I have planted sunflower seeds several times and nothing comes up. Either it’s too cold, the birds are getting my seeds, or…?

I only browsed the plants at the grocery store because I was looking for possible sunflower starts.

And this caught me eye. It’s beautiful. It’s a perennial. It was $6.99.

It’s a mullein and it is going right here, next to where the sunflowers are supposed to be coming up in my front yard. I lost the little plastic name tag, but I *think* it is verbascum ‘Southern Charm’. It’s beautiful.

I then stopped at the Farmer’s Market. I was looking for the hazelnut mulch stand. Yes, it is time to start buying bags of hazelnut mulch and finish mulching all my flower beds. I figure if I buy 5 bags at a time, I can manage this little project of mulching my garden all by myself.

I was only two booths in when I saw this.

Honeysuckle. A gallon plant for $10. I love honeysuckle. One of the first rentals Don and I lived in had an old honeysuckle vine over the front door. They smell amazing and hummingbirds love them.

I have looked for one off and on over the years. Usually, I haven’t had the money to buy one. Or I simply can’t find a mature-enough plant to make the purchase worthwhile. But there it was: a ten dollar mature honeysuckle.

Dang.

I picked up the hazelnut mulch, too.

Then I came home and hoped it wouldn’t rain.

I edged and weeded and dug and planted.

I planted my fothergilla in the back yard. I mulched it, too.

This is the flower bed I worked on Saturday. Too bad the Shasta daisies are not yet in bloom and the Oregon grape is past. I don’t know about that Oregon grape: I planted it expecting low shrubs and I got these huge commercial variety of Oregon Grape that seem to go viral. They are over 6′ tall!!

It’s peony season in my garden. Just a few of them are in the island flower bed. I have a lot more in peripheral flower beds.

This double-peony is stuck up against the garage. The photo doesn’t do it justice: it’s a soft purple shade that somehow translated to pink in the camera.

This double bloom translated nicely to the camera.

A single pink peony.

I have yellow, pink, burgundy, red, salmon, red-and yellow, single, double, triple, plain and tree peonies.

One can never get enough of peonies.

Except they are done blooming mid-June.

Another plant I love. I transplanted a few wild foxgloves (pink and white) to my garden. I love the wild ones, not the commercial ones. Foxglove is a biennial, meaning that the first year it is only a lot of leaves, but it blooms the second year and thereafter. It’s a great cut flower, will bloom all summer if you do cut it, and the bees go nuts over it.

Idaho blue-eyed grass. No, I do not know why it is named “Idaho” because it is an Oregon native as well. Not a great cut flower: the blooms are there in the day and close up at eventide. But the fragile beauty that is blue-eyed grass is appealing to me.

And, yes, I really have an old hanging basket frame turned upside down over the plant. That way, I know where it is. Doesn’t everyone mark their plants like that?

This lovely insect (according to my Audubon Field Guide to Insects & Spiders) is a Cottonwood Twig Borer (Oberea quadricallosa). I included the scientific name because when I tried to do an online search for the same insect, the Cottonwood Tree Borer came up with several different scientific names.

Whatever: it doesn’t harm peonies. It’s just tucking in for the night.

A dead wasp in the peony bud. No doubt there is a spider behind a petal.

Spider: 1. Wasp:0

A blood-red Lady Beetle. No doubt she is looking for an aphid snack.

Are there male Lady Beetles?

That was a rhetorical question.

I love the seed pods of my tree peonies. The bloom is past and the petals have fallen: this funny little item is what is left. They harden when they dry out.

All I can tell you about this critter is that it is a moth. It is most likely a bark moth of some sort. It is probably not a beneficial insect, but it is trapped inside my house and not in the litter under the rhododendrons. I usually find bark moths under the rhodies where their caterpillars have no doubt been wreaking some sort of havoc. I bear them no grudge since any apparent damage they do is minor.

At least as far as I can tell.

Last night, just as the sun began to set, the light graced the trees with a yellowish tinge. The dark clouds over Vancouver, Washington, were just beginning to build up and slowly roll southward. Shortly after all turned dark and we were settled down in front of the television to watch a movie, that cloud rolled over Portland and dumped an inch of rain in an hour’s time.

It dried out again today and I spent the afternoon digging, edging and mulching. It’s a full-time job that I love.

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