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Archive for the ‘flowers’ Category

It’s raining!

This is the first time in the two years I’ve lived here that it has rained nearly non-stop, during the day …  real rain … like, heavy raindrops … for over a week. There are pools of water everywhere!

This image off my back porch illustrates why I’m hiring “drainage experts” to pull the water away from my home. Tsk! Tsk! Home was built in 1989 … apparently before drainage regulations were in place.

I’d been babying little tomatoes I bought in 4″ pots and stair-stepped up to 1 and then 5 gallon pots. I took them off the porch just before the deluge started. Chances are they’re “shocked” past redemption by now.

Irises on the other hand, are like ducks. They’re perfectly happy in the rain!

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Trial and Error

This is the first time I’ve grown tulips in the ground  …  from the raw bulbs in fall in the cold earth. I’m tickled with my haphazard success. I lost about half of what I planted out of ignorance. I now know bulbs are typically planted at a depth of about 3 times their size. (I thought the label said 9″ deep, whereas 6″ – 8″ would have sufficed.)

The deep purple tulips that were to accompany this ensemble never made it.

Photographing these little suckers is another matter entirely! My camera has a hard time deciphering just exactly what it is I want to focus on. The preview screen is really very poor for manual focus. (I use a Canon S5IS.) And then there is the question of all that overhead light.

Dewy mornings mitigate some of these issues — although the top of this tulip is still awash with too much light on top.

Oh, and did I mention backgrounds? I haven’t mastered the art of clipping masks in Photoshop. Moldy trellises and drab pavement are hard to overcome.

When all else fails I let loose and swing the dials in Photoshop to salvage what little I can from my efforts or block out a scuzzy background.

Okay, that’s too much. Here’s another try…

My neighbors have gotten used to the crazy lady who’s out in her yard at all hours in her bathrobe or otherwise hunched over her flowers. A better camera and lens might help my photos … but not my image. 😉

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Pink Madness

Every year I tell myself that this year I’m not going to get excited about my flowering cherry. But, heck! Spring is imminent and the bees are out in full force.

I brought out the step ladder and just sat up there in the blossoms and got a little mad with pink.

You’ll note the pollen-laden ‘thighs’ on this bee.

When I’m gardening under the tree I hear an electric hum of bees overhead. It doesn’t quite translate in this video. It’s only a minute and a half. There’s a surprise visitor in the last 25 seconds.

That little Bush Tit was a foot from my head. Those birds know me and just don’t understand why I haven’t replenished the usual supplies.

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Cherry time

With this El Nino winter, the blooms are “breaking bud” much earlier than usual. My Akebono flowering cherry tree is a good 3 weeks earlier than last year. We had a cold snap and rain just as the blooms opened.

But somehow they survived!

It’s hard to photograph into the sky because the contrast is so harsh. The photo above was taken looking straight up on an overcast day. I’ll keep trying.

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Almost

It’s almost spring! Buds are beginning to break, flies and bees are rousing from their long sleep. There’s a quickening in the air while fragrant chimneys still burn.

Here’s my Ribes Sanguineum just coming on. I’d pruned it hard late last fall, so it’s a little tardy.

The Cherry Akebono on the other hand is several weeks early.

I love these Osmantus Delavayi for their heavenly fragrance!

I see flowering plum and magnolias in full bloom out along the roadsides.

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Yes, it’s been darn cold at night – in the low 20’s. The air’s been so dry that there’s barely any hoarfrost on the ground. But my birdbath had a solid sheet of ice on it.

With the clear skies there’s been lots of sunshine. I feel as if my fellow citizens and I are drunk on light! The neighborhood is abuzz with outdoor activity. I thought I’d take a few shots of the trees while they were still bare.

Here’s my Chinese Elm — always reminds me of a dancer.

With this El Nino winter, the cherry tree is studded with buds.

The little daffodils I bought last weekend are charming in the morning light.

I’ve been out gardening the last few afternoons. American Goldfinch have returned. Tonight I even saw a Townsend’s Warbler — stunning! (here’s a web photo)

Birds don’t lie. Spring’s a coming!

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My $60 tulip …

I bought several dozen tulips last fall. All but a few were planted in the ground. This is all I have to show for my efforts.

My neighbor has dozens of naturalized tulips. I thought they were a safe bet. But no, the squirrels just thought I’d buried their food.

Then there’s my Sarcococca (sar-ko-KOAK-ka) plant – touted for its “intense” even “piercingly sweet” fragrance. I was advised to plant it near an entry way as the fragrance would overwhelm a 100 foot area.

I must not have the “confusa” cultivar (but rather the “ruscifolia“). For the 2nd year running I can barely detect any fragrance (if at all).

On the other hand, my witchhazel (Hemamelis “Arnold Promise”) is blooming and nicely scented. I still have to put my nose in it, but it has a delicate powdery fragrance — very distinctive and “bewitching”.

The crocus are budding up and the primulas are developing.

Another casualty has been the lovely pink camellia by my front door. It’s been full of plump buds since last summer. But those over-ripe buds proved to be no match for a hard freeze in early December when the temps dropped to 10 degrees at night.

My camellia now has a skirt of plump brown dead buds. So much for best laid plans. As Robert Burns avowed, they “gang oft astray”.

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