COLUMBINE, THE FLOWER – Marilyn Armstrong

Columbine – FOTD – May 26, 2019

Between a few days ago and today, the Columbine bloomed — and started to die. I mean literally, two days. It usually hangs around for a while, but we seem to be hurrying into summer. It seems to be that when spring comes late, the garden starts to hurry towards summer, skipping the usual pieces.

It still has buds so maybe ….
Columbine along the fence

WHITE RHODODENDRONS – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – May 25, 2019 – Rhododendron

We have Rhododendrons. They were growing here when we moved in. A lot of them died during the very cold, wet, windy winter, but some of those I was sure were completely defunct are coming back.

Partly. New blooms at the end of what appear to be dead stalks and apparently brown, dead leaves unrolling and turning green.

I’ve never seen anything like it. We hacked down the giant, overgrown barbed-wire rose bushes (they’ll be back because I think they are not killable by normal humans) and lost some of the Rhododendrons in the process because they were intertwined.

That was the problem with the roses. They tended to completely take over the entire garden. They were small roses with the most brutal thorns I’ve ever encountered. I just thought these were “small rose bushes” because that’s how they were described.

What they are really are small roses on huge bushes that spread out and send runners underground. They pop up in the damnedest places.

THE WHITE AZALEA – Marilyn Armstrong

Azalea – FOTD – 05/23/19

When we moved into this house, there was one bedraggled Azalea trying to stay alive in front of the house. It never got any sun and it was too close to the foundation, so it didn’t grow and never bloomed.

This year, for the first time, it actually bloomed with more than a single flower. It’s not brilliant, as Azaleas go, but it has come a long way since we transplanted it. It’s a full-sized bush, even if it doesn’t produce a lot of flowers.

A blooming white azalea! Ours! Golly!

NARCISSUS BY THE WOODS – Marilyn Armstrong

Narcissus – FOTD – 05/21/19

These flowers used to grow on the other side of the driveway. In the garden, in a grouping with the daffodils. I don’t know how they wound up on the opposite side of the tarmac.

Wind? Birds? Bees? The driveway is too wide for any kind of natural spreading, so something moved them.

I was really surprised to see them. I thought they had died. I thought a lot of things had died. Some things did.

The old Rhododendrons died, but new ones popped up and are blooming. We have to cut down the dead ones and are planning to on Wednesday. We also need to cut down the Holly which isn’t a bush and has become more of a  tree. A big, bushy tree.

We have about a thousand baby-sized maple trees trying to grow. And we have too many signs that the Gypsy moth caterpillars have come back.

NOW we need rain and a lot of it.  Maybe a solid week of rain would kill them before they get their tiny fangs into our trees.

It’s the only thing that will stop them. I get totally depressed even thinking about them. The last time they showed up, I hid in the house for weeks while they killed off all our trees. I’m trying to not see it, pretending it isn’t happening, but I’m terribly afraid that it is. And this time, I simply can’t afford to bring in the spraying people.

No money.

The irony of this is that these caterpillars BLEW HERE FROM A CITY MORE THAN 50  MILES AWAY. All that windy weather? It brought the monstrous bugs back. Again.

I’m not thinking about it because maybe it won’t happen. Talk about positive thinking, I actually think I’m more afraid of the caterpillars than Trump. That’s serious fear.

SOLOMON’S SEAL – WILD IN MY GARDEN – Marilyn Armstrong

Solomon’s Seal – FOTD – 05/20/19

Our Solomon’s Seal plants originally grew in our woods. I moved about half a dozen plants about half a dozen feet into the light. It now grows in huge batches along the driveway. It blooms early and is my official “sign of spring.”

It is a wildflower that has been cultivated so now, you can buy rhizomes for it at nurseries. If you have a garden that doesn’t have much sun, these are plants that will give you your first blooms when nothing else wants to flower, a shady garden requirement.

Very few plants will flower in deep shade, but Solomon’s Seal will. It will also blossom beautifully if you give it a little bit of sunlight.

It seems to appear overnight. One day there’s nothing. A couple of days later, there’s a huge patch of Solomon’s Seal.

It’s a tall plant, often growing a couple of feet high. Also, it is rather “architectural” with high, arching branches and small, white bell-shaped blossoms dangling below them. The foliage turns a golden yellow color in fall.

The green-leaved specimen is native to the New England and it used to be rather rare, but has been cultivated so if you don’t happen to have your own woods, you can buy them at a nursery.

You can find Solomon’s Seal growing in wooded areas of Hardiness Zones 3-7. We about half a dozen plants about six feet where they have thrived. They are much bigger than they grew in the woods and there are more of them. All of them have arches of flowers.

During a brighter spring, they sometimes take over that whole area … and they are still plentiful in the woods, along with three or four types of fern.

AMAZING BUT THE CACTUS IS STILL BLOOMING! – Marilyn Armstrong

Red Cactus Flowers Galore! -FOTD – 05/19/19

There are still unopened buds on the cactus. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cactus bloom nearly continuously for so many months. Maybe it’s the gray, cloudy, cold weather. The cactus seem to like bright light, but not full sun.

Also, while the cactus is doing its thing, the orchids are coming in. So far, I can see three spikes for flowers. I think there will be a few more.

I’d love to buy more orchids, but I have no idea if there’s anyplace in driving distance that sells them. I don’t think I can get these from Amazon — but then again, I haven’t tried. They say you can get anything on Amazon.

Can you buy living flowers? In pots?

As much of the cactus as I could fit in the lens

RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY! – Marilyn Armstrong

Flowers Inside – FOTD – 05/16/19

It is cold. It is raining, just stopped raining, or is about to start raining. Most people still have their heat on. I don’t, but it’s not because we aren’t cold. We are cold, but I can’t afford another tank of fuel.

So, we wear layers of clothing. I’m wearing a wool-blend dress and hoodie with wool slipper socks. Garry is equally warmly dressed, except he’s wearing socks and slippers.

This is all one bouquet. It just looks different depending on the angle.
The flowers inside

The flowers are not doing well. They need sun and they aren’t getting any. I feel guilty looking at the garden. I feel I should be explaining that the weather is not my fault. Garry has to explain this to the dogs, too. They don’t like rain. I don’t blame them.

and some very pink daisies

And so, instead of a garden, we have a bouquet on the living room coffee table. It is bright and cheery. Let’s hear it for bouquets and home-grown flowering plants!