5/18/11

Afternoon Walk


I went outside to hang a new bird feeder today.  This one is specifically made to attract woodpeckers.  Reader, Otterdaughter,  informed me that a suet feeder would attract them.  I know we have woodpeckers because I can hear them.  I've just never seen one at our feeders.  The bottom part is supposed to enable them to balance on their tails as they peck at the suet.  I hope it works; and thank you, Otterdaughter, for suggesting it! 

That was all I planned to do, but it was such a beautiful day that I couldn't resist checking things out in the yard.  The rhododendrons are starting to open.  We have lots of rhododendrons because they grow so well in Oregon.  When you go on hikes in the woods on the coast, you can find them growing wild.  Heck, we have a whole town on Mt. Hood called "Rhododendron."  It's wonderful when they open because there are so many colors, and their blossoms are so big and showy.



Other Oregon garden stars are the azaleas, which also are just starting to open.  (The deer eat them too, but they don't do too much damage--not like the tulips.)


Speaking of tulips, the purple ones are starting to open now. 


So many things are just starting to open.  I think we might actually have spring and summer this year after all.  It's looking more hopeful all the time.  The wisteria arching over our front door is just now starting to bud out.  In a week or so, this will be covered with lovely lavender cascades of flowers.



I'm told these have been reclassified as a noxious weed.  I'm not sure how that's possible when they have such beautiful flowers.  Noxious.  Hmph.  When they bloom, I'll show you and you can decide for yourself.

The clematis is open now, and it's covered with these pretty purple flowers. 



We have another that blooms red, but it's only just now starting to grow its green shoots.  The bearded iris are just starting to head up.



This is one of the most beautiful beds I have growing in my garden.  Wait until these bloom.  Of course, I need the rain to hold off while they're at it.  Some years, the flowers just fill with water and rot before they get a chance to open.

These are wild strawberries that I dug up in the woods and planted as a ground cover.  They have to share space with my culinary herbs, and I'm having to whack them back all the time to keep them controlled.  Still, I like it when they bloom, and they make tiny little strawberries, about the size of a currant.  They aren't good for anything except eating off the vine, but I still like them.



Erik and Mae gave me some Hood strawberries.  They are the best!  We have to share them with the squirrels and the deer.  From four plants, I have a bed that is now about 8 x 8 feet.  Maybe there'll be enough this year for everyone to have some.  Wouldn't that be nice?  The Hoods share their bed with these little "hens and chickens," given to me by some friends for my 50th birthday.  (Ahem . . . I'm sure that's a typo because I'm sure I never actually reached that age.) 


I started with just a few of these, and they've filled in nicely around a big rock.  They are a type of succulent, and they'll bloom with a strange prehistoric-looking flower later on in the year.



(This is an image I grabbed off the internet.  Same thing.)

Remember what I said about this plant with the red showy leaves?  It's finally doing it's thing, good and proper.



I planted this catnip for George and Gracie the other day.  I have to surround it with rocks so that Gracie doesn't roll on it and kill it.


You can see that they've already bitten it pretty badly.  In my experience, it's hard to kill, but George and Gracie can get the job done.  (Kitties:  "Nip.  Yum.")

After that, George talked me into going down into the woods.  It's good to go down at different times of the day.  Usually, I sew in the afternoon and walk in the morning.  Today, I did it the other way around.  I saw some things I've never seen before, and so I was glad we went.  George lagged behind for some reason.  I think I was walking too fast to suit him.  He wanted more petting time.



Thanks again to reader, Otterdaughter, for identifying these as False Solomon's Seal in my previous walking post.  She informed me that the little white buds I was seeing were indeed tiny flowers and that I could expect them to last for only a day or two.  And lookie here!



Also, the larger ones bloomed a little differently.  Are these male vs. female?  Anyone know?  They appear to be the same plant.



I love when my macro lens allows me to see little tiny veins and striations in the flowers.  These are Canada violets.



I don't know what these are.  A different kind of violet maybe?  Their foliage is completely different.



And here's something else I've never seen open before, but they were everywhere this afternoon.



I love how these open like little Japanese fans.


George refused to walk another step further until he got proper petting on his petting tree.


I can never get enough of these little ferns as they unfurl.  My son, Matthew, saw a different image of these once and wondered if they were fractals.


Usually when we walk through the woods, we walk across the top side, then down a hill, then up another hill, then double back and go down another hill and around to where the corner of our property meets with our three other neighbors (I call it the Four Corners).  Then we go up another hill and out.  (Did you follow that?)  But sometimes, we just go up the first hill and out without doubling back.  We end up at the north property line, and there's different stuff to see there.  Here's one of our more colorful patches of weeds. 



(We have lots of weeds.  In our view, weeds constitute sustainable gardening.)  But what I really wanted to check on is this foxglove I discovered a couple of years ago.  It grows in the shade of a fir tree, and I think it might be my one successful sprout from all the wild foxglove seeds I tried sowing over the years.



Last year it bloomed for the first time, and it managed to survive the winter.  Once they start growing, they are self-seeding, and I should have them every year now.

So that's about it for today's walk.  Mike came in a while ago, so I guess that's my cue to start dinner.  Tonight I'm reheating the leftover chili stew I made on Sunday.  (I imagine there will be enough to freeze and have again after tonight.) 

I'll continue to keep you posted on the growth of all things in the garden and the woods, whether wild or cultivated.  And if you know the names of things, don't hesitate to speak up!  I appreciate all of your suggestions and your collective wealth of knowledge more than you can imagine.

4 comments from clever and witty friends:

Snoodles said...

More awesome macro work! I love stopping by and seeing these. I don't know about noxious....usually I thought that was a bad smell...but I definitely will agree that the wisteria is a weed. Gorgeous, yes, but a weed nonetheless!
Aw, I'm just letting my frustration get the better of me! I have one here that I've tried to contain for 20 years! It is still trying to take over the world! But at least it is pretty and smells good while it tries!
Jacque in SC
quiltnsrep(at)yahoo(dot)com

otterdaughter said...

Gosh, I'm all blushing over here from the kudos you gave me in your post! I just love to share knowledge with others like my grandpa did with me.

Heck with them classifying wisteria as a weed. The powers that be think butterfly bush is one too, but I think it's beautiful, so there! Now Scotch Broom, THAT'S a weed.

Your similar but different flowering plants are related, but different species. The tiny starlike flowering is smilacina stellata and the other is smilacina racemosa, or the Large Smilacina. Kissing cousins! Both are commonly called False Solomon's Seal.

The dainty little striped flowers are actually from the purslane family instead of the violet family, and are commonly called Candyflower. (montia sibirica)

The darker pink are called Filaree or Storkbill, for the shape of the seed pod that emerges after the flower fades. It's a member of the geranium family and is an introduced species from Europe a hundred years ago or so and well naturalized.

The tiny red and yellow blooms on the Vine Maple are delicate, aren't they? Too bad they cause a lot of the allergy problems this time of year.

Your Foxglove is a biennial and only flowers on the second year. You should have an ever-growing clump of them soon. I assume you know not to let George or any of the other critters chew on it...

Oh, and before you get too impressed with me, I have to admit that I have to look up the latin names for things in my handy dandy reference book. :)

Karen in Port Orchard

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

So much to learn; many thanks.

quiltzyx said...

I always feel so refreshed & healthy after going on these walks with you...LOL

Beautiful photos, I can practically smell them all.

Love that first pic of George! He looks like he's going "Humpf!!"