Monday, March 31, 2008

Pictures of the Garden

I love the digital camera, and some day I will figure out how to work it. J took these pictures because I'd set the exposure too high and all of my garden shots came out overexposed. So he showed me how to check the exposure to make sure it wasn't set for candlelight when I was outside on a sunny day. The pictures above, which refuse to lay out correctly, no matter what I do, are of the pot collection on the south-east wall and the Plum Crazy azalea.

At left is a fringe flower that we brought with us from Oakland. It's about ten years old now. Fringe flower has traditionally been grown as a hedge, but this one has lived its life in a pot. In recent years more people have begun using it as an accent plant. It blooms sporadically throughout the year and the reddish foliage provides a good contrast to the green leaves of other plants. I now have three of these. And yes, I did take this picture and it is somewhat overexposed.

This somewhat overexposed picture is of one of my Japanese maples, just as it was beginning to leaf out. All of the Japanese maples are now in full leaf. I acquire these a twigs, raising them from infancy. When I brought home my first one, a Burgandy Laceleaf, J said, "You paid $20 for a stick?!" That one is now four years old and sits just outside our living room window. The others have been moved to sunnier locations, as their leaves need more sun to show off their colors well.

Because the left side of my yard is in shade most of the time, that territory has lots of ferns. But I've found that helleborus also likes it shady. For most of the year it's just foliage, but it blooms for six weeks to two months (from the middle/end of February through the end of April), and so provides a welcome contrast to the various greens of the ferns nearby. Flowers come in several colors--from white to pink and red. They seem to be fairly long-lived, even in pots, although I do have to cut back some of the blackened foliage at the end of winter. And they require regular water. They wilt badly if the don't have enough moisture.

At left is my Chilean flowering maple just before it bloomed. It bloomed nicely for about a week and then wilted completely. I don't know what's wrong with it; we planted it in the ground and are hoping that it survives. At least I am. J saw it and asked me why I'd planted a weed in a pot.

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