Identifying Perennials in Spring

Once the perennials start pushing through the ground in spring, I sometimes can’t recall what is growing where.  I spent nearly 30 years living in Florida where plants don’t have to hibernate over winter.  Now I’ve had to adjust to not seeing my yard and gardens for months at a time.

Even though I leave the tags near the plant when they are planted, the tags don’t always last.  Some of the larger perennials, like the hydrangeas and peonies are easy to identify.  I also know where the rhododendrons are as they don’t die back.  They are just chewed to nubs by the deer.  This year I discovered that deer eat lilacs too.  We’ve had a hard winter.  I can’t be too mad at them for needing to eat.  I just wish they’d eat plants in another yard and leave mine alone!

I’ve taken some recent photos of the perennials growing this Spring as a reminder of what’s growing where.  It’s a plant identification guide for myself.  Maybe they will help you name some in your yard as well.

I took these photos May 3, 2015.  I live in southwestern New Hampshire.

ID bleeding heart ID Columbine plant in spring ID Coneflower ID Coral Bells ID coral bells2 ID Corepsis ID Monk's Hood ID tall phlox ID wild bleeding heart

A Little About Sunflowers

yellow sunflower poster

Sunflower Poster

Soon the sunflowers will be popping through the soil and by mid-summer their happy blooms will decorate the garden landscape.
Sunflower plants can be tall or short. When mixing varieties be sure to leave enough space between them as they all need lots of sunlight. Seed packs will describe which is which.

Besides bright yellow the petals can be rusty redish orange as in the Autumn Beauty
variety.  (I don’t know what variety this red sunflower is, but it’s pretty.)

red sunflower

Photo by eponaspirit @ Pixabay

I used to plant sunflower seeds until I realized that the squirrels were digging them up as fast as I could plant them! My gardening space is very small, so I don’t need many sunflowers, but a few are nice to have. Because I feed sunflower seeds to the birds in winter, I always have a few volunteers that grow on their own. All I have to do is weed out the ones that are too close together and let the others survive. Of course they don’t always sprout where I would prefer they live, but I can’t be picky. It’s that or no sunflowers, and a summer without sunflowers is just not right!
Here is a picture of my garden last year.

backyard garden scene

My Backyard Garden – 2014

My ‘Celebrity’ tomatoes looked so wonderful right up until they developed late blight, just as they were almost ready to pick, and I never got to eat them.  It was very depressing.
I like the fact that sunflowers grow beautifully on their own.  Usually they mature and have plenty of seeds to feed the birds.  The goldfinches love them.  Although, I have had squirrels climb the stalk and chew off the stem to steal the entire flower! Those little buggers are a real nuisance. Now that I have cats prowling the yard, I haven’t had that problem.
I did however have big green grasshoppers chewing on the flowers. It’s always something. But they were so interesting that I let them eat and got some photos.
grasshopper eating a sunflower

Pictures of Pansies

pictures of pansies white

White Pansies by kapa65 at Pixabay

One of the favorite cool weather flowers is the little pansy.  The pansy is hardy and easy to care for.  In spring they are in all the local stores and are sold like made.  Everyone is ready to brighten their lives with some color after a cold gray winter.  Pansies come in hanging baskets, urns, peat pots, and arrangements.  They are presented just about every way possible.

Many pansies are purple.  And many have purple petals mixed with other colors.  But these happy face flowers come in yellow, orange, white, lavender and red, and combinations of all those colors, as you can see by the pictures of pansies below.

yellow and purple pansy

Photo by ckindschuh at Pixabay

purple and orange pansies

pansy red pansies

Photo by bineshab at Pixabay

pale pink peach pansy

Pale Pink Pansy by Shirley at Pixabay

lavender blue violet pansy

Potted Purple Pansies by cocoparisienne at Pixabay

orange pansies pansy

Orange pansies by bykst at Pixabay

white purple pansy flower

White with Purple by wmope at Pixabay

All these pansy photos are free for use and can be found at the Pixabay site. Many thanks to the photographers for capturing the beauty and variety of these little flowers.

Cold Weather Crops: Lettuce

lettuce growing garden

Growing Lettuce

Some of the best cold weather crops include lettuce. I sprinkle the seeds into my raised bed where I don’t have to worry about disturbing the ground unintentionally. Tomorrow is Saturday and I’ll be outdoors cleaning up the yard a bit. There is a lot to do. I live downhill from the road, and my front yard is right on the road. What this means is that all the sand and salt from the winter plowing and snow-blowing is covering some of my gardens and lawn. There is always a lot of raking to do to remove the old leaves, and the sand along with them. The wheelbarrow has been buried, but I think it’s reachable by now.

I’ll check at Job Lots and see if they have seed packs. Lettuce is easiest to grow from seed. I had good luck with the mixed lettuce seeds last year. I grew some in Spring and Fall, cutting off the small leaves as they grew.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,205 other followers