More little white flowers…

IMG_0402A month or two ago, I decided to take out my Japanese Snowbell. But, not until after flowering. The heavenly scent that envelops the neighborhood when it does, is marvelous! Of course, now that it is in full, exuberant bloom, I’m again waffling on my decision. It’s not that I don’t like the tree, but it was planted by the former owner in such a wonky spot. He told us he had wanted a “shade tree” – which kind of made me laugh. Shade trees are big things – like Chestnuts, Oaks or Elms, with massive trunks and canopies – not dinky little 25′ ornamentals. But still – he was somewhat right. I bet, at its current height, it really does provide some shelter from the southern sun, even if this cooling effect will never, ever  truly affect our second story – especially on a 100F + day like today. Anyway, where it currently is, it takes up a lot of room, as it was planted on the centerline of the backyard, about two-thirds down from the property line toward the house. I should have moved it when I still had a chance. Maybe I’ll just compromise a little, and trim it up some.

Thousands of fragrant, white flowers weigh down the branches of my Japanese Snowbell in May.

Thousands of fragrant, white flowers weigh down the branches of my Japanese Snowbell in May.

Autumn fern and Styrax flowers

It rarely snows in Portland, but in my garden, pretty white stuff covers the floor twice, in rather quick succession in spring. First, the bracts of the row of Viburnums along the west side fence, layer the ground and everything on it. A few weeks later, it’s the Snowbell’s turn to blanket the world with flowers.

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Sure, the little white flowers might look a little messy – especially as they start to shrivel. But it’s a nice kind of messy. The real pain comes later, when the tree drops all its fruits. They are hard to rake up as they are about the size of, and roll around like pea gravel.  But, if you fail to remove them, you will have armies of seedlings the following spring. This is where I usually go wrong. Seeing all those little starts carpeting the beds in spring is daunting – there are so many better ways to spend a few hours in the garden than pulling those infernal little things! Maybe I need to invest in one of those leaf vacuum things…?


See what I mean?

See what I mean?


About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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18 Responses to More little white flowers…

  1. linda says:

    I was silly and placed all my agave, cactus ,succulent collection on top of an old tree stump , too near the Philadelphus , which is dropping white petals …I’ll be carefully trying to pick them off with , maybe chop sticks or something 😦

    • annamadeit says:

      Ouch Linda – you’ll need one of those surgical instruments that Andrew gave Loree. Can’t remember the name of it, but it was perfect!

  2. I’d be loathe to pull it out too – it’s such a lovely thing. I do appreciate the litter/self-seeding problem, though. The Albizia julibrissin I inherited with the garden litters all year – some periods of the year are worse than others but it never stops and the seedlings pop up everywhere. I have one of those vacuums but it’s not easy to lug about so I spend summer doing a lot of sweeping. Still, the tree occupies a pivotal location in my backyard and, sitting at the edge of a steep slope, it’d be virtually impossible to replace. And then there’s the added complication of the foliage-hating neighbor up the street who’d probably protest any replacement over 10 feet…

    • annamadeit says:

      I remember you writing about your woes about that tree before. Too bad it’s so messy, but I think you’re probably right. Better leaving it in place and deal with the mess than try to deal with re-establishing a new tree, appeasing neighbors, etc. I feel for you… I will try the sweeping approach!

  3. I feel you pain and would LOVE to get rid of mine, unfortunately they’re in the parking strip so the city gets a say in the matter.

    • annamadeit says:

      Do they really have a say in such small trees? I thought it was more with larger trees, but am probably wrong… I mean, how would one even distinguish such a thing? Besides, isn’t it okay to remove them if you plant new ones? Of a kind you actually like? One should hope…

  4. Peter/Outlaw says:

    It’s such a beautiful tree and fragrant to boot. A leaf blower and shop vac have so many great applications like getting the little white things out of agaves and yuccas and blowing the green marbles into piles and vacuuming the little buggers up.

  5. Chloris says:

    It is such a pretty tree and so generous with its blooms. But what is it? Latin please.

  6. A lovely record, Anna

  7. FlowerAlley says:

    Tough choice. I hate mess, sooooo.

  8. Cath says:

    Wow, I have so many worse kinds of mess than that 🙂 But annoying that it’s in the wrong place. I think I might plant one.

  9. hb says:

    Beautiful thing–messy has it’s price, eh?

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