Tag Archives: Bearded Iris

May Garden Interests

While irises have captured most of my attention in the garden this spring, other plants have competently played supporting roles and many more are leading the way as transition toward the warmer season takes place.

An amaryllis I have been watching to develop surprised me today when it opened up and was white, not red. I also found one with a red bud nearby.  These flowers did not bloom well last year and I had forgotten the particulars of them.

Hippeastrum (Amaryllis)

Hippeastrum (Amaryllis)

Pincushion Flower is an enchanting name for this plant, nicer sounding than Scabiosa. This plant seldom last more than a couple of seasons in my garden and this is year two. It has been blooming well this year, starting just over a month ago. The cooler temperatures and plentiful rain this spring seem to have kept it happy. If I can force myself to do regular deadheading it will help.

Scabiosa columbaria 'Butterfly Blue'  (Pincushion Flower)

Scabiosa columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue’ (Pincushion Flower)

Scabiosa columbaria 'Butterfly Blue'  (Pincushion Flower)

Scabiosa columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue’ (Pincushion Flower)

Slow to open this year the peony flowers show some browning after heavy rains this week. In the previous two years this ‘Pink Parfait’ bloomed by May 11, but this year, still waiting.

Paeonia 'Pink Parfait'

Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Peony)

A Veronica spicata ‘Pink Goblin’ purchased last year is beginning to bloom. I enjoyed it last year so purchased 3 new ones this winter by mail order, this time ‘Red Fox’ Veronica. They arrived bare-root and are still very small.

Veronica spicata 'Pink Goblin' (Speedwell)

Veronica spicata ‘Pink Goblin’ (Speedwell)

This black iris has a few more blooms open today.

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)  Black Iris

Iris germanica (Bearded iris) Black Iris

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena) has been blooming for a couple of weeks and now several thymes are also beginning to flower. Echinacea is shooting up in many of the borders and forming buds. In the meditation circle Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ and Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ both opened today.

Every Southern garden should have hydrangeas and, thanks to Jayme at EntwinedLife, my garden has a healthy hydrangea that not only has survived, but is forming flowers. Thank you Jayme.

Hydrangea macrophylla

Hydrangea macrophylla

This year I ordered an Allium Raspberry and Cream Collection, which is in fact a mixture of Allium Nigrum and Allium Atropurpureum. One Allium Nigrum is open this week.

Allium Nigrum

Allium Nigrum

To end this this garden tour today I will mention my family’s old-fashioned rose that my grandmother and mother grew. This was passed along eons ago by my mother’s cousin and my dear garden mentor. She shared with me so many of her favorite plants and they have become my favorites too.

Old-fashioned Rose

Old-fashioned Rose

Mid-April, Briefly

I had but a few minutes to enjoy the garden today and notice the many changes, but plan to spend tomorrow finishing up some weeding and planting some recent purchases. The Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) is coming into bloom in various regions around the yard.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)-2

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)-2

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)-2

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)-2

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)-2

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)-2

The Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) near the back corner is blooming unusually well this year.

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Irises are beginning to fill the beds.

Irises, Dogwood–Garden View Looking Southwest

Birds scratch around looking for breakfast, scattering the mulch in the recently planted meditation circle. The labyrinth is calling.

Meditation Circle

Meditation Circle

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – March 2013

It is Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), an opportunity to notice the value foliage plays in the garden, as feature or support. GBFD is hosted by Christine at  Creating my own garden of the Hesperides. This month I have been watching as clumps of perennials shake off some of the ragged winter look and start greening.

Monarda is growing noticeably and it smells delightfully minty. Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ seeded freely last year so there are several tucked into places now other than just in the meditation circle.

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)  and Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) and Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue) began dying out in the meditation circle last summer. Highly drought-tolerant plants, they seemed ideal for this spot, but the summer through winter were unusually wet. Combined with some pesky mole activity the condition of these penstemon worsened.  So nearly half of the Pike’s Peak are gone.  Earlier in the week I pruned the remaining plants and am hoping they will bloom.

Penstemon  mexicali 'Pike's Peak Purple' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue)

Also in the very center of the meditation circle I this week planted a few clumps of Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ (Pink chintz thyme), a low-growing fragrant Thyme,

Thymus serpyllum 'Pink Chintz' (Pink chintz thyme)

Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ (Pink chintz thyme)

Iris leaves are up everywhere. This is Iris ‘Davy Jones’ (Davy Jones Bearded Iris) making its debut this year. It is a Tall Bearded Iris with a purple ruffled bloom. Tall Bearded Iris are among the last to bloom.

Iris 'Davy Jones' (Davy Jones Bearded Iris)

Iris ‘Davy Jones’ (Davy Jones Bearded Iris)

Autumn Joy (Stonecrop) in several spots are contributing interest at this time of year as is an overflowing pot of colorful mixed Sedum that I added to the garden last spring.

Hylotelephium 'Herbstfreude'  Autumn Joy (Stonecrop)

Hylotelephium ‘Herbstfreude’ Autumn Joy (Stonecrop)

Mixed sedum

Mixed sedum

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ is forming a nice mound of fresh leaves.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Shasta Daisy has taken a strong foothold and needs some serious attention to keep it from gaining any more.

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ (Butterfly Gaura) sports colorful leaves this time of year. I have been unhappy with its performance in this location and need to find it a better spot. It became very floppy and did not bloom very well.

Gaura lindheimeri 'Passionate Blush' (Butterfly Gaura)

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ (Butterfly Gaura)

Aegopodium podagraria(bishop’s weed) sprang up through a thick mulch layer this week. I was hoping to suppress it and have for years been wanting to manage it.  This is invasive but lovely as a ground cover and was a pass-along from a dear friend many years ago.

Aegopodium podagraria(bishop's weed)

Aegopodium podagraria(bishop’s weed)

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’ is a nice plant for the front of the border. I’m gradually increasing their number. Looks like I should be dividing this clump but am not sure if it is a good time.

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

So as March winds down many individual plants are contributing their foliage shape, patterns, colors and textures to add interest to the early spring garden. Thanks to Christine at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for hosting GBFD each month.

A Perfect Day In May

Meditation Circle

Today’s weather could not have been more perfect to have a group of friends visit the garden, walk the meditation circle and share a potluck lunch. Cloudless blue skies, low humidity and temperatures in the mid-seventies made for a fine day to be outside.

Inside the labyrinth Penstemon (Beardtongue) hybrids are blooming this week and buzzing with bees.

Penstemons In Meditation Circle

Penstemon  mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ delineates a long stretch of path near an outer edge. Its color is deep and rich violet-purple. Its loose form means it sprawls over into the paths on either side, making it necessary to trim the overhanging flower stalks to help keep visitors safe when walking the labyrinth.

Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue)

Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue)

Marking several turnaround points in the labyrinth is another penstemon cultivar, Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red.’ This variety has a tighter and more upright form, making it more suitable and requiring less maintenance in the narrow space between the paths. Both Penstemon cultivars remained green during this past mild winter.

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

The garden has transitioned away from the focus on roses and irises, but a few Bearded Irises linger.

German Bearded Iris

German Bearded Iris

German Bearded Iris

Yesterday the garden’s peony opened. This is ‘Pink Parfait.’

Peony Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’

Early May Garden Views and Notes – Part 1

Forecasts warned today would be 92 degrees. Since there are a few new things in the garden I spent some time selectively watering them very early this morning. With the garden still sheltered at this time of morning by shade from the house, it was a peaceful time to be outside.

View from the Southern Border

With the grass freshly mown the garden is vibrant.

Tradescantia (Spiderwort) has moved into every available bit of soil, making the garden burst with color during the morning. By mid-day the little blue-violet flowers close up, diminishing the garden’s overall impact. I began cutting back large swaths of spiderwort this morning to make room for emerging echinacea purpurea, liatris spicata, foxglove and maybe a few more plants.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) has bloomed prolifically for six weeks and is beginning to go to seed. I removed many of the flower stalks today to make the garden look tidier and to prevent further proliferation of this native wildflower.

The one-year-old ‘Blue Point’ Juniper hedge is growing well, although I did notice a worrisome brown branch on one. Probably I need to clear some room around the trees to give them adequate sun and air to keep them healthy.

Japanese irises and white and black bearded irises continue to provide color and interest at one end of the southern border. The old-fashioned rose at the other end of the border is waning quickly. A group of Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) caught the early morning sun as light began to enter the garden.

Black Iris

This iris in bud is nearly black, but once opened displays a very deep purple-black. The actual color on the open flower is distinctly darker than photographs captured in today’s early morning light.

This iris is a pass-along plant. It is blooming this year for the first time and makes the gardener happy.

Raspberry Blush

Iris ger. 'Raspberry Blush'

Newly added to the garden in mid-March, this German Bearded Iris ‘Raspberry Blush’ opened today, earlier than anticipated. This has uncovered a bit of a mystery for me.

I dearly love irises and have grown them for years, my irises have all been the unnamed pass-along variety from friends.  I have never studied irises but this winter I read somewhere that there have been so many improvements to irises in the last five years one really should try the newest varieties and be wowed.  I was intrigued and soon afterwards picked up this plant at a local garden center.

Although the plant tag at purchase time indicated NEW, this seems not to be a new iris at all, but rather one from 1976. Maybe it is new for this particular grower, but apparently my garden’s iris situation is still so nineteen-seventies.

I am not really disappointed in this iris—it is lovely—but I was surprised by its color, height and early bloom time.  The coloration is considerably less raspberry pink than expected. Some descriptions  I came across in researching this iris do mention an orange beard and that matches the specimen in my garden. Its height of about 16 inches is appropriate, as ‘Raspberry Blush’ is classified as an Intermediate Bearded (IB) Iris. This classification of iris blooms early, before Tall Bearded.

Iris ger. 'Raspberry Blush'

The three upright petals are called standards and the three hanging petals are the falls. The beard is the fuzzy part in the center of each fall.

Iris ger. 'Raspberry Blush'

I will begin paying more attention to the irises in this garden and look forward to trying some different ones.

The Difference In A Day

This afternoon a Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ flower is unfurling itself in the warm 72 degree sun. Undetectable yesterday, now the Iris germanica (Bearded Iris) flowers buds are fattening with promise.