Tag Archives: Bearded Iris

A Garden Review of 2014: Spring

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) April 13, 2014

Today Cathy at Words and Herbs published a special look back at her 2014 spring garden. I decided to join her on this journey to review the garden in three segments: Spring, Summer, and Late Summer/Autumn – one each week running up to Christmas.

I may do a more extensive review around the first of the year, but for now here are a few things that stood out this Spring.

March

The winter was very cold and wet. The morning of March 4 found the garden encrusted with a layer of sleet. Normally in early March temperatures would be nearing 60F/15.5C. By March 18 daffodils had opened but the garden lay under an icy glaze.

Garden Under Ice - March 4, 2014

Garden Under Ice – March 4, 2014

When the vernal equinox occurred here on March 20, 2014, a most welcome reprieve brought blue sky, sunshine and warm temperatures.

Hyacinthus orientalis (common hyacinth)

Hyacinthus orientalis (common hyacinth)

This Narcissus 'King Alfred' weathered the recent ice storm

This Narcissus ‘King Alfred’ weathered an ice storm

By the end of March I was way behind on garden chores. It was still raining, but the spiraea was blooming and the grass was turning green.

Garden View In Early Morning Rain-March 29, 2014

Garden View In Early Morning Rain-March 29, 2014

April

What a difference flipping over a calendar page makes. On April 4 the temperature was 79°F (26°C) at 7:00pm. The native redbud was blooming, spiraea was bursting with blossoms, and the soft green leaves of Eastern red columbine were unfurling.

Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud)

Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud)

Spiraea

Spiraea

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

By mid-April it was still raining.  The garden seemed to be lifting itself upward, turning green, and filling out.

Garden View On Rainy Mid-April Morning

Garden View On Rainy Mid-April Morning

In time for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day there was plenty of fresh new growth.

Northern Border View Facing West

Northern Border View Facing West, April 23, 2014

It pleased me to no end to see an Anemone coronaria in my garden this spring. I had planted 40 bulbs, but rather late, and only one came up. Was it too late? Did the voles eat them? I do not really know, but yesterday I planted a new set of bulbs, so I hope to see many more next spring.

Anemone coronaria 'Governor' (Governor Double Poppy Anemone)

Anemone coronaria ‘Governor’ (Governor Double Poppy Anemone), April 23, 2014

By the time April ended the irises were lighting up the borders.

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)-2

Iris germanica (Bearded iris) April 28, 2014

Iris germanica 'Raspberry Blush'

Iris germanica ‘Raspberry Blush’

Iris germanica ‘Batik’

Iris germanica ‘Batik’

May

In early May there were many more wonderful irises to enjoy. This part of the year is when my garden is most enjoyable.

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)  (bearded German Iris)-3

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica 'Immortality'

Iris germanica ‘Immortality’

By May 10 there were still more irises and I was enjoying their rich blues and violets.

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris) In Northern Border

Iris germanica (Bearded iris) In Northern Border

Other colors than blues do show up in the garden though. Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) and Tradescantia (Spiderwort) were spilling over in the western border a few days later, May 14. The aquilegia had been blooming 5 weeks by then.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) and Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) and Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

May brought more happiness as irises in the (southward facing) North Border were joined by lush peonies, phlox, nepeta, foxglove and Sweet William. Here are some views from May 21. If only the garden could stay like this.

Paeonia 'Pink Parfait' (Peony)

Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Peony)

Paeonia 'Pink Parfait' (Peony)

Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Peony)

Nepeta 'Walker's Low' (Catmint), Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint), Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

Digitalis purpurea 'Pam's Choice' (Pam's Choice Foxglove)

Digitalis purpurea ‘Pam’s Choice’ (Pam’s Choice Foxglove)

Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William)

Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William)

A big thanks to Cathy for inspiring me to prepare this garden review. As I am trying to consider changes for this coming year, it was instructive to reflect on my 2014 spring garden.

May Flowers

Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’

Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’

The garden found its confidence this week, reaching that special springtime peak of blooms that brings abundance, exuberance and balance. It brought such enjoyment and excitement I could hardly contain myself. I checked on the garden’s progress over and over throughout each day and it filled my thoughts even when I had to be elsewhere.

This spring, unlike the past few, I have not been able to dedicate my time to gardening, and when I had time I often did not feel that pull of the garden’s magic calling me to come out and play. This means the weeding has never been quite finished; tradescantia, columbine, common roadside daylilies and other unruly spreaders have not been brought under control; no compost or mulch has been carefully laid to accentuate the beds. But, the garden forgave all this and rewarded me anyway with, as my pbmGarden tagline suggests, a sense of place, purpose, rejuvenation and joy.

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ is a true delight at the top of the Southern side path near the entrance to the main garden. Native Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’ (visible in the middle right-hand side) is just coming into flower in front of a mound of Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood). Sunny yellow bearded irises have been blooming for two full weeks and were among the first irises to open.

Clematis 'Jackmanii' in Southern Side Path

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ in Southern Side Path

The southern border is full of pale yellow Japanese Iris and a few Iris germanica (Bearded iris), such as this dark, almost black, one.

Iris germanica (Bearded iris) in Southern Border

Iris germanica (Bearded iris) in Southern Border

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Yesterday one of this border’s three peonies opened. All three were planted last year. One, Paeonia lactiflora ‘Black Beauty’ (Nightlife Peony), has no buds this year, so it must want another year to mature. Another peony came from a plant exchange in my neighborhood and has a few buds. It is Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima.’

This white one with red accents was purchased as Paeonia lactiflora ‘Duchess de Nemours’ but it turned out to be Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’. [Thanks to Chloris for identifying it.]

Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’

Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’

Farther down the border are two rose bushes, the same old-fashioned one featured in my last Monday vase. This special pass-along rose is full of pink blossoms. Nearby, visible in the lower left, is a newly added smooth hydrangea, Hydrangea arborescens Incrediball ‘Abetwo’. Incrediball was recommended last year by Carolyn.

Old-fasioned Rose

Old-fasioned Rose

In nearly opposite position, on the northern side of the garden, another of these roses is growing, alongside a huge clump of Tradescantia (Spiderwort).
Tradescantia (Spiderwort) and Old fasioned Rose

The northern border is full of Iris germanica (Bearded iris). This dusky lavender one is another pass-along from my friend Henrietta. It is one of the latest to open.

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

This nearly black bud is the same Iris germanica (Bearded iris) as the one shown earlier that was blooming in the southern border. It will open to a dark purple.

Nearly black Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Nearly black Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

I adore this Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William) and began last year trying to re-establish it in my garden. It seems a rather old-fashioned flower that I do not see growing often. The bloom carries a sweet fragrance.

Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William)

Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William)

Yet another Iris from my friend Henrietta many years ago, this has pale lavender standards and regal purple falls tinged with oxblood and white.

Iris germanica (Bearded iris) In Northern Border

Iris germanica (Bearded iris) In Northern Border

Iris germanica (Bearded iris) In Northern Border

Iris germanica (Bearded iris) In Northern Border

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’, Tradescantia (Spiderwort), Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox) and Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint) are all in bloom, filling the Northern Border with color and just filling it in general. It was not long ago that the borders seemed empty.

Northern Border

Northern Border

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’, Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’, Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’, Tradescantia (Spiderwort), Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’, Tradescantia (Spiderwort), Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox) In Northern Border

Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox) In Northern Border

This Phlox is another pass-along from my garden mentor that I have grown now for many years. It just began blooming in the last couple of days.

Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox) In Northern Border

Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox) In Northern Border

Also opening this week, Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint) is easy to grow and low maintenance. It works well as a front of the border plant.

Nepeta 'Walker's Low' (Catmint)

Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint)

Behind the Nepeta another peony, Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ is preparing to bloom.

eony Paeonia 'Pink Parfait'

Peony Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’

Here is a longer view, looking down the length of the northern border toward the west. I had to remove some winter-damaged trees from the western border, leaving a few problem areas I try to spin as growth opportunities.

Northern Border With Meditation Circle

Northern Border With Meditation Circle

There are a lot of other individual plants creating interest when viewed close-up, but I must leave them for another time. I will wrap this up for today with a few general garden views of the May garden.

Garden View With Meditation Circle

Garden View With Meditation Circle

Garden View With Meditation Circlw

Garden View With Meditation Circlw

Garden View With Meditation Circle

Garden View With Meditation Circle

Garden View Toward Southwest Corner

Garden View Toward Southwest Corner

Garden View Toward Southern Border

Garden View Toward Southern Border

Hope your garden is making you happy today.

 

More Irises

Iris germanica 'Immortality'

Iris germanica ‘Immortality’

This is my favorite time in my garden. This is the time of year where I have to check on the garden morning, noon and night because the plants are changing so quickly and flowers seem to open while my back is turned.

I started an end-of-the-month summary for April but could not find time to complete it. Ditto, first-of-May. Perhaps I will post an overview later when things slow down, just for my records. Tonight I would like to share a few more irises.

Christina asked the other day if my white iris was open yet and yes, it opened that same day. If you read this blog regularly you will not be surprised to learn this white iris was a pass-along, so I am not positive about the name. I think this is Iris germanica ‘Immortality.’ It reblooms in fall, which makes it especially easy to recommend.

Iris germanica 'Immortality'

Iris germanica ‘Immortality’

I showed the Japanese roof iris in Iris Musings, but I was drawn back to it when I noticed the coloration and pattern on this bud.

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Another pass-along iris from my friend Henrietta bloomed two days ago. So far it is the only one of this color. I have decided I should try to mark it and divide it later this summer.

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)  (bearded German Iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris) (bearded German Iris)

I researched this iris using a description I thought fit it pretty well: dusky pink standards, burgundy falls. canary yellow beard. I immediately found a good candidate, Tall Bearded Iris Jacquesiana, which may go back to at least 1839.

Then another possibility emerged, perhaps Tall Bearded Iris ‘Prosper Laugier’ which goes back to 1914. It was described as “a smokey lavender, velvety violet-carmine veined bicolor.” I became fascinated reading the coloring descriptions of irises and became quite side-tracked. ‘Prosper Laugier’ seems a good match but it is impossible for me to to know with certainty. If you recognize this iris I would appreciate your help.

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)  (bearded German Iris)-3

Iris germanic a with May Night salvia

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)  (bearded German Iris)-2

Have a great weekend everyone. I will be touring gardens this weekend and helping out as a garden guide with the Chapel Hill Spring Garden Tour. I expect to come back to my own little garden with lots of great ideas and inspirations.

Meditation Circle

Meditation Circle

Iris Musings

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

The first irises began opening over the last several days marking a major milestone as spring travels though my garden. This yellow Iris germanica (Bearded iris) is always among the first iris to bloom each year.  It is a special pass-along from my friend and  former neighbor, Henrietta.

Years ago Henrietta grew beautiful bearded iris her mother had obtained from a friend who grew them for a local florist. One July she divided them and sent her son to all the nearby homes to deliver copious quantities of leftover rhizomes. As a young working mother gardening was not a big part of my life then and I left the plastic bag outdoors for weeks without really giving much thought to the treasure within.

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

 

Eventually I did plant them, but didn’t understand not to bury the rhizome, so the next spring they failed to bloom. My friend assured me they would bloom the next year, which they did, and they have bloomed every year since.

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)-2

I brought some of these irises to my current garden nearly thirteen years ago and when the stalks emerge and fat buds form, when the first tip of color is revealed and finally the inflorescence follows, the irises feel like comfortable companions, old friends getting together again after a long time apart.

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Henrietta and I stayed in touch after she moved away from the old neighborhood, but sadly one year her Christmas card was returned unopened and I have never known an ending to the story. A nice thing about pass-alongs is the way they keep relationships and memories going.

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris) is another pass along plant from another special family friend. When my garden was on a small local garden tour in the neighborhood last year, everyone who stopped by marveled at it and I passed along many bags of rhizomes.

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

One of the few irises I have actually purchased, Iris germanica ‘Raspberry Blush,’ was added to the garden March 2012. It is among the first to bloom.

Iris germanica 'Raspberry Blush'

Iris germanica ‘Raspberry Blush’

Iris germanica 'Raspberry Blush'

Iris germanica ‘Raspberry Blush’

Iris germanica 'Raspberry Blush'

Iris germanica ‘Raspberry Blush’

Iris germanica ‘Batik’ is another iris I purchased and have always enjoyed. Its batik markings are pretty unusual.

Iris germanica ‘Batik’

Iris germanica ‘Batik’

On a side note I have grown this Hippeastrum (Amaryllis) several years now. It spent the winter in the garage without attention. I moved it to the back screen porch a month ago and gave it a drink or two of water. There is only one flower head on this stalk and only one stalk. Several more amaryllis are planted in the garden. They are making slow progress toward flowering but this one looks promising.

Hippeastrum (Amaryllis)

Hippeastrum (Amaryllis)

 

 

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – April 2014

Northern Border View Facing West

Northern Border View Facing West

Yesterday was Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), hosted by Christina at Garden of the Hesperides. Though it will be a day late I want to join in the monthly focus on foliage as early spring is a time of year when I especially enjoy the foliage in my garden.

Spring marks a joyful point in an incredible cycle of nature, one I experience with new wonder each year. Fresh growth and tender green hues rejuvenate my gardener’s spirit as the perennials emerge and the borders transform from mostly soil to mostly plants.

The northern border has filled in seemingly overnight after some nice warm days. Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint), trimmed heavily a few weeks ago to remove last year’s growth, makes a nice low plant for the front edge of the border. This border is filled with Iris germanica (Bearded iris), Iris sibirica (Siberian Iris) and Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris).

Nepeta 'Walker's Low' (Catmint) and Iris in Northern Border

Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint) and Iris in Northern Border (looking toward west)

Below and to the right of the catmint is a path with a patch of mixed sedum. The sedum overwinters well and I will soon be relocating much of it to the devil’s strip between the sidewalk and street in front of our house where grass does not like to grow. (Architectural Review Board application was approved.)

Mixed Sedum

Mixed Sedum

In my garden there are lots of silvery leaved plants. I enjoy the color and texture of these Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) and Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) and especially in early spring the Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood) is beautiful.

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) and Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear)

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) and Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

Artemisia 'Powis Castle' (Wormwood)

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

Creeping Lemon Thyme overwintered in this pot along the southern side path. Stems of Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) is aggressively exploring this bed.

Creeping Lemon Thyme and Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Creeping Lemon Thyme and Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Planted last spring Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William) promises to perform better this year. It is looking vigorous, unlike last year.

Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William)

Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William)

A generous patch of woody-stemmed Chrysanthemum is a welcome sight, a pass-along plant from my garden mentor many years ago.

Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ will reach 6 feet tall but for now it makes a large clump of green near the gate of the southern entrance. I need to find time to divide this.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

To the right of the rudbeckia, just as the path turns the corner toward the gate to the main garden, sits a Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ loaded with buds after a heavy pruning in late winter.

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Visit Christina at Garden of the Hesperides to see what foliage she is highlighting this month and find links to other participants.

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