Running late as the week begins I hurriedly join Cathy with In A Vase On Monday, an opportunity to share an arrangement using materials collected from the garden.
A surprise this morning when I went out to search for flower came in the form of pass-along reblooming iris.
Zinnias have fallen and splayed but continue to flower. Swamp sunflower, also blown over but glorious in the morning sunlight, more pass-along dahlias (featured last week) and a stem of Autumn Joy sedum round out this week’s selections. I placed these in a blue, green and white pitcher by a local potter.
Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)
Hylotelephium telephium ‘Herbstfreude’ (Autumn Joy)
Lantana camara (Common lantana)
Zinnia ‘Cut and Come Again Mix’
Zinnia ‘Burpeeana Giants Mix’
Zinnia elegans ’Cactus Flower Blend’
April has been a gorgeous and floriferous month. I want to invite you along as I make note of some particular enjoyments from my little spring garden.
When featuring white Dutch Iris in a Monday vase on March 28 I mentioned I thought I had planted blues ones this year but could not remember where. Happy to report they are found and blooming this week, not all blue, but rather a mixed collection that is delightful.
To add further to the confusion, I displayed these leaves as part of April’s foliage day. At the time I thought they were alliums. The mystery now is where did I place the alliums.
Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ has given a rewarding show this spring and often I feel the columbine in its midst makes a charming companion.
Unfortunately, this native Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) is becoming unmanageable, drifting to all corners of the garden. I will cut it all back this week but seedlings are everywhere.
With this year’s nice gentle spring, Coreopsis has bloomed well. Although I often see it recommended for summer, it generally stops blooming here when it gets too hot or maybe it is too dry. Then it resumes briefly in autumn.
Nearby, Verbena bonariensis is shooting upwards next to Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft), one of my favorite white flowered plants.
Peonies are ever so close to blooming, 3 in one border and 1 in another. A third border hosts a peony purchased last year that already was in flower. Its foliage looks healthy but does not promise blooms this year.
Foxglove have been difficult to establish in my garden, but I keep trying. I added 3 new plants in early spring, Digitalis Foxlight ‘Ruby Glow’ PPAF (Ruby Glow Foxglove).
Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ was featured in this week’s vase. It grows outside the main enclosed garden at the top of the southern side path and deserves another look.
This morning my attention soon drifted away from the clematis to the spires of Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’ across the path.
Yesterday I just saw two huge yellow Baptisia ‘Carolina Moonlight’ at the N. C. Botanical Garden in full bloom. My own baptisia seems minor by comparison and must really not be in a good spot. It is supposed to be very easy to grow. Nevertheless I enjoyed discovering these blossoms today.
Verbena bonariensis growing in the side path opened just this week.
This yellow bearded iris is a pass-along from my long-ago neighbor Henrietta. Many of the irises in my current garden came from her.
Flowers on this white Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion) began opening last week.
A late-flowering Narcissus showed up this week, but I have not been able to find the tag. I would like to believe these are the one transplanted from my family home about three years ago, but I also bought some similar bulbs after those did not appear the first year.
Iris germanica ‘Immortality’ is beautiful this spring. Here it is growing near Clematis ‘Niobe’.
The grass needs cutting every few days, but that is not happening on schedule. Maybe today it will though before some predicted showers. The meditation circle is on the list for a good clipping and cleanup. Thyme has happily adapted to the center of the labyrinth and beyond, overtaking some of the pavers. The pansies took a while to bulk up after winter. They soon will be replaced with angelonia for summer.
Edging the border just before the labyrinth begins is a nice stand of saliva, Meadow Sage ‘May Night’. This is where the lady bug in the top image was hanging out. (Tradescantia is popping up everywhere too).
At the northeast gate the path is blue with blooms of Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper). There is a lot of sedum mixed with it.
Plenty of tasks await the gardener today but I have been taking time to enjoy the birds, chimes, fragrances and blossoms swaying on gentle breezes. Thanks for visiting.
Of the many undone garden chores this year, pruning clematis, appears not to have been too critical, this one time at least. Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ began blooming April 10. It is much fuller at the base than usual. This was my first clematis and it has been reliable every year to provide a pop a color in the side garden. Usually I prune it in early February.
Last April I added Clematis ‘Henryi’ and Clematis ‘Niobe’ and watched them suffer through a dreadful, hot summer with no idea they would survive.
Sunday, April 17, buds were starting to break open on C. ‘Niobe’ and and the first flower appeared Tuesday, April 19. The early color is deeply red and brightens as the flower ages.
Clematis ‘Niobe’ is planted along the fence in the northern border. My goal is that it should add some color and interest and counter the bright whiteness of the vinyl fence.
C. ‘Henryi’ is in a more sheltered location than the other vines. Buds were visible by March 30 but its first flower opened today, April 22. I was excited enough to scamper out in a drizzle to get pictures.
A few more rainy photographs…
The white iris keeping company with Clematis ‘Niobe’ also bloomed recently, just yesterday in fact. Iris germanica ‘Immortality’ is a frilly white rebloomer with yellow beards. The buds appear lavender.
Iris tectorum is a short iris that spreads prolifically and grows everywhere, even in shade. This is an iris visitors to the garden remark on most frequently. It is also known as Japanese Roof Iris. The Chapel Hill Garden Club’s spring tour takes place in another week. I have noticed in some of the preview publicity that several of the gardens also have this iris.
Finally, nodding peony buds hold great promise.
Our last precipitation was a couple of weeks ago, so I was glad for the rain today.
When I am an old garden I shall wear purple
With a red plant that doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me.
–With apologies to Jenny Joseph (read full poem “Warning“).
In my dream garden there are blues of every sort, purples and greens. A few genteel spots of soft yellow, refined and restrained, break up the space. Accents of sophisticated whites highlight the borders.
But this spring I am loving the over-the-top combinations brought on by a happenstance purchase of dark red snapdragons late last autumn. (A single pink stow-away found its way here too). I grew up believing pink and red did not go together any more than purple and red.
My mantra for this garden always has been based on peace, calm and contemplation. But every morning when I peek out I smile at the riot of color. It is over-the-top. When I am working outdoors the word gaudy bubbles into my thoughts, but I cannot stop smiling.
When my husband and I take breakfast, lunch and supper on the screened porch overlooking the garden, we sigh in amazement and smile. A garden that makes us smile—what more?
So what of this outrageous color? The garden will be 14 years old at the end of May. It is a teenager, not grown old at all, just finding itself.
Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday offers an opportunity to create a floral arrangement from materials gathered in one’s own garden. My irises have been especially enjoyable this spring and I have already posted several times to highlight them. This week, guess what? Irises are in my vases this Monday.
My concept this week was to select as many of the various irises as possible this morning and simply place them all in a big glass vase the way I saw my maternal grandmother do many times.
The irises I gathered this morning were of such varying widths and heights it was easier to divide them among several containers.
I used an assortment of vases, first choosing my purple-hued ones. My sisters have supplied me with interesting vases through the years. This Portmerion botanic vase made in England is quite versatile and lovely.
I did not go on the trip to Scotland and Ireland my sisters enjoyed so much, but this is much better than a t-shirt. This glass vase is very heavy and looks great with pink or white roses and lavender. It was perfect for a few irises today too.
With yet more irises to display I went looking for the hand painted Fenton Glass vase.
I still needed a couple more very tall vases and settled on these. With huge, showy flowers both the nearly black iris and the white ‘Immortality’ grow on very strong thick stems and required very tall sturdy containers for support.
Most of my irises are pass-alongs and as such, I have not selected them myself for style and color—I would like to seek out some special colors. But I have always enjoyed blue/violet flowers.
One of the latest iris to bloom that I have not written about this year is the pale yellow Japanese Iris my sister-in-law gave me from her home in Idaho. I carried this iris with me we we moved to this new garden.
The Siberian Iris is another passalong from a friend who salvaged it from one of her neighbors (along with Japanese Roof Iris). It had become hidden by an evergreen. When the tree died a couple of years ago I rediscovered it and am moving it to different parts of the garden.
The Siberian Iris is also the inspiration for the pastel drawing hanging in the dining room. It was created by our son-in-law in 2009. I did not get a good photograph of it today without reflections, but will try to share it another time.
This bright yellow bearded iris came from a neighbor during last year’s plant exchange. I like its clear, clean color. Some other irises that friends gave me regrettably did not make it through the winter. I think I did not get them planted in time for them to be established well.
Here is one more passalong from my former neighbor Henrietta. There is a large stand of these that has recently opened.
For the sake of documenting bloom times, I will add I was able to find at least one stem of all the irises in my garden, except for these that are finished blooming: Dutch Iris, Iris germanica ‘Batik’, Iris germanica ‘Raspberry Blush’ and a passalong Tall Bearded Iris.
Here is one more look at ‘Immortality.’