Wednesday, May 26, 2021

The First Daylily

close-up of bright yellow daylily Stella de Oro

Daylilies (Hemerocallis) grow quite well here.  Indeed, the species H. fulva, with its rich, rusty orange blooms, has naturalized as a roadside or farm margin wildflower.

I planted the bright yellow dwarf "Stella de Oro" in my little border, certain that it would thrive and provide color through the summer months.  "Stella" was the first everblooming daylily, developed by amateur breeder Walter Jablonski in 1975.  It is still widely sold and with good reason.  It supplies color and reliability, and it was a good choice for a small space, such as this one!

Monday, May 24, 2021

Ring Around Some Roses

rosebuds, hellebore flowers, and a heuchera leaf for In a Vase on Monday

Today's vase (if such it can be called) makes use of the first rosebuds and the last hellebores.  Also of my very reliable heuchera, in the form of one largish leaf.

I remain convinced that this noID miniature rosebush is an unlabeled plant of 'Daniela', which I grew in Arizona.  What other deep red mini will shoot rapidly to knee-high and taller, then explode into half a hundred flowerbuds?  Whatever it is, it's been a bright spot in the garden ever since I planted it.

The hellebore is H. x 'Ivory Prince'.  It opens just as the earliest bulbs are finishing, providing extra interest as the spring season moves from squill and rock irises to mid-season Narcissus.  I didn't expect it to last all the way to the first roses, but here we are, though some might argue that the blooms are a little past 'lasting', being rather tattered by now.

And the marbled red leaf comes from Heuchera 'Carnival Rose Granita', or so I think.  At any rate it was from the Carnival series, which is said to be a hybrid Villosa, good for heat tolerance.

close-up of rosebuds, hellebore flowers, and a heuchera leaf for In a Vase on Monday

The lovely, small, blue dish was made by my friend, Canadian potter Rosie Sarich.  It is a saucedish from a larger nacho set I ordered from her, and I have kept it out from the packing because it is so useful, though I didn't expect to use it as a vase!

But I have to be quite creative about containers at present because just about everything is now packed onto the moving trailer.  And the trailer is locked and due to be picked up tomorrow.  

So we are eking out our last efforts here before hitting the road. An AC repair on our truck, packing the few things we've kept with us, some last clean-up, and a job I have put off as long as I well could--digging my irises to pot up some of the rhizomes.  None are quite to the dormant stage yet though I've waited as long as possible.  But they are sturdy, vigorous plants and will hopefully forgive and survive my timing!

Meantime, the miniature rose is taking over the show in my tiny border.  It is transitioning from late spring to early summer here.

At least I managed to post this week; last Monday I was still dealing with no internet, thanks to a lightning strike that destroyed the only thing left vulnerable in our electric outlets: the modem.  I still say it was sheer bad luck as there really wasn't very much lightning, just a few close strikes.  One did the job! With everything else that was happening, it took me awhile to get the replacement issue sorted.  All done now, though, and a Monday vase to cheer us on!

Thanks, as always, to Cathy for hosting In a Vase on Monday!  

rosebuds, hellebore flowers, and a heuchera leaf for In a Vase on Monday

Saturday, May 15, 2021

A Quick Hike With Wildflowers


With our house on the market, we have to find someplace to go while it's being shown.  This morning's outing took us to a trailhead for the Katy Trail, which is a 237 mile trail across much of the state of Missouri.  Much of it runs along old railroad tracks; and the name derives from the Missouri-Kansas-Texas railroad, or MKT.  Hence Katy.  A very typical Missourism!

We certainly did not hike very far along it ourselves, but we did photograph a few wildflowers we found growing by the side of the trail.

There was quite a bit of Tradescantia virginiana or possibly T. ohlensis, the spiderwort (above).

There were spreading bushes of Rosa multiflora (below), sadly an invasive species here.  (Reader, I have grown it here myself before I knew its proclivities for world domination; it was a mistake!)

And there was this lovely pink-purple flower, which I have yet to identify.  One friend has already suggested Lunaria, but the leaves aren't right for that, though the flowers are similar.  The leaves look rather like Phlox, in fact--long, lanceolate and deep green.  But I don't know any Phlox species that would quite match the flowers and the 3 ft height...

So that was my little jaunt, other than the honeysuckle, which is also a problematic invasive, but gave off its wonderful scent in the rainy air.  Here it is clambering upwards, as it does!

Monday, May 10, 2021

In a Vase on Monday, But I've Packed All the Vases!


Iris Amigo in the front border

Dear friends,

I feel rusty beginning a blog post after a year of not blogging.  Even rustier attempting to do so on this, my old Blogger site!  But I intend to change things around on my website, and I want to test out the possibilities of using a dedicated blogging platform again.

Meantime it is Monday...

...and I have indeed packed all my vases (more on that shortly).  I located a canning jar for today's bounty of irises--more on them also!

My posy is haphazard to say the least, but I am much too exhausted to do more with it!  Here we have the lovely apricot-brown iris Jean Cayeux and the equally magical purple and lavender iris Amigo.  Also a few sprigs of Heuchera.

I have wanted to celebrate In a Vase on Monday time and again and again.  In fact, there have been Mondays when I have managed to pick and arrange flowers and even to photograph them.  But the entire process from flowers to post has been a bit beyond me over the past year.  I've had to deal with ongoing chronic pain issues, along with a good many other things, and I just couldn't manage to keep the blog going.

But life is changing at last.  So here is a post for the wonderful IaVoM with Cathy at Rambling in the Garden

As I said in the title, my vases are packed, and my irises will also soon be "packed".

Upon moving to Missouri at the start of 2019, we intended to move back to the southwest as soon as possible, ideally in eighteen to twenty-four months.  We are just at twenty-eight months, and we are on the cusp of heading to our newly purchased home north of Tucson, Arizona.  Our house here is under contract. Granted, it has taken about seven months since we began the whole process, but still, perhaps we haven't done too badly on the scheduling, given the difficulties of recent times!

At the moment, I don't really want to say too much about our experiences here in the Midwest.  It has proven a difficult time for my sister and me, and I would not choose to return here again.  Ever. The countryside is precious and beautiful and sweet, and we were able to stop the financial bleed we were facing.  But the hatred and insanity we have all seen play out on the national scale over the past few years are very present and very real here.  The lack of kindness and of normal human respect for anyone or anything is abysmal.  Everything we have achieved here (and we have made some progress in our lives) has been done long-distance or entirely alone.  Enough said!  We are moving away!

In the meantime, I did manage to plant about half of a border.  Some of it you may have seen before I stopped blogging altogether.  But as we are at the height of the iris season right now, I thought I would present my entire little collection of standard bearded irises--all four of them.

These are all so-called historic irises.  I'm not sure what the accepted date for "historic" may be, but each of these was introduced before 1940.  They have a grace and simplicity that I find delightful.
Mary Geddes

It seems impossible so far to capture the thrill of the rich, earthy, ochre hues on Mary Geddes.  She is quite a beauty, though looking ever-so-slightly weather-beaten here after everything was doused in quarter-sized hailstones a couple of nights ago.  She remains undaunted however, and supplies much-appreciated brilliance on even cloudy days.

She and Jean Cayeux (below) are the latest to flower, having opened their first blooms each on the same morning.
Jean Cayeux
Jean Cayeux is also apricot-brown, but in a somewhat more yellow tone and more even color.  It was introduced in France in 1931 and has contributed to the development of later tan- and brown-hued irises since then.  This is not to say it has been superseded.  It has its own inimitable grace and a soft, pale, summery color that brightens to a vibrant apricot when the sunlight falls through the petals.
My original order included a very pretty-looking nineteenth century plicata.  As there was no notification of replacement, I have to assume the arrival of this gorgeous purple and lavender-blue iris instead was a labeling error, but what a lovely error!  My sister helped me surf through photos online, and we have little doubt that this is Amigo, introduced in 1934 and awarded in 1945 by the English Iris Society.
Indian Chief

This splendid wine and gold and bronze and almost-pink classic was introduced in 1929, making it the oldest variety I am growing thus far.  It is said to be a common noID variety in the eastern US, thanks to its durability as well as prevalence of planting over the years.  For me, it has been the earliest tall bearded iris to bloom both last year and this.

I posted about it last year as well, just before I ceased posting altogether; and my picture then does it more justice as I was still using my camera instead of my phone.  (Note: there is nothing wrong with my camera at present, only with my computer!  It takes digital gymnastics to post camera photos at present. I haven't got the energy!)

Well, there is one more thing I must share though it has nothing to do with the garden.  Last summer saw the birth of a wonderful little filly, daughter of my mare Sugar and stallion Toots, more correctly known as Suwannee Bonita and Suwannee Two Step.  Frou Frou has been a delight, and her arrival has done more to keep me moving forward than anything else.
Baby pictures, anyone?
Frou Frou at three days old

To mark just how close we are to moving, all my horses arrived safely in Arizona this morning.  They will be staying with our previous veterinarian there until I have some facilities up for them at our new place.  I'm already missing them all, and they only left yesterday morning!  I had better get back to packing...

I'll try to update you all fairly soon on the prospects of the new garden.  Put briefly, it's in USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 10.  There will be a bit of winter as it is at higher elevation.  Summers should be a shade milder than my earlier desert garden, but with climate change I can't be too sure what that will actually mean on the ground.  

And it is currently nothing but bare ground.  I will be starting very much from scratch.  But that is how my last garden began, and I am so happy to be returning to my beloved Sonoran Desert.

Lastly, I want to thank those of you who continued to leave comments for me on my last post.  I was simply too upset and fatigued with everything to respond, but those comments were deeply appreciated.  Thank you for caring!
Frou Frou, again!