Sunday, April 21, 2013

Spring of Irises

Blue flag in the pond--Granny's Louisiana iris in the background
Last spring was the Spring of Poppies: the Papaver somniferum seeds that we had broadcast 2 years ago finally burst out of dormancy and shocked us with their sudden abundance of slightly louche blooms.

This seems to be the Spring of Irises: we've had 3 different cultivars blooming that have never bloomed before, plus the usual strong showing from the cemetery irises, and a couple floppy-stemmed I. virginica blossoms.

The new irises are:

  • yellow Louisiana irises from my grandmother's garden (in Louisiana)
  • blue flags from the LadyBird Johnson Wildflower Center
  • white grape-scented irises from I'm-not-sure-where
Mysterious grape-scented iris
I've never been particularly iris-centric, which is part of what is making this such a nice surprise.  Our garden has reached the degree of maturity that is contains things that we plan for and expect, and also things that have slowly, sneakily reached their prime, or things we just kind of tossed in offhand.

I really, really like this combination of known and unknown quantities. The known plants are like a holiday that you look forward to every year.  Anticipated, finally arriving, much like you remembered, not quite the same, each with its own memories. The unknowns are like a gift.  (And then there are rampaging monsters-- both known and unknown--like that execrable, motherliking bermudagrass, but it's much too pretty an evening to waste thinking about bermudagrass.  God, I do hate that stuff, though).

Not to be too perky (because my natural habitat is the dark side--if a glass is half full, that's probably because it was left out a couple of days ago and now tastes stale and has a gnat floating in it--but who are we kidding? we all know that glass is half empty), but the garden is full of loveliness right now.

Most winter, one or both pond pumps were out.  Matt got them back in order and I love the pond with all the water going. LOVE it. I could (and do) sit here for hours, just absorbing.

Pond with functional pumps and Granny's iris
Not only is Granny's iris blooming, it looks great where we stuck it on the spur of a moment--it fills a sort of dead corner of the pond, softens the waterfall's rock pile, and gives the illusion of order just by being so vertical and clean-lined.

Three baby cardinals hatched, grew, and flew off from a nest their parents built in the gazebo's 'Buff Beauty' rose. Not a very good location, as we have been constantly by the pond, enjoying the weather, checking on the babies, and making the parents nervous. But it worked out in the end.

A very pretty daylily (Patricia Snyder Memorial, which I bought a couple of years ago from the man who hybridized it at Paynes in Grass in Houston), which has always been a bit delicate, is full of its first buds.

The Crinum macowannii that I bought as a great fleshy green seed several years ago now has a heavy umbel of flowers that smell like perfumed soap.

Crinum macowannii--I wish it would hold its head up, because the flowers are lovely and they smell gorgeous

Our pond is now hosting two baby turtles!  Matt says we have to catch them and humanely relocate them or they'll eat all our fish, but as they are currently the size of silver dollar pancakes, I'm not too fussed just yet.  Soon, though.  Those fish have enough to worry about without being harried by a pair of voracious reptilian freeloaders.

A smooth green tree frog had been hanging out in our blacklocust for the past week or so, looking adorably compact and vibrant.

The Chestnut Rose is putting on its first blooms, and--though still short--it is forming an impenetrable thicket of tiny leaves, suggesting the beautiful wall of dense privacy it will someday provide. 

All my herb acquisitions (including two more new ones: African blue basil, and a purple-leaved orange mint) are doing well, and Lavendula 'Otto Quast' looks especially happy. (All except 'Pink Lemonade' thyme--it looked feeble when we got it, and it hasn't improved since. The dittany of Crete, which I thought was so obscure and cutting edge but is now absolutely everywhere to my chagrin, is doing quite well, though.) 

'Otto Quast' lavender in front, 'Victoria Blue' salvia behind, and Caryopteris to the right.  You can see a little of the baby 'Margo Koster' rose, as well.
No bats in the bathouse yet, though.  I'm hoping the baby cardinals will give positive reviews of our garden's hospitality.

The pond.  In spring.  Gosh, it's nice.

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