Friday, February 7, 2014

Gardening With The Heart's Eye


I'm enjoying some warmed Anadama bread with butter and plum jam this winter morning as I write this and I'm thinking of trying some antique Irises, like these, in the backyard  this year.  Many of the commercial growers are are offering some exquisite ones. The Old House Gardens  pictures this beautiful Queen of May from 1859 and this Quaker Lady from 1909 in their on line catalog.

Quaker Lady
 Queen Of May
Flavescens


















And also this lovely yellow Flavescens from 1813. 


I'm remembering how, as a kid,  I loved the purple and yellow flags (that's what we called Iris back then) that our neighbor, Mrs. Mason, used to line her walkway, the one that ran from her porch to the alley in a zigzag fashion across the yard. You may remember she was the lady who'd bring her jump rope out, on a spring or autumn day, and not just turn the rope but take turns jumping  with us.



Her Irises were just glorious on a May morning.  


Here in East Texas we generally don't get enough cold in the winter for many of the Kansas plants I grew up with to really prosper but the Irises seem to do OK here. My backyard is home to several Iris I planted there my second August in this house, some twenty odd years ago


They, like me, are not quite antique but we are getting there. 


In a front bed last Spring an Iris bloomed that I  hadn't seen for years; a pale yellow sprite with droopy beige falls that felt like brushed silk. I have no idea when or even if  I planted it as I have no memory of that  planting or the name she carries. Still  there she was shimmering in the sun among the honeysuckle and the yellow leaf Abelia, mingling with the roses.  I guess everything was just right last year for her reappearance....this prodigal Iris. 

slewis


Of course she could just be a seedling. More likely than not she is just that, a foundling, a wanderer, a gardening gift from an unwitting  neighbor and a neighborly bird. Twenty years ago, when I was on my knees  making those beds, I was more into Irises that had a little more pzazz to the petal than does this demur flower. 





But now, now I love everything about her; her quiet presence, her graceful stance, the sweet, barely there, fragrance that draws you in close just to make sure that heavenly whiff you caught was really her. 






Believe me I am doing everything I can to encourage her return visit, even to the planning of a new bed of contemporaries around her and searching through the photos on the Historic Iris Preservation Society site in an attempt to give this nymph a name. 

Do you know who she is?









Thursday, January 16, 2014

Heavenly Bamboo - a little red to get us through the winter.


A forest of it for the Cardinals and the Mockingbirds and Jays.


And the cat and the Cape Honeysuckle to remember a sunny October afternoon.



In the midst of winter I thought it would be a good time to focus on some of the new Iris introductions from some of the growers I like. Isn't this one wonderful?

This is Superstition Garden's   arilbred introduction for 2014--SHAMAN'S MAGIC (Tasco 2014)--AB (OGB), 33", ML--Usually 1 branch producing 3 buds. Aztec Prince X 04-AB-03-09 (Bagdad’s Folly x Energizer)