Posts Tagged Dwarf Crested Iris
It was 71 degrees Fahrenheit at my house this afternoon. Frogs chorused, birds rejoiced, and flowers bloomed with abandon. This happy gardener was out sowing more seeds in her little greenhouse, weeding the spring vegetable beds in preparation for spring crops, and planting two new woody additions to the landscape. It was heavenly. I’ll be clinging to the memory of this lovely day this week, as Winter comes roaring back at me.
Freezing rain and sleet tomorrow, then snow?! Really? Nature does love her little practical jokes this transitional time of year. At least I had today, as did the pretty crocuses above. I hope they enjoyed their moment in the sun as much as I did.
Also blooming today were my dwarf crested iris. Five pale lavender beauties were open for business. Alas, they too will be but a memory after the ice is done with them.
I am grateful I had this break in the weather to plant my latest additions to the landscape. I was recently showing some folks around my garden and mentioned that I was growing all the native big leaf magnolia species except M. pyramidata, because my specimen had failed to thrive, then died.
This, of course, prompted me to check and see if my favorite source for native woodies — Woodlanders — happened to have this tree in stock. They did! I ordered it on Feb. 22. They shipped it on Feb. 25, and it arrived in perfect condition on Feb. 27. Major props to Woodlanders! These folks were hammered by a recent ice storm, but managed to get their operation back up and running quickly, just in time for their rush season. They ship only bare-rooted plants, so they stop shipping at the end of March.
They do have a minimum order requirement, so I was forced — forced, I say (ahem) — to purchase another plant to meet that requirement. My eyes went straight to their fantastic array of native deciduous azaleas, the source of most of my plants that are thriving and blooming so well. After a careful perusal of my options, I settled on Rhododendron canescens ‘Camilla’s Blush.’ This species is often called Piedmont Azalea and is well-adapted to my region. This cultivar is described as producing especially lovely, abundant, fragrant pink flowers. I think it will fit in very nicely with the rest of my native azalea collection.
Woodlanders wraps the moist roots of the plants they ship in plastic bags held tightly together by rubber bands. Branches are protected during shipping by balled-up paper snugly tucked in all around them. As always, these two newbies were fully dormant and undamaged when I opened their box.
Because I didn’t plant them for a couple of days, I opened up the plastic bags to let the roots breathe and kept the plants in my cool garage until planting time. Here they are leaning against my garage before I carried them to their new permanent homes.
I was delighted to see that Camilla’s Blush actually had three flower buds on it. Usually I have to wait at least a year to see the flowers from a new azalea from Woodlanders, because they do ship small plants, so this is a bonus. If my past experience with other big leaf Magnolia species from Woodlanders holds true for this new species, it will likely be seven or so years before I see a flower on it. That’s OK; they are totally worth the wait.
I had already picked out perfect spots for the two new arrivals inside the deer-fenced area on the north-facing side of my yard. This is where all my big leaf Magnolias and most of my deciduous azaleas are thriving. Abundant winter rains and naturally wonderful soil made for easy digging. The new plants were both tucked in and mulched in half an hour.
I am hoping that the new arrivals will forgive me for the icy coating they will receive tomorrow. They should, because they are still fully dormant, I mulched them well, and they are sheltered from the worst of the weather by tall pines to their north. Still, I wish their welcome could have been a bit less brutal.
I know I’ve no grounds for complaint. My area is only getting a glancing blow from this latest blast of Winter. Folks to my north and west are getting deeper cold and much more icy precipitation. I think I speak for most of the US when I say, “Enough already!”
After returning home from errands today, I noticed quite a few flowers blooming among my five acres of green chaos. I thought of all the folks buried under feet of snow, and decided to offer them some hopeful signs of spring. It was approaching noon when I shot these, so apologies in advance for the less-than-stellar quality of some these pictures.
Long ago — over 20 years — I planted a number of traditional spring-flowering bulbs here and there in the yard. I haven’t done anything right by them since. I haven’t divided them, fed them, mulched them (on purpose — some get leaf mulch because they’re under trees), or given them any supplemental water. Despite total neglect, they brighten our late winter/early spring landscape every year.
The daffodils have mostly spread in place, making ever-larger clumps. However, the crocuses travel. I don’t know if birds, insects, or rodents are moving the seeds or corms, but somehow, I now find blooming crocuses in unexpected places. Take, for example, those bright yellow beauties in the top photo. They just appeared beside my pink flowering apricot a few years back, as if to keep it company. That tree has finished blooming, but the location continues its spring show, thanks to these sunny crocuses.
Another volunteer crocus is blooming in deep shade beneath the loropetalums. Every year, I mean to relocate it, but, of course, I forget it when the leaves disappear.
Some crocuses are still blooming where I planted them — more or less. I love the subtle striping on these paler lilac beauties.
I almost overlooked the blooming dwarf crested iris I planted some years back. These diminutive specimens are native to Piedmont floodplains, but horticulturalists have created a number of cultivars. I have long forgotten the name of this variety that continues to thrive among overgrown Verbena ‘Homestead Purple.’
I wrote some time ago about all the volunteer wildflowers — many non-native originally — that have naturalized and taken over much of my “lawn.” Blooming vigorously right now is this little Speedwell. I think it’s Veronica persica, but don’t hold me to that. This clump is growing in my gravel driveway with the rest of the weeds.
Both of my Prunus mume ‘Peggy Clarke’ specimens are still blooming. Peggy Junior is nearly done; she was more severely impacted by a recent bout of sub-freezing weather. Peggy Senior is protected from north winds by our garage. Her branch tops are still filled with fragrant rosy flowers; abundant honeybees enjoy this resource every sunny day now.
As I mentioned previously, this is the first year that my non-native Parrotia persica has bloomed abundantly. It’s still doing so, but most of the flowers in this picture are spent. The brighter pops of magenta here and there are the currently blooming flowers.
The daffodils on the floodplain open first, because the area is a tad warmer than the hilltops. Ice Follies is always the first daffodil to defiantly declare spring’s arrival — sometimes in snow!
The snow drops I showed you in the previous post are now fully open.
About 8, maybe 10 years ago, I planted a hybrid Hellebore. This clump of Lenten Roses grows more enormous every year, and, no, I haven’t gotten around to dividing it. As is usually the case, its flowers begin opening well before the onset of Lent most years.
Inside the deer fence on the north side of my yard, two recently planted specimens are showing their late winter flowers right on schedule. The Cornelian Cherry (Cornus mas) from last year is completely covered in bright yellow flowers. The new plant we added this year is blooming some, so I’m hoping we’ll get at least a couple of fruits, now that I’ve provided a source for cross pollination.
My hybrid witchhazel, Aurora, is just starting to show off its strappy yellow-and-orange petals. It should be more impressive after a few more years of growth.
Up front beneath the shelter of mature loblolly pines, Magnolia stellata ‘Royal Star’ is about to explode into snow-white star bursts of potently fragrant glory — assuming no freezes brown petals prematurely.
I can’t close before showing you a couple of native trees now in glorious full bloom throughout my yard. The Red Maples are heating up the forest canopy with their usual crimson display.
Some feet below in the subcanopy, American Hazelnut trees are ornamented by numerous dangling male catkins. Every breeze makes them dance, releasing pollen onto the tiny female flowers scattered among them. These native shrubs/small trees disappear into the landscape when everything leafs out. But right now, they are quite conspicuous. As I wandered around my yard today, I discovered a large specimen growing in my backyard that I had never noticed before.
Then as I walked the creek line, I realized that at least a half dozen more specimens were blooming on my neighbor’s land across the creek. I spotted a very large tree over there so covered in catkins that I wondered how I’d never seen it before.
One final enthusiastic bloomer will close today’s post. This rosemary has been growing against my house for a number of years. I always intend to prune the branches away from the siding when the plant stops blooming, but I’ve discovered it doesn’t really ever stop blooming. I certainly can’t bear to cut it now, when every branch is covered in delicate blue flowers beloved by hungry foraging honeybees. I’ll try to remember to do this in summer, when bloom enthusiasm decreases, and the pollinators have myriad other options.
All of these early flowers are signaling me that it’s time to start some spring vegetable seeds in the greenhouse. When the weather moderates a bit, that will be my next task. Happy February, ya’ll.
The piedmont floodplain forests of my youth were full of blooming Dwarf Crested Iris (Iris cristata) in early spring. I never see them anymore. I think the evil invasive exotic Japanese Stiltgrass has crowded it out of its native domain. Deer predation probably isn’t helping it either.
I planted these little ones in my front garden right beside the walkway, so that I can’t miss their petite blooms when they open. This is a named cultivar, but I confess I don’t remember which one, nor do I have any records that would tell me. I do try to write down such information, but when you’ve been gardening as long as I have, these sorts of details tend to become lower priorities.
In our native woodlands, these wildflowers are spring ephemerals, blooming quickly, then fading back into the leaf mulch of the forest floor. My little flowers usually don’t last long either. Too much heat or wind or heavy rain will crumple their petals beyond recognition.
Alas, my area is predicted to be scorched by more unseasonably warm temperatures, strong winds, and unrelentingly dry skies, so I’m glad I have this photograph. The real flowers will likely be gone by tomorrow.