11 May 2013
I occasionally drive through that neighborhood and see two houses where this iris is flourishing in the front yard. I would guess one of those owners gave another some divisions in the past.
Being it is a very good hardy grower, I divided this one twice since, and gave away a few pieces to friends that live in that adjacent neighborhood - at another plant swap - so now it's found in three yards there. Last fall after my last division, I gave some to a neighbor on my street and see it blooming there now. Last week on my way to work, I spotted the same iris growing on another street in my neighborhood, along with some yellow iris. This is becoming an invasion.
Last spring, all bearded iris in the yard bloomed sparingly, and by end of spring, were beginning to die out. Iris borers were the culprits - larvae of an egg-laying moth - that tunneled through the root system, leaving them susceptible to rot. A few doses of nasties this spring at the right time kept them safe. One, my favorite, Clarence [2011.05.06], is going to bloom again, but the plants are small and hope is that they will grow back strong for next year.
I have come to love the color combination on this, even though I don't normally care for severely two tone bearded iris. The deep royal purple and light lavender top give me an urge to reach for a grape Nehi every time it blooms. Not knowing its name, it's the Grape Nehi iris to me. Apparently, there IS a Grape Iris out there, but not as grapey as this one.
I will be ready to give some more away next fall. Grape Nehis all around.
05 May 2013
The back yard looks like the 4th of July - red, white and blue. The white 'snow' azaleas were planted under the magnolia and dogwood when both trees and shrubs were small. I tried moving one two years ago and killed it. The azalea roots are too entangled with the trees.
The red (shocking acid pink) azalea is loud and was here when I bought the house over 20 years ago. Although very popular around town, I would never buy a plant of this color. It looks like my yard is on an LSD trip. Keep it from getting too big and put a white azalea next to it to calm your brain down.
The blue ajuga reptans has never looked so good or thick. It really loves its part shade and dry clay home. A few sprigs were picked up at our neighborhood plant swap two years ago and now, wow.
That barren viburnum is another story for later.
Enjoy the cool colors while the season progresses and while I learn how to restore myself on Google.
13 April 2013
"Clusters of spring blooms resembling lily of the valley cascade near ends of branches. New spring growth is bright red or pink when emerging. Mature foliage is lustrous dark green. Requires rich acidic soil and ample moisture; protect from hot winds and sun."None of the plants had any blooms - only colorful labels with colorful descriptions. The back yard is shady on the north side of the wood fence. This is my graveyard of plants, and the graveyard had plots available. To date, this area has killed an aralia, an acanthus, two ferns, a hosta, and a ligularia. (Either a zombie ligularia or acanthus is trying to come back from the dead with a few leaves poking up.)
The little pieris that could, survived the winter and thrived. The thing is a mound of blooms, although a small mound. One thing I will note is that stems supporting the blooms are weak, bending downwards.
I have a bad tendency to plant things too close together, so I have given this little one and the nearby hydrangea and buddleia some space. The tag did not have a size listed, so we assume an eventual 4-5 feet (1.2 - 1.5 meter) adult.
The tag was correct so far. The foliage has been dark green and evergreen, needed in this section of the yard for some winter interest. There is no new growth yet, but I expect those red shoots later. The plant seems comfy in its new home mixing it up with our Virginia clay, and the owner is happy it is surviving. Maybe the graveyard of plants has turned the corner.
31 March 2013
Hyacinths were stopped in their tracks, turning purple with cold, shivering under their new white blanket. The white forsythia was almost finished with its song, but was startled. The indoors amaryllis, planted to flower at Christmas, thinks it missed the snow by waiting so long to bloom. Ha! Think again, as it peers out the window at the frosty white covered deck chair.
The groundhog was wrong.
18 March 2013
This is my walk off, wishfully without sounding like a tourist magazine. Some of the photos were taken on sunny Friday's walk, and the remainder on cloudy rainy today. Frequent walks are taken on lunch hours; the pedestrian scale allows appreciation of details.
View other Winter Walk-offs at A Tidewater Gardener
A few cobblestone alleys like this have houses on them, in addition to the main streets. The several cobblestone alleys and two full cobblestone streets in town are murder to drive on and walk on. I can't imagine riding down in a wood-wheeled vehicle.
Two of the older homes sit across the street from my office. The industrial revolution brought the decoration and style on newer townhomes, but colonial-era buildings like these were simpler. When the street was eventually paved, its level was lowered, partially exposing the stone foundations on these.
How do you like the knockers? Norfolk is not the only place with mermaids.
I like the railing on the entrance of this house, although I don't know if it is original. This is a typical wealthy row house, brick, 3-story, probably 1800-1840. Gas lamps from 1800s are popular around town, running 24/7. I don't know where the gas comes from or who pays.
Hitch up your horse and hop down ...
... and scrape off your boots before coming in.
I call this flag alley because almost everyone displays a flag. These were the working class houses - usually wood, 2-story. These 'shacks' that appear to be falling down fetch about $600,000 on the real estate market.
These are fire marks from insurance / fire companies. They would be placed on your house above the first floor. When your house caught fire, the fire mark would identify that you paid for protection, and what company would be responsible for arriving to fight the fire.
Mostly brick sidewalks - every pattern a 4x8 can make. Women are always getting their heels stuck in between the bricks. Bricks are loose laid, so street trees get some water when it rains.
This poor soul is stuck in a planter surrounded by solid concrete, and probably had a mulch volcano in its younger days.
A cooking equipment store. Window boxes look like Europe. Pots in the summer used to be filled with cooking herbs but have heuchera now.
A view of the top of Second Empire style city hall from my office mens room window - the best view from any toilet in town. This roof top can't be seen well from anywhere on the streets.
City hall is a melange of buildings stuck together. The clock tower reminds me of New Orleans but I don't know why. It would look better with some palms in the foreground.
The back of city hall fronts a square hosting the oldest continuous farmers market in the country. When the fountain and pond are full of water, mallards from the river come up for a swim.
The 'Cherry Blossom' riverboat docked at the Potomac. I don't believe the Potomac historically had riverboats paddling around, but the tourists don't know that.
Old Town is very dog friendly. Many stores and residents put out water bowls in the summer. This station was dedicated to 'Molly,' a retriever I believe, and even has a high drinking fountain for owners!
02 March 2013
The story started last winter with the seed swap I attended. I signed up for Washington Gardener magazine in order to receive a discount on the admission charge. Washington Gardener was the host and gave discounts for admission to its subscribers.
During the year, the magazine ran a contest with a question that asked, "what plant do you regret adding to your garden and why." Boy did I have a lot of material to consider. My response was, “Kniphofia uvaria - because:
• bloom time is very short
• for 11 months of the year, the plant is only an ugly tangled mass of leaves
• takes up too much space for such a little blooming, messy plant”
Anyway, I won one of the prizes - tickets to the Wings of Fancy living butterfly exhibit at Brookside Gardens in nearby Wheaton, Maryland.
After being screened to enter the greenhouse, visitors were treated to a thousand butterflies fluttering about on plants, fruit, and people. Some were native, and some were non-native (butterflies not people.) I was itching to try out the video on my new iPad, so I assembled this collection of photos and video.
|Some butterflies were shy, while some were quite convivial. If one stood still, they would land on you. I was sorry for the youngsters who were trying in vain to get one to land - we know young kids cannot be still for a moment.|
I learned a thing or two about butterflies from the exhibit. It seems these butterflies preferred zinnias and 'rotting' fruit, although the fruit looked pretty fresh to me. They had a sweet spot for watermelon and peaches.
Blogger reduces the quality of the video, sorry. Some of the distant butterflies come out looking like fuzz - click the YouTube logo and then select a better quality setting. If reading this on an iPad, the video may be missing.
16 February 2013
I really miss gardening, and run out of steam at the end of each day. It is February and I hope the seeds can wait or learn to start themselves. Three seed catalogs are on the coffee table screaming to be opened. So this blog post will serve two purposes - to get me to open those catalogs and open the blog to write about them.
|Seeds seem to be getting more expensive every year. The Coupon Scoop has a few specials when ordering online for Burpee that I must take advantage of. Their seeds are more expensive than Park, and their selection is worse.|
This is what entices me for 2013 season - new picks and why I am interested:
A blocky bell pepper described as sweet, with a reddish purple color. I always grow Karma, and have tried a lot of peppers and posted the results on this blog. This one sounds like something I would like, for the color. Park Seed
A double flowered spider zinnia that, according to the catalog (which of course we always believe...) starts out lime-green and ends up rosy pink. I never grew spider zinnias, nor ones that change color. Park Seed
Tendersnax Hybrid Carrots
"The sweetest juiciest carrot." Sounds like an orange, doesn't it? I have had terrible luck with carrots due to the clay soil here, the borers or worms that eat through them, and the fact that something eats the seedlings before they ever have a chance. I look forward to trying again with a different variety ... and maybe lots o' chemicals. Stokes Seeds
Valentino Bush Beans
I grew green beans for the first time last year with free seeds from the Seed Exchange I attended. I see beans in my future again, and a farmer's market vendor recommended her favorite, Valentino. I wrote about Contender last year, which were good. Stokes Seeds
Marigolds conjure up memories of my first trials and tribulations as a gardener, so I avoid them. I am considering the Tiger Eyes minis or some white marigolds from Burpee. Unfortunately, Burpee only sells the bigger size marigolds in white, and I want something smaller.
Supersweet 100 Cherry Tomatos
I grew Sweet 100 for the past two years. Early blight loved them. This variety claims better resistance. Park Seed
Princess Jade Ornamental Millet
A hybrid that caught my eye because of the cool looking seed heads. Fragrant dark brown plumes, according to the catalog. Fragrant millet? This I've got to try. Burpee Seeds
31 December 2012
There are no indoor bloomers in the December house. I will join in the holiday spirit with some indoor plant material.