Category Archives: Iris

RAIN, BLESSED RAIN

Most of the country has experienced

What seems to be the longest winter

In recent memory.

Our winter has been

In and out.

Bitter cold days

Sprinkled into sunny winter glory.

But it simply has not rained.

Fires 100 miles to our west

Attest to our dry fall and winter.

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Thankfully it starting raining on a recent Friday night

And continued through Saturday.

Bringing hope to my garden

With each drop.

The Japanese Maple trees

Are sighing with relief.

They leafed out on schedule

Only to be frozen a couple of times.

Creating the saddest looking tree

I’ve seen in a long time.

Now, with this moisture

They have begun the process of

Putting on new leaves.

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And things are budding out.

Iris

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Allium

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Peonies

With their attending ants.

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And those stunning Japanese Tree Peonies.

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They don’t last long

A few days of bloom and they are gone.

Yet, they are so worth growing.

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With these buds

Comes hope

And so it is with gardeners.

Whose spirits have frozen

And thawed

And frozen

And thawed

More times than we can count.

But with the rain comes

Hope.

And gardeners thrive on

Hope.

 

Gail

 

 

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Filed under Allium, Bugs, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Iris, Japanese Tree Peony, Peonies, Perennials, spring, Spring Flowering Bulbs, Uncategorized

THE LUSTY MONTH OF MAY

 

Every time I looked at my garden this week.

Alan Lerner’s words from Camelot

Kept going through my head.

“It’s May, It’s May

The LUSTY month of May.”

And lusty it is.

Roses

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Peonies

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Iris

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Columbine

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Allium

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I don’t know how Mother Nature pulls it off

But every year on Mother’s Day

My garden hits its spring stride.

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There is still much to come

But this week

It’s glorious.

With lots of blousy blooms.

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Perhaps it’s Mother Nature’s way

Of honoring mothers.

Those who nurture

And prod

And encourage things to grow.

Happy Mother’s Day

Gail

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Four generations of the women of my family circa early 1950’s

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Allium, Columbine, Iris, Peonies, roses, spring

SHARING SEASON

Gardeners are known for sharing.

They love to share

Information

Plants

Flowers

Seeds

Cuttings

And, of course, the bounty of their gardens.

Zucchini comes to mind.

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For me it’s all of the above

But mostly flowers.

I have long contended that flowers

“Are food for the soul”.

That we need flowers

Just like we need food.

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I think this goes back to college

And John.

When we first began dating

He brought me flowers several times a week

For months on end.

The most spectacular was that first spring.

He brought me an enormous bouquet

Of Iris.

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Years later I realized that florists don’t sell that kind of Iris.

You know them – German Bearded Iris.

The kind that grow in little old ladies gardens

In college towns.

I’m not sure she intended to share!

His choice of vases was most unique.

A plastic pumpkin

Left from Halloween.

Simply had to marry the guy after that!

And so in the ensuing 40+ years

I’ve made it a point to make bouquets

And spread them around.

I’m pleased to say that Elliott and Kristina

Are carrying on the same tradition.

Kristina rarely leaves home for an evening with friends.

Without a bouquet in tow.

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And she always has fresh flowers throughout their home

When we come to visit.

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I must confess here that this year my bouquets are going

Not to individuals so much

As to places.

On Saturday I pluck whatever is happy

For church on Sunday.

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Then during the week

Loaves & Fishes gets a bouquet.

A cheerful greeting for the volunteers

And clients who come in need of help feeding their families.

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Now all of this is well and good.

Lovely really

But it doesn’t hold a candle to the real pros

When it comes to sharing from your garden.

Those of you who focus on vegetables

Leave the rest of us in the shade.

Just this week

Kelly came by with a basket of green beans.

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Yum!

Earlier in the week the Koehns

Brought tons of cucumbers and squash of all sorts

To Loaves & Fishes.

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Mitch brought squash, too

Ann gave her weekly supply of basil

And assorted veggies.

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Then yesterday the fun and lively members of the Freed family

Called at the end of the Farmers Market

To donate what was left to Loaves & Fishes

I met them there.

Their 4 sons, daughter and her friend

Unloaded hundreds of pounds of freshly picked produce

Watermelon

Cantaloupe

Peppers

Eggplant

Squash

After working at their produce stand all morning.

They loved the cooler.

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What a great family

Working together

Laughing

Sharing

Those are lucky kids.

I know

I come from the same kind of family

And it has painted my life

With sharing.

Gail

Early 1950's

Early 1950’s

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Filed under Basil, Bouquets, Farmer's Market, Flower Arrangements, Gardening Friends, Herbs, Iris, Uncategorized, Vegetables

50 SHADES OF……PURPLE!

It is amazing to me

How each spring

The same plants emerge from their winter’s sleep

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To create my garden

And yet

Each spring

I am surprised by what happens

In my own backyard.

This year

This “I can’t believe how late spring is” year

I am struck by the seemingly endless shades

Of purple.

I know that I have 2 new shades

Of purple Iris.

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Plus the standard deep purple

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And it seems the Columbine

Has a trifecta of purple.

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Then there is my mystery wild Orchid

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And the last of the Violas

Before the heat of summer knocks them out

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There’s a rich purple in this year’s

Mixed Lettuce greens.

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And a new purple in the Alliums

Planted last fall

After seeing Kristina’s great Allium seed pods.

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I also have a new lilac bush

Small…but covered with blooms.

Add to them the purple Rose I planted last year

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Could it be

That purple is the “new pink”

Of  my early spring garden?

Not for long

Peonies and Roses can’t be far behind!

Enjoy the week,

Gail

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Filed under Allium, Columbine, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Iris, Lettuce, Peonies, Perennials, roses, Spring Flowering Bulbs, Uncategorized, Viola, Violets

FAITH

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It happens every year.

When I finally get winter’s blanket of leaves removed

I wonder where everything has gone.

Sure the early blooming show offs are visible

The Iris and Peonies.

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And Larkspur sprouts are everywhere.

But right now I’m wondering why is there so much dirt showing.

And what is lying in wait beneath?

My friend Suellen used to call every spring

To tell me that everything had died over the winter.

Then…she’d call back in a week

Saying it’s OK.

And we would have a good laugh

Remembering the same conversation from the year before.

Faith

It’s as important to gardening as fertilizer, healthy soil and water.

It’s the belief that a tiny green frond

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Will unfurl into a gorgeous fern.

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That the precious buds on my Japanese Tree Peony

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Will soon take my breath away.

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That come June

These few leaves at the bottom of what looks like a stick plant

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Will give astonishing blooms.

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The robins have returned.

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Lady bugs and honey bees abound

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Peg is on her never-ending bunny search

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And the Hellebores are blooming their hearts out.

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It must be spring.

Faith

All we need to do is trust

And believe.

And as my friend Jerry used to say

Do the best we can…

God will take care of the rest.

Take time to breathe it all in.

Gail

 

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Filed under Bugs, Ferns, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Grape Hyacinths, Hellebores, Hydrangea, Iris, Japanese Tree Peony, Lady Bugs, Larkspur, Peonies, Perennials, Redbud Trees, Violets

YUMMY SPRING

 

 

I love the progression of Spring.

Each week brings some new spectacular blooms

The colors are so bright – so clear.

A neighbor's "Tulip Drive"

The weather allows me to spend hours in the garden

Soaking it all in.

Nothing renews me like the slow progression

of my garden emerging from the earth

or the cracks in the patio bricks.

Slow progression.

Not this year.

It’s as if John Phillip Sousa has come back to town

and is conducting a fast march through the season.

I was planning on writing about a single plant this week

Wisteria

Early in the week I was drooling over my wisteria.

Driving around town taking pictures of wisteria all over town.

Gay discovered this one in our neighborhood.

It’s at least 30 feet high and has attached itself to a tree row between 2 houses.

Then Debra’s gift of  OSU tulips began to open as a nice buttery yellow

and ended the week a great orange.

Next the Parrot Tulip Blumex began to open

and open.

I can’t stop taking pictures of them.

It’s all happening way to fast.

After all it’s only the 31st of March.

Roses are budding

actually the first bloomed TODAY!

Iris are also on the fast track with lots of buds popping up.

But the most breathtaking gift of the day is my

Japanese Tree Peony

You may remember it from last year.

Bought it at least 10 years ago.

Tiny, expensive root it was.

Transplanted to two different gardens.

Accidentally sliced it in half at one point.

Waited patiently – most of the time.

This year it has 14 giant buds.

They open at night

So on a spring morning I am surprised .

This morning I was as my mother would say “flabbergasted”

SIX blooms the size of my hand

Absolutely yummy.

Since it’s so very warm I’ve put my green market umbrella over it

To give it shade.

Because the blooms don’t last long.

So…if you want  to bask in its glory.

Better come tomorrow!

Gail

 

 

 

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Filed under Iris, Japanese Tree Peony, Parrot Tulips, roses, spring, Spring Flowering Bulbs, tulips, Uncategorized, Wisteria

TO EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON

To everything there is a season

And a time to every purpose under heaven

Familiar words.

And true.

I’ve come to realize over the years that some people seem to time their deaths.

I first realized this when a man named Bill Frass died.

Bill was a kind, gentle and happy soul.

He was also an Iris fanatic.

A plant your backyard full of Iris kind of fanatic.

I first encountered Bill when my neighbor Geraldine shared some of his iris.

After that he was my guide during the annual iris rhizome sale each July.

But the thing is Iris only bloom for a few short weeks each spring.

Somehow Bill managed to die while they were blooming.

His fellow Iris fanatics cut their precious children for his funeral.

The room was filled with Iris.

Full of the scent and aura that was Bill.

What a send off.

I’ve also read about Henry Mitchell.

For years he was the garden writer for the Washington Post.

He died after an afternoon of plating Daffodils with a friend.

Imagine.

Leaving this world with dirt under your fingernails

Having planted the hope of spring.

I like this plan.

But for me the most poignant is the story of when my father died.

It was two years ago this week.

My father was many things.

Most of all he was a farmer. 

His life would take him to meet world leaders

Their conversation would more often than not be about farming.

But there came a time in his late 80’s to stop his active involvement in farming.

It’s a gut wrenching decision echoed by families all through the farm belt.

His decision was made in typical Henry style.

Get the facts – make the decision – don’t look back.

So it was that spring that he came to his last harvest.

Elliott came home to be a part of his own history.

The wheat was cut.

It was a record crop.

All through that summer Daddy came three times a week to my home for lunch.

That had been his pattern for several years.

He could no longer stroll through my garden.

Instead we would sit in the breakfast room and watch the garden grow and change.

We would talk gardening, farming and politics.

I had a sense something was changing but didn’t know what.

He was winding down.

I think I’ve mentioned his theory on color in the garden.

Red.

Only Red!!!

Then there is my theory.

Everything but red.

Except in late summer

When the cockscomb takes over.

It’s the only red flower I grow.

It blooms wildly

Actually out of control this time of year.

There is one non red flower that Daddy liked.

Maxmillian Sunflower.

A late summer blanket on the prairie.

And so it was to be.

His last days came when his beloved country side was covered in Maximillian Sunflowers.

And cockscomb filled my garden.

The Wednesday before his Saturday services

Elliott and I drove through the countryside and cut sunflowers, cattails and maize.

Actually we stole the maize from the field of an old friend.

Along the way we laughed and cried a little and remembered.

We basked in the glory of the sunshine and a life well lived.

We took it all to the florist who filled two urns with fabulous arrangements.

They flanked Daddy as friends came from across the state

To say goodbye.

To tell stories to his grandsons.

To celebrate his life.

At the same time I asked my local florist Ryan to go to my garden

Cut everything he needed to make the casket flowers.

Make it red.

He did.

It is true.

To everything there is a season.

Even for giant spiders.  Sloan and Cassidy just came by on their nightly spider check.  It’s gone….till next season.

Gail

Thanks Elliott & Debra letting me use some of your pictures.

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Filed under Cattails, cockscomb, Daffodils, Gardening, HELIANTHUS, Iris, late summer garden, Maximillian Sunflower, Orb Spider, Sunflowers, Uncategorized