It is that time of year again. Katharine has come to visit. She wears a wedgewood blue frock adorned with darker blue gemstones and panels of clear yellow. Her frock darkens ever so slightly in color as the days pass. This cool spring has allowed her a very long visit. And, she has brought relatives.The original clump seems fuller this year which may mean that she is happy with this site in humus rich shade. This iris is a bit stockier than others of her clan having sturdy parentage. A gentleman and part time plant breeder, EB Anderson, crossed Iris histrioides with Iris danfordiae but insects must have intervened as DNA testing shows the other parent is Iris winogradowii. Iris histrioides is native to Turkey and is blue.Iris winogradowii is native to Central Asia where it grows in alpine meadows. It is yellow and tends to be stoloniferous which may be the reason this clump above has increased in size. But who, you might ask, is Katharine Hodgkins? She must have been quite a beauty. She was the wife of Mr. Anderson's friend, Mr. Hodgkins but I can find little information on her.
This plant was hybridized in the 60's. It has none of the 60's psychedelic coloration. It is refined and luminous although I do find that it 'disappears' in the garden and is best planted next to a well traveled path. This is its second spring here in my garden and I find her quite bewitching. I recommend her to every gardener as she is lovely and a somewhat unusal addition to the garden of little bulbs.
The blooms have finally begun. The snowdrops have been tightly wrapped until temperatures hit the 50's on Wednesday. I always get muddy knees trying to get a good photograph of the little bulbs and their flowers.
The tommies have popped up. These were planted the fall before last so it is their second showing. The newer plantings have not shown their tops yet but they are in a bit less sunny position than these. They are showing color but are not yet open.
The winter aconites have started with bright yellow blooms as well. I see daffodil foliage popping up but it will be a while before they bloom.
Spring is a few days away and the temperature today was in the low 30's which keeps everything in suspended animation but that will change. It has to as spring is in motion. I can't wait to see what is blooming in your garden. Thanks to Carol of May Dreams for hosting yet another Bloom Day.
The pineapple lily is a South African native which adds a thrill to any container planting. There are several different species of pineapple lily and over fifteen different cultivars. All have strap like leaves and a flower stalk which emerges from the center of the foliage. This is topped with a pineapple shaped flower composed of many small waxy florets.
They are easy to grow and will grow in full sun or light shade although flowering is better in full sun. If I lived further south I would consider bedding them out for interesting texture in the borders. They are a bit pricey though and I hope to overwinter this one in the dormant state in a cool basement. We shall see what happens.
I planted 'Sparkling Burgundy' in my containers near the house this spring. This cultivar has dark foliage and the flowers are creamy with bits of pink and yellow stamens. I have not detected any repulsive odor although, since it is pollinated by flies, it is said to have a bit of a stench.
I am enjoying the tropical, exotic look it brings to these containers.
In addition to the burgundy pineapple lilies in my container, a friend gave me a bulb which she had potted up from last year and overwintered in her basement.
This lily has green foliage, a smaller flower head and interesting markings on the stem. It looks quite nice on its own in the small clay pot on the patio and is also a reminder of friendship. Thank you Lois. If you are looking for Eucomis bulbs, there are several on line sources. Mine was purchased as a potted bulb already showing promise. Now, a promise fulfilled. Have you grown this plant and, if so, what are your thoughts on Eucomis?
Spring is over a week away according to the calendar but the garden rarely waits for the specific date as Mother Nature has a schedule all her own. These are the only flowers in the garden. They are revered for that fact alone. The bees do not know that they are here yet. I am going to pay attention and watch for that first pollinator. It is still cold. There is still snow. Spring will come and go for the next few weeks alternating with late winter but spring will take over. It is inevitable.
The last post included closeup pictures which were taken with a macro lens and then adjusted to a higher resolution with the aid of computer software. The macro lens does aid in the quality of the resulting photo and the software allows you to really zoom in a bit closer.
The first picture
named 'Casper's rump' is actually a pumpkin as you may have surmised.
This pumpkin is a Jarrahdale and made a fairly nice pumpkin soup last evening. It is a soothing gray green with pretty ribbing. I grew this one from seed and as has been my experience with heirlooms, the productivity is less than that of the newer cultivars. I will take partial credit or blame and grow it again with a bit more organic fertilizer to see what will develop. This vine produced just five of these pumpkins. The next picture
is of the famous Bhut jolokia pepper which is the hottest pepper grown measuring over 1,000,000 Scoville units on the hot scale.
It is destined for deer repellent.
Moving on we have the 'mystery' marshmallows which may have stumped you as it is not a common form of the
Callicarpa with purple berries but instead sports many white berries borne along the stems.
The scary picture
is one of my new favorite but as yet not grown annuals, Gomphocarpus physocarpus aka 'Hairy Balls'.
Curious with a lovely flower
as an added bonus. The incredible color within the flower in this picture
could only be the blue of a morning glory but this one is variegated which I have seen in the past but the name escapes me.
This one is located in the annual gardens at Blithewold.
Grandpa Ott exhibits wonderful coloration on its' back as well as front but the back shot shows the perfect symmetry of nature.
It has self seeded in my garden and I hear that this plant can be invasive. The seedlings are relatively easy to remove so I am not yet worried. This is the first year I have grown
Tithonia and it is an annual which I will replant. Clear orange, interesting foliage and the center is glorious as seen in these photos. The last picture is rather obvious
as nothing in the garden has quite the shape of the shelf mushroom. I never tire of their convoluted folds and interesting markings which make each a unique work of nature.
Whole worlds exist within our own which are not visible or immediately apparent. Taking a moment to stop and take a look can give one an appreciation and respect for the unseen nature coexisting with us in the world.
There are pictures within pictures that many of us would never see without the aid of the computer and digital picture enhancement abilities. It allows us a peak into another world. This is the world that Georgia O'Keefe must surely have inhabited. The plant world is full of color and sensuous curves that often go unnoticed and overlooked. Would you have noticed, in this picture, the button blue buds of the Eupatorium coelestinum aka hardy ageratum or, the streaks of color on the dahlia petals if the shot had not been magnified?
Here is the larger shot of this picture. Looking through a microscope holds great appeal for many which is understandable given the minute worlds which are invisible to the naked eye but show clearly through the lens of the microscope and it is a similar surprise when looking through a macro lens. The simple closeup of a picture can take on the characteristics of the familiar. See if you can figure out what the larger picture would show given this view of the item in question. I've named this one 'rounded rump' or 'Casper's posterior'.
Get ready for hot colors, slippery curves and color intensity as the folds of this picture are revealed.
Do you feel the heat?
Sometimes a picture comes out fanciful when blown up such as this one, mushrooms or balloons?
Other times the image is a bit scary causing one to flinch like this shot. The watercolor beauty of nature is readily apparent in a closeup. A closeup shows color that is transient, changing each day, given the age of the flower and the lighting of the moment. Each different exposure is a unique palette. A closeup shows the brush strokes of nature
which can rarely be improved upon even though they are mimicked by the human hand. The textural intricacies
also become apparent in photographs.
Dew drops are magnified and look as though they could quench the thirst of many a passing insect and the flesh like texture of this shelf mushroom is tantalizing. I think it is a lesson in perception. How you interpret things whether it is a plant, a picture, a word, or a gesture, is really all about the limited, immediate facts you can process. No two people see things exactly the same or respond the same way. I will post the larger images of these pictures on the next post. All will be revealed. Feel free to take a guess at what the larger image might show. You might be surprised.
The garden in June is a magical place. It is made more magical with digital technology and the ability to blow up pictures to the point where pollen is visible and stigmas, stamens, anthers and filaments are visually intriguing and quite beautiful. The secondary colors of the small parts of the flower take center stage and appear more vibrant than in the original photograph. Nature's perfection is revealed in cinematic detail. This acquilegia aka columbine was planted last year. This cultivar holds its' head up high in comparison the the wild columbines which bow their heads and nod at the ground. Both are beautiful in their own right don't you think?
Here is the longer shot of this columbine. The petals are hand painted works of art. The 'Pat Austin' rose which I planted a couple of weeks ago is blooming.
The stems seem a bit weak for the heavy flower heads but I am hoping that when the roots take hold and penetrate the soil the stems will thicken and strengthen enough to hold the flowers up high. This apricot flower blends well with the Spirea 'Magic Carpet' which is out of sight but in the same garden bed. I planted this rose behind the stone bench at the fish pond in the hope that it would provide fragrance while one is watching the fish swim. Time will tell. I planted three of these iris and one of them, named 'Starship Enterprise', is blooming.
I don't see any sign of the others but this one is giving a satisfying show and has several buds lying in wait. I hope that it likes this spot and multiplies in the coming years.
The Siberian iris are starting to bloom. All seem a bit late this year as it has been a chilly spring. I planted these long ago and am not a record keeper so the names are lost. I'm calling this one 'Sky Wings' and the next could very well be 'Caesar's Brother'.
Electric blue is so soothing in the garden.
The clump is very elegant with the buds soaring above these flowers. Nature's paintbrush has been busy on this hosta leaf.
This one is 'Great Expectations' which is aptly named. I have been waiting more than five years for this hosta to achieve some size and it is finally approaching 'greatness'. I think this is a watercolor. Is there anything more perfect than the colors nature blends?