It’s the Purple Period!

The purple period marks the transition from spring, with its columbines and Baptisia, to early summer, with its roses and peonies, and irises bridge the seasons.

The planter box at the end of the driveway runs south to north; just north of it, the Alpine columbines are  coming into bloom. Right behind them are the rather asparagus-looking Baptisia flower buds; the highly divided leaves to their right belong to the geranium Johnson’s Blue, which is just budding up. The last plant wraps around the outer edge of the entire bed; it’s crested iris, which was at its peak Saturday.

Looking across the brick entryway into the backyard. Front to back: Alpine columbines, Baptisia flower buds, and crested iris. Photographed on May 23, 2020.

Continuing north, the purple tulips are wrapping up, while an allium is about to bloom. It is amazing how late in flower-bud development the color comes in. The color is just visible on this popping flower bud.

An allium bud starting to open. Photographed on May 25, 2020.

We are into Day 2 of an 80°+ heatwave that is expected to break towards the end of the week, but not before the last trace of the Dutchman’s breeches vanish, and the last crested iris flower shrivels up. Hypothetically, it is supposed to rain every day, but so far it is just muggy.

Crested irises abut rue anemone happily under the pawpaw. Photographed on May 21, 2020.

The heat will bring a very quick denouement to the crested irises,  but they made quite splash while they were here. Their bloom period barely overlaps that of the bearded irises.

These bearded irises were all buds the night before this photograph was taken. They are a sport of the iris ‘Batik,’ which may open tomorrow.

Irises, foreground, and Spanish hyacinths on both sides of the downspout exit, in the background. Photographed on May 24, 2020.

A swath of Spanish hyacinths, which are also known as Spanish bluebells, start just south of the gravel-lined trench that funnels the downspout water into the rain garden, and runs northwards in front of the house, mostly wedged between the myrtle and the house.

Spanish hyacinths in the myrtle. Photographed on May 25, 2020.

I have not mentioned the larkspur. It seeds itself in every year, but it is not yet particularly obvious—although the plant that tickled me while I was weeding this morning is probably 2 ½ feet high.

I love the purple period, but it is bittersweet; the  lushly green days of spring will be sent out with peonies and roses, and then settle into the erratic heat and weather of summer.