A Drying Purple Period

I’m sure you’ve noticed that the weather has been peculiar this year. We went into winter in a drought, but picked up a lot of moisture by early spring. The drought ended. By the beginning of June, it was drying out again, which usually happens in late July or early August. Purple flowers made quite a splash this year, because they had a good start in the spring.

The Baptisia is beyond the drip edge of the Kousa dogwood in essentially full sun. It has an extensive root system, so it is quite drought tolerant. If you look closely to the right of the Baptisia flowers, you will see lawn that is already drought stressed beyond the vignette of green and purple.  

Baptisia in full bloom, framed by the Kousa dogwood and ostrich ferns. Photographed on June 9, 2023.

American wisteria also seems to be drought tolerant. This was the most floriferous year for it yet.

American wisteria in full bloom. Photographed on June 1, 2023.

Iris pallida did beautifully this spring. Despite its preference for lighter soils, it is doing nicely in our gravel outwash. My guess is that drainage is more important than soil-particle size to this plant. Behind these irises, there is a growing swath of Allium christophii, which I consider to be garden sparklers.

Iris pallida and Allium christophii. Photographed on June 1, 2023.

The other iris that did well this spring is blue-eyed grass. It seems at its best when it is popping up in other flower beds, but it does not fill a bed nicely on its own. The flowers are very small, but charming, so I am happy to let it move around.

Blue-eyes grass is grassy in appearance. It’s a good blending plant. Photographed on June 18, 2023.

The last purple plant of the day is spiderwort, which I root out in this yard. It’s beautiful when it’s in bloom, but I do not like the way the plant collapses after it blooms, especially when the clumps are large. So why am I showing you spiderworts? These are by my doctor’s office, and the day I stopped by, the cottonwood seeds had been in full flight. It was a very hot day, so pulling up to this drift was a very cooling and amusing sight.

Spiderworts blooming in a cottonwood seed drift. Photographed on June 2, 2023.

When the purple period ends, the roses take over. More soon.