The Case of the Twinning Iris cristata

I don’t know why this is the first year I have seen twin buds in my Iris cristata, but I have many, many with twin buds, in a couple of different spots; it’s especially obvious now that they are fading. Maybe they are sports. Maybe it’s the unusually dry weather. Maybe they’ve been there all along, and somehow I’ve missed them. I will be watching the area more closely over the next couple of years.

These flowers, at the beginning and end of their lives, are over a week apart, and coming from the same flower bud. Photographed on May 14, 2021.

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Interregnum: December, the Fall Into Winter

After 11 inches of snow on November 11, things got quiet weather-wise. Winter did not quite settle in. We got less than two inches of snow in December, and just a dusting on Monday—not enough to stick to the sidewalks. So what happens in the pause, the interregnum, between fall and winter? Continue reading “Interregnum: December, the Fall Into Winter”

Edge Effects in Shade

“Your garden looks like an estate!” That comment really surprised me, but I realized that there is one thing this little yard has that most yards do not: beds with clearly defined edges and swaths of plants that are the same variety. Edges and swaths lead the eye around, and can make your yard seem both larger and calmer. 

Fall is a great time to think about what changes you would like to make to your yard; many plants can be divided and moved around now that the temperatures are cooler. Summer’s damage can be appraised, and gardening mistakes can go discreetly into the compost pile.  Continue reading “Edge Effects in Shade”

The Green of May

What a gorgeous time of year. My eyes have been craving the bright, grassy, green of May in everything from lawn to ferns to rose foliage and new fig leaves. Here are some of my favorites.

The ostrich ferns are more or less full size, and a beautiful shade of green. Some of them have moved into the small gap between the top of the driveway and the big planter that sits there, making it easy to look down into them. Now that they are fully unfurled, the leaves make beautiful patterns.

Photograph of view straight down into the middle of an ostrich fern.
Looking straight down into the funnel of an ostrich fern. Photographed on May 14, 2018.

The rue anemone have lost or hidden all their red pigment—the flowers are now white and the leaves are bright green. Rue anemone spreads happily and shares space well, especially with eastern columbines, which have similar-looking foliage. The occasional pop of red is pleasant. Continue reading “The Green of May”

Winter Seems to be Winding Down

I stepped out this morning just to see daylight, and found that there was only one small patch of snow left in my yard. We had quite a pile after the last set of snowstorms, especially in the spot where the driveway snow and the sidewalk snow were piled together.

Photograph of late winter flowerbed edge showing a very small remnant of snow
Is this the last of this winter’s snow? Photographed on February 25, 2018.

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Looking Back on May Flowers

May is always remarkably busy in the garden. It goes from largely native spring ephemera to the big blowsy traditional flowers that people associate with old-fashioned gardens: roses, peonies, bleeding hearts and allium.

But before talking about those more traditional plants, perhaps in the next post or two, I would like to talk about Iris cristata. Today, the foliage is doing its ground cover duty, but at the beginning of the month, the Iris cristata were just leafed out and showing flower buds. Continue reading “Looking Back on May Flowers”