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Welcome to My Jungle - May 2017

Birds are arriving from their winter home to add their beauty and song to my landscape. I hope that I have created a suitable environment for them to complete a successful breeding season. A ruby throated hummingbird alerted me to his presence very recently, so I dropped everything to put out feeders. He seemed rather pleased. I have also sighted two pairs of rose-breasted grosbeak, indigo buntings, and eastern bluebirds. The elusive piliated woodpecker graced our peanut feeder and I am hopeful for future sightings. Skinks and tree frogs abound as well.

Spring is always such a beautiful time in the Jungle. For the past several weeks, I have been oohing and aahing over all the new blooms. I have started a number of pawpaw from seed over the years and the oldest, which was planted in 2009, is finally in bloom for the first time. The bloom may be small, but the blood-red flowers are quite beautiful when viewed up close

It is also iris season in the Jungle and 'Tuscan Summer' has won a place on my personal favorites list. Described as a fiery red plicata with sunshine yellow overlaying the falls, this tall bearded beauty stands out for not only its unique coloring but also its impressive height of 38". There are about 80,000 registered iris cultivars so collecting can be a fun hobby but at the same time somewhat overwhelming. For gardeners looking for a narrowed down list of good iris cultivars, the American Iris Society (AIS) conducts and publishes the top 100 results of an annual popularity poll amongst its members of tall bearded (TB) iris ( They also sponsor a number of awards for each classification of iris, which I find a useful qualification for limiting choices.

I had to laugh when I read the following sales pitch, "If you cherish the strange, have an affection for the odd or downright weird - this arisaema's for you!" It is funny because just previously I was standing in the Jungle admiring my whipcord cobra lily (Arisaema tortuosum), thinking it was really cool! Clearly I have found my calling.