One of my many pleasures from gardening is watching the garden develop and change over the course of a season. It never ceases to amaze me how stark, yet beautiful the landscape is in its winter rest. With the leaves gone, the beautiful bark and limb structure of the trees and shrubs is completely exposed, becoming the garden’s prominent feature. All else is a study in brown aside from an occasional splash of green from the various evergreens.
I often have people tell me they don’t grow iris because the bloom just doesn’t last long enough. Since I have had a lifelong affair with iris, my jungle includes quite a collection of iris and they do have a rather short window. Regardless, I decided long ago I preferred to savor their ephemeral beautiful rather than foregoing them all together. With that in mind though, I have to work all the harder to balance a sea of green swords after the blooms have all faded...another good reason to acquire more plants!
Winter may still be with us, but preparation for spring is starting to move into high gear for me in terms of garden activities. One thing recently crossed off my February “to-do” list was seeding transplants of very hardy vegetables and herbs like broccoli and parsley. Seeding the first week of February gives me enough time to grow good-sized transplants for planting in their preferred window of 4-6 weeks before the last spring frost. How did I arrive at the first week of February as my transplant seeding date?
When you have a lot of any one thing, it’s sometimes hard to choose a single favorite, but in the case of tall bearded iris, ‘Edenite’ is the one I most look forward to every season. Described as sooty red-black with brown beards, this historical 1958 release is still a crowd pleaser. Unfortunately, it has been blooming rather infrequently the last few years due to shade development since its planting. The rhizomes keep growing and the patch keeps getting larger, but no blooms. Given that iris require six to eight hours of full sun during the growing season for best performance, some of