Late Spring

Spending time in the last couple of months on family affairs exhausted me both physically and mentally and didn’t leave much time left for anything else. I retreated to Instagram @petalsandwingsimages as my outlet since I didn’t have to spend time correcting images on PhotoShop. Now, as the dust settled, I’m back.

With plenty of rain in early spring, the garden has grown pretty fast and the flowers have responded well, especially the irises. I don’t water irises regularly like the other plants so with plenty of rain they bloom in abundance.

‘Before the Storm’ aside from a beautiful, rich color, they’re also fragrant
‘Dangerous Mood’ This one also fragrant
‘Florentine Silk’ It looks pretty much like its namesake
‘Immortality’, pure white and fragrant
‘Mariposa Skies’, has a slight fragrance and re-blooms
‘Mother Earth’, She smells nice and will be back in October
‘Phoebe’s Frolic’, aside from a beautiful color, it’s also fragrant and still blooming
‘Vigilante’, has an interesting combination of maroon and gold. Also fragrant
‘War Chief’, has a maroon, red color with a gold beard

All these irises either re-bloom or are fragrant or both. With good weather, I should see most of their flowers again in October.

Too Cold To Be Outside

A Good Time For Planning: Flowers For Pollinators I

Snow came down two days ago accumulating just three inches.  Today the garden is still covered with snow and the temperature dropped down to just above 10°F.  It’s a perfect winter day for bird watching through the patio door.  Since the ground is covered with snow and the sources of water around here have turned to ice, they congregate around our feeders and heated birdbaths.  It’s also a good day to start planning for the next growing season.

The plant catalogs have been piling up. I have picked out a couple of new vegetables I want to try and am now looking for flowers that bees and butterflies will like. A new Cosmos ‘Cupcake’ looks very tempting. I have already put 200 crocus in this autumn. If they haven’t all been dug up by the squirrels and chipmunks they should blossom when spring arrives.  Any new plants I choose I make sure will benefit all pollinators, not just honeybees.  If I have to pick and choose however, flowers for the bees will come first.

Here are some plants that work for our pollinator garden and I start with flowers:

Alyssum comes in white, pink and purple. It blooms until frost and has honey scent
Alyssum comes in white, pink and purple. It blooms until frost and has a honey scent.  It’s great for ground cover too.  The white variety self sows very well

Honeybee seems to like this Aster more than the lavender color
Honeybees seem to like this Aster more than the lavender color.  It’s a good late season food source for pollinators.

Summersweet
Summersweet has a perfect name; its fragrance is really sweet. I grow both the pink and white varieties. But it can be a problem in the garden as it produces a lot of suckers.

Sunflower is also everyone favorite, birds included.
Sunflower is also everyone’s favorite, birds included. I was able to grow sunflowers again last year after I put the deer net up.  Prior to last year, all flowers, in fact everything, became deer food.  Sunflowers are fun to grow as there are many colors and different heights to choose from.  The Maximillian’s sunflower below will also brighten up late summer in the garden

Maximillian's sunflower 'Santa Fe' is a perennial that can grow over 6 feet tall and produce plenty of flowers on each stem
Maximillian’s sunflower ‘Santa Fe’ is a perennial that can grow over 6 feet tall and produce plenty of flowers on each stem.

Echinacea is a must for pollinators garden
Echinacea is a must for a pollinators garden.  There are a variety of colors to choose from: pink, white, yellow, orange.  The native purple (dark pink actually) readily self sows.  I propagate other colors by digging them up and separating them after a couple of years.

Butterfly Bush
Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii)has a strong fragrance and easily self sows.  I pick off spent flowers before they set seeds which encourages the plant to produce more flowers and no seedlings that I will have to pull next season.

This iris is a re-blooming variety
This iris is a re-blooming variety and fragrant.  I planted more bearded iris last autumn and look forward to seeing them bloom this spring.

Water Jasmine
Water Jasmine is a tropical flower with a mild, soothing fragrance.  In it’s native tropics, it’ll bloom year round but in a cold climate it blooms heavily in summer.  Bees and moths love it. The honeybee in the photo above is covered with hollyhock pollen .

These are just some of the flowers I managed to photograph with honeybees on them.  There are many more flowers that they like- crocus, snowdrop, Black-eyed Susan.  Next post will be on herbs and vegetables that I allow to flower, both as a pollinators food source and as the next season’s seeds.

 

 

 

Bearded Irises

Another Spring Flower

The bulb boys are first in spring.  Behind them, the rise of the rhizomes bringing on the bearded Iris.  If you calculate correctly, you will have flowers blooming in the garden all season long from spring to frost.  Most of our flowers from bulbs are already gone.  What we have now are the Bearded Irises, Lilac, Clematis Montana and Columbines.

Princess Beatrice (Iris pallida), this lavender blue Iris came with the house, a lot of them.  I had separated and replanted them after a few years, creating another row by the pool fence.  That may have been a mistake.  We have a tough time sitting on the patio or pool deck when they are in full bloom. Their fragrance is too strong.  This year, luckily, the row by the garage walkway bloomed first.  The ones by the pool fence are just budding.

I love their blade-like leaves, especially in the morning when they are graced with dew.  The dewdrops gather like a string of diamonds along the edge of the leaves and glisten in the sunlight.  They are also drought tolerant.  The row next to the garage is partially under the roof so they hardly get any rain.  I water them once in a while when it’s really hot and dry, and they are thriving.  Most of them bloom once per season but I have one that re-blooms in the fall, Lenora Pearl.  We had a freak snow storm in October last year but this re-bloomer weathered that too.  My task now is to search for more varieties of the them.

Princess Beatrice. Lavender blue and very fragrant

White with beige falls

Superstition. Deep purple with slight fragrance

Lenora Pearl. Salmon-pink with orange beard

War Chief. Deep maroon color

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