Tag Archives: siberian iris

An early spring garden tour

Even with temperatures dipping into the 40’s here in Central New Jersey and wind gusts of up to 40 mph, I still managed to spend a good deal of time in the great outdoors¬†garden on Sunday. There was still dead perennial foliage to be removed, a first wave of weeds to eradicate and the never ending task of cutting down all of the ornamental grasses. When there is an available window of time for garden chores, you take it, no questions asked.

After the “tasks” were completed for the day, I grabbed the camera and did my best to capture what’s going on. Things seem to have slowed down a bit in the garden after the colder weather arrived this past week but there are still signs that we are in fact moving forward. And that is a good thing.

Bud break on the Viburnum ‘Amber Jubilee’ promises stellar foliage is coming in the very near future.

viburnum emerging


Same goes for the Sambucus ‘Lemony Lace’ which lived comfortably in a container last season but has now made the jump to the big leagues and is in a very prominent spot in the garden.

emerging foliage


Variegated Siberian Iris will enjoy it’s first spring in my garden and here’s hoping it enjoys it’s stay.

emerging iris


Bee Balm rosettes threaten to take over all other perennials and I’m OK with sitting back and watching how it will all play out.

emerging bee balm


Daylilies … um … are green or whatever.

daylily emerging


The cool season ornamental grasses are showing signs of life as seen here with Calamagrostis ‘El Dorado’.

grass emerging


The buds on Viburnum carlesii ‘Aurora’ have turned to their usual pre-blooming pinkish hue and it won’t be long before that killer scent is wafting in my front windows and carrying me away to my happy place.

viburnum bud


I couldn’t bring myself to cut down the Panicum ‘Northwind’ yet. With nothing but cold temps and wind on the horizon, I still need to watch them dance a bit more before I can bid them goodbye.

northwind blowing


And on to the bulbs.

Daffodils, not the most original and unique of blooms but it is still color and they come back without fail year after year after year. An underrated attribute I do not take for granted.



More Narcissus not too far away.

daffodil buds


daffodil buds 2


Leucojum aestivum (Summer Snowflake) is starting to bloom and is one of the few bulbs that can withstand wet soil conditions over the winter. Hence, I have got a lot of it. Loved how the back lit sun was captured here.



leucojum 2


The Hyacinth blooms are mini in stature but I’m just psyched that they came back at all again this year. It is the first time I’ve had repeat bloomers. It’s the little things that make me happy.



How to go from elation to pissed off in 12 easy steps

I was traveling for work this past week (St Louis, Missouri to be exact) so I suffered through some separation anxiety from my garden.

I considered asking my wife to allow me to Skype with some of the newly blooming perennials but that would have been weird, right? I mean who is attached to their plants so much that they can’t go without seeing them for four days? A real friggin wacko if you ask me.

So early this morning I set foot outside to catch up on all I’ve missed since last weekend (They grow up so fast, sniff) and was immediately taken in by the newly blooming siberian irises (‘Snow Queen’):

Such a crisp and clean color that immediately pulls you in. Just awesome stuff.

From there, I was psyched to see that for the first time in three years, my Spirea ‘Snowmound’ was blooming:

Some times patience does pay off and I’m pretty proud of myself.

But then, out of my peripheral vision, I spotted a long familiar beauty. She stood out like my wife stood out when I first met her in college. A beauty like no other that pulled me in and had me stammering over my words (please apply that to my wife also). I took the requisite 12 steps from where I was standing to view the first peony bloom of the year:

There I was, ogling this “bowl of beauty” and taking photos of her from all different angles like the paparazzi. As I contorted my body into all sorts of odd shapes, I was blind to a development that still has me reeling …

The son of a mutha f’n deer devoured 75% of all my peony buds. They’ve never touched them before, not even one bud/bloom. Are you freaking kidding me? No plant has more of a build-up to their bloom period than the peony and it marks the transition to summer. And you’re going to ruin that for me?

Just a few days ago they looked so promising:    

What a slap to the face. This means WAR. Once again, I was too lax and let my guard down. No more you tick carrying, skittish SOB’s.

I will hunt you down day and night. I will throw bars of Irish Spring at your ass. I’ll drop hot sauce from a helicopter above. It is on … it is on like Donkey Kong.


Plants I expect big things from this year

More than a few times this winter I have reviewed all of my garden photos in a “slide show” as a means to get myself all pumped up for the spring/summer. Each time, there are certain plants that have me dreaming big when they pop up on the screen. These are plants that are only a year or two old and have yet to put on their best show.

I’d like to share my optimism with you today and please, share any experiences you may have had with any of these. Just make sure you lie to me if there is anything negative; I’m on too much of a high right now to be brought back down to reality.

I purchased a bunch of Helenium autumnale at a native plant sale last spring and I was blessed with a never ending amount of blooms in late summer.

But, I did a poor job of pruning for height control and left these in an exposed location so they toppled over rather easily. With a new locale and a pruning plan, I expect monstrous results from these natives this summer.

Another native, Amsonia tabernaemontana (Eastern bluestar), was planted two years ago and has not only remain untouched by the deer (due to it’s sap on the leaves) but has also survived in a spot that remains wet at times. However, it has yet to bloom real well and it’s biggest selling point, the yellow, smoke-like fall foliage has not been there as expected. So, everyone say it with me, this is the year to take it to the next level.

I was happy to get a few blooms on a few different Siberian Iris ‘Snow Queen’ last spring and hope to double that output this spring. Isn’t she a beauty?

I loaded up on Chasmanthium Latifolium (or as you common folk call them, northern sea oats) in the Fall of 2009 and they have not disappointed. They worked from spring to late Fall and I would love more of the same this year, even some reseeding is OK (should I be careful what I wish for?).    

I am a sucker for foliage, especially anything in the red/maroon/scarlet family and I planted a few Hibiscus ‘Kopper King’ late last summer. I honestly could skip on the blooms as long as the foliage looks good all season. I liked how they stood out as somewhat of a focal point and contrasted real well with all of the other green foliage. Bigger and badder this year please.

Miscanthus ‘Super Stripe’ was slow to grow last year but damn, I love that variegation. Let’s agree to double in size this year OK?    

Miscanthus ‘Variegatus’ gets real big and can flop but I’m not scared. I have two planted where they can get as big as they want and I’ll deal with the floppiness if necessary.  

Echinacaea ‘Fragrant Angel’ – beautiful blooms and beautiful scent – just want MORE MORE AND MORE.  

I know that Sambucus ‘Black Lace’ will struggle in my poor draining soil and will be nibbled by the deer but I have to have it. So, I plan on growing it in a large container as a specimen on my deck. That foliage is sweet and hopefully this year it gets close to “specimen” size.  

And last but not least, we have Baptisia ‘Twilite Prairieblues’ which had some blooms last year that were stunning. From all indications, I should expect the plants to at least double in size and produce a lot more blooms this year and that my friends, would friggin rule! 

Good night and welcome back to the work week.