The columbine, aquilegia ‘Magpie’, grown from free seeds included in a Thompson and Morgan order several years ago, is now opening, and was glad to get a shower to wash off the yellow pine pollen from its petals. He is looking clean and refreshed.
New this year to us, planted last fall, is Allium ‘Purple Sensation’. These received an A+ rating for their deep purple color and nice size, measuring up at about two and one half feet in height. More of these will be added to this year’s bulb order, being formed mentally now.
The iris season has begun here. After two flowerless years, the iris collection was very nearly composted. Giving them one more chance, the plants were divided and replanted last fall, making sure to remove any and all weeds that like to plant themselves in the middle of the rhizomes. Soft and damaged parts were discarded, the leaves trimmed to six inch fans, the rhizomes were planted facing south with the tops just exposed above the soil. If they did not bloom after all that, it would be a sad goodby, bon voyage. Responding to the threat, Champagne Elegance is giving us a good show.
Like this Cinnamon Girl, a real starlet. She is a very heavy bloomer on tall strong stems.
The story of the
dance of the dianthus can be summed up with this shot of the pathway that traverses the middle terrace. In the upper left corner is the climbing rose, Moonlight, just coming into its bloom period that lasts until frost.
Offspring Semi has a large specimen, grown from a cutting, of this same rose. We were discussing this weekend the beauty, vigor and fragrance of Moonlight. It was determined that if one were to only grow a single variety of rose, this would be it.
The azaleas have benefitted from the somewhat cooler recent days and the slow drizzle of rain. The blossoms were not knocked off by a harsh pelting of drops, but were misted gently instead, allowing the colorful blooms to remain on the stems extending our delight. Shown above from the left, R. Admiral Semmes, R. Mandarin Lights and R. Primrose.
We are thankful for the blessed rain recently received. The drought continues here in Southeast Tennessee, we are five inches below average for this year, nearly a twelve inch deficit left over from last year. Any rain is good rain at this point. The steps to lessen the impact of these weather statistics that we can take here, in addition to frenzied dances performed to appease the rain gods, are mulching, detailed weeding, and planting the natives that can survive a lack of water by suctioning the moisture from our clay soil. Last year we were still wringing our hands over the late killing frost when the drought began. We were not paying attention to the saddening state of the plants, blaming the cold temperatures for the drooping leaves and browning flowers. It was difficult to diagnose plant deaths until fall when the hard facts of the drought began to make headlines and lead in stories on the news. We are now armed with the knowledge that we are in the throes of a serious lack of rain. We can be vigilant and quick with the watering can and the rain gauge. We can be thankful when the skies are dark with the clouds that bring the precious precipitation. And we are.