Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Dark Green Thumb: Iris and Peony

There are many lessons learned from tending a garden. Patience is perhaps greatest. When I first began selecting plants for my garden, I indulged in a single peony plant. Their blooms are so grand that they can put a rose to shame. I initially planted it in a sunny spot where I was confident it would thrive. It didn't. Peonies are known to be a bit persnikity in the first couple of blooming seasons. But after they're established, plants have been known to survive and bloom for decades. Three years passed. Each spring, tender shoots would push up threw the ground, but a small flowerless shrub was all that it produced. Last fall, I dug it up and moved it to a new bed. I was a bit concerned, since it would not get as much sun, but the gamble paid off. I was rewarded with a large bush full of beautiful pink gorgeous blooms. The flowers become so large and heavy that that literally fall over from their weight. I really like them for cutting flowers, since they dazzle in a vase.

Before the peonies opened, my siberian irises made an appearance. I divided the expanding clump in two last fall after planting the rhizomes 3 years ago. Both divisions multiplied 4-fold. Siberian's are my favorite iris. I know people love the bearded varieties, but a fading bloom always looked like rotting fruit to me. The siberians are similar in size and character to the dutch variety. They have no beards or frilly edges, but slender purple petals. Each blossom looks like a minimalist sculpture, elegant in its economy. A dragon fly was apparently as taken with it as I.

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