Sunday, July 30, 2006
Dizzy At The End
One of the last of the large, fragrant Oriental lilies to bloom in our garden is named 'Dizzy'... not a bad way to end the season. It's a bit shorter than most, and therefore sturdier, and holds its blooms smartly. I think I'll stroll back out for a sniff, as it's the last flower that will be perfuming the whole garden on warm summer evenings.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Summertime In Iowa
Summertime in Iowa: it is long, lazy days and then evenings filled with the sound of cicadas, and the sight of lightning bugs flying up to the sky, like so many green sparks rising in the gathering darkness... it is the sinking sun making towering thunderheads glow majestically against a deep indigo sky. Each day unfolds like a sun-filled chapter in a book without an end; yet there are subtle signs that summer is getting long in the tooth: young birds are everywhere, butterflies in ever-increasing numbers are floating through the heavy air, and the garden blooms are turning from pinks and blues to yellows and oranges. We are in the hottest part of summer right now, but all too soon, we will awaken to a morning where mist is rising off the pond in the cool air, and the sumac begins to don its blood red fall coat. I know I must be outside now as much as I can, and I feel like I want to hold my arms wide, and soak in the warmth, the sounds, and the smells of summer in Iowa.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
When I was in college, a friend once set me up on a date with one of the blonde cheerleaders; a young man's fantasy come true, she was indeed pretty and yet... in person not terribly interesting. The roscoeas are sort of like that for me... members of the tropical ginger family, and native to the Himalayas, with shiny foliage, and delicate flowers that are often described as orchid-like, they should be the centerpiece of our garden when blooming, and yet... usually only one bloom opens up at a time on each plant, and the flowers don't last terribly long here, as they bloom in our hottest part of the summer; the flowers soon crumple into limpness. Pictured is Roscoea purpurea; a lilac cheerleader.
Monday, July 24, 2006
This time of year, twilight seems to last for hours, gradually deepening, with the sun creeping down behind the ridge across the pond, wrapping itself in purple and peach clouds. It is then that white flowers begin to glow in the garden, as if lamps have been lit in the shadows, as dusk settles quietly into our little valley. Casa Blanca lilies, with their musky perfume, frame the grave marker for our sweet little cat Snickers; in my humble opinion, the best cat there ever was.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
The Orienpet parade continues, as one after another of these gentle giants of the lily world blooms in our garden; we've already had about three weeks of non-stop, delicious perfume greeting us as we open the garden gate, and now it's Aruba's turn, a lovely, quiet pink that almost melts into the shade along the back ravine. As you head down the trail, the aroma follows you like a soft cloud.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Hosta Blue Mouse Ears
We have scads of hostas in our garden... blue, green, yellow... some as large as four feet across, but of all of them, the one I most often stop and look at is this small hosta, 'Blue Mouse Ears', which I could hold in the palm of my hand. It is said to top out at a foot across, and that seems about right. It has very crisp, thick leaves, and is very symmetrical, with flowers that are large for the plant. Some hostas get kind of straggly looking after a hot summer, but this little hosta always looks like it just climbed out of the shower... it of course needs its own special little spot, lest it get lost in the shuffle.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Summer Gardening Made Simple
This time of year, the peak of summer in Iowa, I start to think that I only really need two kinds of plants in my garden: lilies and daylilies. They are both (especially the latter) very popular in this part of the country, and it's easy to see why: lots of reliable, colorful flowers and very little asked in return. I guess I'd throw in some phlox for variety, and hostas for foliage, and I've got my summertime garden, with plenty of time to drink a cold lemonade while wandering about admiring all the flowers.