Thursday, January 26, 2012

Internet Picture Borrowing

With surprising (to me) frequency I get requests to use pictures from this old blog. It is even more of a surprise to me how these various requesters figure out exactly who I am and how to get in touch with me; I assume for each person that reaches me to ask permission, there must be several who fail. Therefore I would like to make it easier and issue a blanket allowance: any of the pictures on this blog may be used freely for all legitimate (and some illegitimate) purposes.

Don, waiting for spring in Iowa City...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Arrival Of Thanksgiving

Early winter, and the Holiday Season have arrived in the midst of our little valley like some unbidden and not totally welcome presence. The days pass in a blur with all the energy and exuberance of a new puppy. I note that this Iowa Garden still gets a surprising number of visits every day, considering that the blog is frozen in time; rather like passing folks peeking over the fence at a gardener slumbering next to his hollyhock patch, I guess... not much going on, but worth a quick peek.
Unfortunately, among the visitors there seems to be quite a band of folks from China and other exotic ports of call, that wish everyone to know that they would be pleased to have you send envelopes of cash to purchase fake Viagra. While I have comment moderation, taking the time to occasionally delete these posts is a minor irritant, so that I am reluctantly turning off commenting. If you need to get in touch, you'll just have to stop by (it will be worth it, as you'll go home with an armload of plants).

Friday, June 05, 2009

A Good End

Every story has a beginning; in the case of this modest garden blog it was in February of 2005, with the bloom of the first snowdrop of the new garden year. Every story must also have an ending, and for An Iowa Garden, that day has arrived; it is a happy ending, though... I am not stopping because of ill health or a lack of stories or new plants to write about (I would say in the four years I've been writing this blog I've probably shown about a fourth of the plants in our garden). Rather, it is because of a lack of time; there are just not quite enough hours in the day, which I confess seems odd, since I retired from medicine six years ago, wondering how I would ever fill all my unaccustomed spare time.
I've made a lot of new friends through blogging, and have very much enjoyed meandering through other peoples' garden blogs too, and I hope a few folks have enjoyed following me about here in our garden, tucked in a small valley beside a pond, in a woods in eastern Iowa. This week the newest fawn is being paraded about by its proud mom, the young raccoons are discovering the challenge of shinnying up the birdfeeder pole in the dark of night, and the barred owls are hooting up and down the valley in the cool spring evenings. Seasons and years continue to unfold around and before me, and I feel deeply connected to all the wild creatures that share our land; and to the woods and to our garden in that woods. Living with (and in) nature can be occasionally exasperating, it can be funny or it can be very sad; but above all, it is a privilege. I have come to realize that the mark of a person can be measured by how they treat the least and most vulnerable of God's creatures.
Good gardening and Godspeed to all of you...

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Monday, June 01, 2009

You Could Do Worse...

I always wonder about gardeners who completely devote their garden to one type of plant; they have one great fanfare of flowering, then a long, quiet summer; I've always thought that wouldn't be for me, but today I started thinking you could do a lot worse than having a whole garden of Siberian irises. Here is Iris Spinning Song, a striking reddish violet.
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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Just Puttying Around

When the puttyroot orchids bloom in the woods, I know it is time to watch for new fawns, and this year has not been a disappointment. A few days ago I was just walking along the garden pathway near the pond, glanced down, and there was the tiniest of new fawns curled up right by the path; I could have picked it up in the palm of my hand. Mom was nearby, lying in the woods. That path has been off limits so as not to frighten them, but I've had some peeks through the binoculars of the doe licking her fawn and nursing it. Now the fawn is walking better, so they've moved over to a hill above the pond where there are some nice breezes and a bit of green grass.
The new fawn has some lineage here, as I'm pretty sure its mother was a new fawn here herself two years ago; I'm not totally certain, as I've not put name badges or different colored caps on all the deer to tell them apart (though I've thought about it). However, the doe is a distinctive bright chestnut, and short in stature.
She was one of two fawns of a most wonderful mother, as we had a tiny, motherless fawn (that I called "Sweetheart") show up at that time and some of the older deer were trying to run it off. Though she already had two, slightly older fawns of her own, that doe took in Sweetheart, and she and the three fawns were a tight family.
So, I would say our new fawn is the offspring of Sweetheart's stepsister... you know, maybe I need to get out more.
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Monday, May 25, 2009

Pinellias I Have Loved And Grown

Pinellias, somewhat horticulturally reclusive cousins to jack in the pulpits, are among my favorites in our garden. This is Pinellia 'Polly Spout'. It is a chance hybrid between P. tripartita Atropurprea (a fairly aggressive seeder) and P. pedatisecta (a truly awesome seeder). Fortunately, Polly Spout is sterile (a triploid, I assume). It does offset into a nice, fairly compact clump (most other pinellias run like bandits, popping up, it would seem by perverse choice, at ridiculous distances from the mother plant). Polly was discovered in the old We-Du nursery, and named after a famous spring that now forms a pond at the nursery, Polly's Spout (We-Du is now Meadowbrook Nursery).
Polly Spout shows a slightly purple spathe (hood), with a very tall, upright spadix (jack), and tall, lush tripartite foliage, looking like a dark green, waxy jack in the pulpit. It stays in bloom essentially all summer and always looks great. As I mentioned, it's sterile, but I still can't fathom why it's fairly expensive, because it is a strong, carefree plant that divides readily and steadily... I figure next year I can start potting some up as giveaways for garden visitors.
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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Two Good Things

Every garden is a bit hit or miss; two things that have recently worked out well here are, at top, sinking a plastic tub in the ground to grow primula japonica in, and at bottom, a large oval raised, shaded flower bed with a pathway all around it.
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