Thursday, May 29, 2008

Trying To Beat The Rain

It was overcast pretty much all day with the forecast of rain tonite and tomorrow. It's drizzling right now and hopefully will be a good "soaker" thru the evening. We had a Grumpy morning and accomplished all sorts of mulching, weeding, etc. Janice and Jenny planted and tidied up some areas. Jenny's been working on keeping up with labels and Janice is continuing to organize and maintain the pepper collection. Larry and I each went on a plant "pick up" trip as well. We worked solid in anticipation of being slowed down a bit outside. Our Executive Director (Ed Lyon) will be leaving us in a couple of weeks and we'll be looking at a replacement in the future. Ed was our fourth director in 19 years and we wish him the best with his new endeavors.

The image above is of spring starflower (Ipheion uniflorum) which is a bulb that blooms in late May with six-petaled, star-shaped blooms that open during the day and close at night. The grass-like foliage smells like garlic when crushed and this plant will set seed and naturalize over the years. It's a great bulb that's actually native to Argentina but is hardy here (to zone 4). I have lots of this at home too.

The image nearby is a close-up of gas plant (Dictamnus albus) at my home with ornamental onions (Allium 'Purple Sensation') in the background. This is a slow-growing perennial that resents being moved. However, in time, it will be 3' tall and 3' wide and quite showy with dozens of these flower stalks. This plant is a member of the rue family which may have an effect on those that come in contact with it. I personally get a horrible rash (similar to poison ivy) if I touch this plant, or rue (Ruta graveolens) for that matter. Sunlight will exacerbate the rash on those that are affected. I was in severe misery for a week or so. BEWARE! I avoid getting too close but enjoy the blooms nonetheless. There is a nice white variety as well. Some maintain that putting a lighter near the flowers on a calm evening at peak bloom will produce a quick, blue flame that doesn't hurt the flower. I've tried this experiment to no avail but others have had success. Find out for yourself. Below is the start of our expansive iris collection. These are the Siberian iris, spurias and misc. hybrids that we received last year. Another 450 bearded iris will be installed in August. Next June I'll post more colorful pictures of this collection as it matures.

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