Friday, April 30, 2010

in our garden

hosta bed looks best as the early morning sun rakes across the leaves

Tropicana begins to show us some Orange!

first purple iris on May Day.

antique lavender-blue sweet smelling iris were here when we moved in,
I see them all over DC in other old home gardens.

lavender flowers and if you look closely you will see the green seed pods of the "money plant" that develops silver white coins as it dries out over summer.

pen pal Cor's purple iris gifted from France

Japanese roof iris, the last bloom this year. (latin: Iris tectorum)

clematis last year only had about 3 blooms...

In our garden the flowers are coming out fast and furiously the past few weeks. It is such fun to watch and record as it all rolls by so quickly. Adding more plants that flower is always done this time of year when the ground is just getting warm and the rains are plentiful to keep roots growing. Cool nights and warmer days to help them settle in to a new home. Soon the hot will return but this time of year we only have burst of heat now and then retaining the perfect weather for flowers to grow and bloom and new plants to settle in to new beds.

I am always up lifted when a new flower opens or a plant from last year outdoes it's previous season's performance. The new blooms on the lavender-blue clematis are spectacular and it is only the second year in a temporary pot. I find that lost flowers are often forgotten but the lovely returns are encouragement that we too, will survive another hot summer or cold winter. Gardening and visiting gardens are a source of hope and restoration. I wish more people had gardens and visited public gardens.

This week I heard the songs of the House Wren return to the garden in our yard this week where he will find a nice clean house just the right size hole for him. I am impressed with all the new flowers that I found this morning. A purple iris just opened for the very first time. It was planted two season back and finally has show it's first color in our beds. The first rose of the season is opening and several small columbines have show their first colors.

Meanwhile, I am worried about the huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; this is the the latest reminder that we all need to conserve and lessen the demand of energy used in this country while we are looking for alternatives to fossil fuels. Turn off a light, unplug a vampire appliance until you need it, or go to bed at sundown, if we each do our little part it will add up. There is still hope in the garden.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Arboretum Dance

Japanese roof iris has a great story where that name came from follow the link to read about it in a brief article.
new miniature hosta Little Miss Moffet!

my new mini hosta "little miss moffet" set in place with three potted up last year counter clockwise named:"blue mouse ears", "cracker crumbs" and "stiletto"

our new bloodroot already planted on the north face in a woodland like setting

5 new bare root day lilies ready to plant and enjoy for only 25 dollars I went hunting the net and found images of them all from other growers and linked the names to the images on their web pages...
red volunteer, bright red
seductor red with green throat & scented
chesapeake crablegs orange spider type day lily,
firestorm another spider type red orange yellow,
royal trumpeter a coral orange with red zones

May pole dance with concertina accompanists danced at the Arboretum plant sale!

Today while at the annual Friends of the National Arboretum Plant sale we were lightly entertained by the maypole dancers and a few squeeze box musicians while shopping for delightful plants to add to our garden. Videos only visible on the Orange Explains it All blog page.

I got a new mini hosta for my growing collection and 5 new daylily from the growers who all had great stories to tell and lots of tips for growing. The advantage of buying from a enthusiastic grower rather than a superstore nursery like Lowe's, Walmart or Home Depot. I found strong bold red daylily and lots of spider petal versions in red,orange,brown, yellow, white and pink to choose from but it was a hard choice. In the end I just went with my gut and grabbed the ones that excited me most. They will go from bare root bundles into pots this year until they show me how they grow and maybe how they bloom.
Keith found some wonderful native plants and exotic Japanese specimens he can use in his ikebana arrangements and delight in the uniqueness of the exotic, hopefully not invasive hybrids. We brought home a woodland native flower called bloodroot which has a white flower that oozes orange liquid when picked in the early spring. My grand mother showed me the first one in the forest as a kid and I never forgot how I was amazed by that bright orange color fluid.
I have to say I am having trouble finishing this post about the garden because we have so much work to do and the images are flowing in fast and furiously beautiful. Fresh greens on the hostas, beautiful blues of our iris and now the clematis is beginning to open. Oh the most beautiful time of year when you have a garden is spring....

Sunday, April 18, 2010

orange surprises

At the National Arboretum in a forest full of azaleas there are numerous orange varieties in bloom this weekend! If you want to see the other lovely images from the second weekend of the Ikebana exhibition and all sorts of azaleas blooming along the trail and in the formal gardens of the arboretum check out my updated set on flickr.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

visiting the national arboretum full of delights

tulip beds were done in orange!
a passing red bearded fellow caught our eye
ikebana arranged in three trays
ikebana includes wood with massive volume & texture

deep pink camellias blooming outside in the woods

a huge number of fresh camellia blooms sorted labeled for the show
orange sogetsu ikebana freestyle arrangement was built with copper sheeting bent into light catching shapes
Keith taking in the show and making pictures
Japanese tokonoma (alcove) at the museum, showing how the Japanese display art and flowers and sometimes bonsai or viewing rocks in their homes was the first arrangement in the ikebana show.
a corner of the Japanese garden path
Japanese style bonsai each about two and a half feet tall
popular pass time is feeding the hungry koi, they never seem to get enough
bonsai gardens gate

Saturday we went to the ikebana international exhibition at the National Arboretum, we love to go this time of year. It was also the annual camellia show and there were lots of folks there to see Bonsai trees and azaleas in the forest and the early woodland wild flowers on the native plants trail. It was a great day cool and clear and just right for viewing everything but we only made it through the Ikebana, Bonsai, display garden and finally the Camellia show on this trip. Those filled our heads and our cameras with colorful images to last a while. Our stomachs said let's eat and that is one thing missing at the arboretum, so we came home and made lunch and enjoyed it in our own gardens which are lovely too.
I will be putting my new images on my flickr page in a set of the ikebana show and arboretum visit. The ikebana show continues for two more weeks changing exhibits each week on Thursdays.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

poetry flowers birds in Brookland

narcissus poeticus

grackles walking in pairs in the oregano

narcissus poeticus

yellow eyed grackle surveys the garden

In my neighborhood of Washington DC, called Brookland there are an unusual number of poets or they are just better known to me because of an organization called The Brookland Area Writers and Artists (BAWA) I enjoy reading their poems posted in face book notes during the "poem a day challenge" for the 30 days in April last year. This year has been a little slow with the poems only coming from one poet for all 7 days of this month so far. Anyway two things remind me of my area poets because they seem to like them as much as I do. Black birds and narcissus poeticus, the white narcissus with a small eye at the center. This morning I was up early and met some of both, blue black grackles with their bright yellow eyes and narcissus poeticus with its red ringed yellow eyes! A beautiful black crow came visiting, yesterday but my camera was blocked by the blinds when he sat outside my window cawing at some unseen mate. Birds are having a hay day making nests with the dead grasses in our yard. I saw a speckled Starling pluck a fresh green mint leaf and carry it up on the roof top where he sat and squealed about it, standing over it's nest, situated in the eaves directly below.
BWAW holds a monthly poetry reading where all my poet friends get together and read poems of a certain predetermined theme for all comers the second Wednesday evening of each month at 7:00PM. I am looking forward to hearing this month's reading one week from tonight. By then I am hoping that this unusually hot weather will be gone. This dramatic heat wave 30º degrees above normal is worrisome just like the massive snow falls were two months ago. We are trying to conserve energy to reduce our carbon foot print and provide nectar and pollen for the local bees in our garden. The good news is there is plenty of pollen for the troubled honey bees and I have seen them all over the garden gathering it for their hives on the hill.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

cherry blossoms and narcissus poeticus

crocus and lambs ear with some day lily in the back ground working their way up through the pine needle mulch.

narcissus poeticus

narcissus poeticus bursts forth

cherry blossom covered branches reach down to the water's edge

young girl poses with a hand made doll that looks like her also in a yellow dress

Lots of people posing and waiting for family and friends by the tidal basin.

Bob and Doug at the 2010 cherry blossoms on the tidal basin.

I am home alone for a week and there are all sorts of exciting things to do because spring has really arrived. The wonderful cherry blossoms around the city and especially at the Jefferson memorial's unique tidal basin. It is a circular pool that holds water from the tidal Potomac river, hence the name. The basin never empties out so there must be some controls which I don't know anything about but I wanted to mention it for those who don't know about that body of water's name. I always wondered what it meant...

I went with my pals Doug and Bob for an early evening walk round the basin. It took us about two and a half hours to stroll around stopping to take pictures and look at the views. Bob didn't take pictures so he had to wait on his two dates with the cameras to get our all consuming snap shots. We had some fun trying to find the best light and angles for pictures of the trees and their flowers and the water and the monument and people visiting. Naturally all this was very causal not serious photography. What is kind of amazing is how many people go there with some sort of camera and more and more they are iPhones. I love my small point and shoot digital camera, as you all know by now, I take lots of pictures. I am going to post the full cherry blossom set on my flickr. page.

After dark this weekend there is a conjunction of Venus and Mercury in the evening sky just after sunset in the western sky that we can all see if the clouds that are hovering over head don't impede your view at that time. 3º apart the two planets will be very bright in the early evening side by side. I can't wait to see and I might try to get a picture if the view is clear here.

I also am enjoying the garden spring flowers are showing off especially the narcissus this weekend. Last fall I planted a string of crocus and grape hyacinth's (muscari) along the edge of our fence garden to show off for the passing commuters and walkers on the nearby sidewalk. They are shaded and facing north so coming out slowly. The small species crocus I planted in the lawn has faded but they were an early spring delight and I plan to add lots more this autumn.