Sunday, April 8, 2012

Dutch Iris

Spring is flying by.  My garden has arrived at a kind of awkward stage where there doesn't seem to be a lot blooming.  Driving around I see lots of azaleas and dogwoods, but I don't have very many azaleas since I know deer like them and I get a lot of deer browsing.  When I take a careful look, I realize that I do have several things in bloom.  Maybe if I group them better it will look more like I have a real garden, but it might just be that for this brief window in spring, my garden will never look as flowery as the rest of the world.  Oh well, in a few days their azaleas will be gone and I'll still have ... what?  Well, a little of this and that, anyway.  I'm looking forward to the swath of larkspur that is just about to explode.  I have chamomile that charms me every spring around the same time, too, and the first stem is already blooming (along with cilantro). 

For now, what I'm most enjoying are the Dutch Iris.  These bulbs do well for me and multiply each year.  I originally bought a mix and ended up hating some of the colors so much I dug some up and threw them in the compost.  That might be the first plant I ever bought that I intentionally killed.  On the other hand, I adore these ones, that combine my favorite garden colors, blue and yellow.  These are really blue, not purple or lilac or indigo.  Yum.

This particular individual flower is a bit weird.  Do you see it?  On most of the flowers, there are three yellow falls and three blue standards.  This one has two yellow falls, two blue standards, and a mutant blue-and-yellow freak petal.  Here's a close-up of the mutant petal.  It's kind of beautiful in its own right... which is not going to prevent me from pulling it up and putting it in the compost of the rest of the flower buds on the stalk open like this too.  I'm pretty curious to know if this kind of "sport" is common.  I haven't noticed it before.
There were also a lot of white iris in the mix.   Initially I wasn't crazy about them, but I gave them another chance and now that they have multiplied into a decent size clump I like them a lot more.  They blend very nicely with the deep purple ones. 

The only problem with the Dutch iris is that, unlike most (or all?) other iris varieties, the foliage is nothing to write home about.  It doesn't even necessarily wait until the flowers are done blooming before it starts looking hideous.  I need to come up with something to plant with it that will be green and full at this time, leaving just enough head room for the iris to stick out the top.  The larkspur actually is about the right height in some spots, but is a bit too short near the iris.  I have marjoram that might be tall enough right now to hide some unsightly foliage... something to think about.  Any other ideas?