Sunday, May 17, 2015

Spring waits for no man

Herbaceous peony (unknown cultivar)

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the three days of glory (rarely four, often two, sometimes as little as one) my tree peony gives me.  It's always one of the first plants to bloom in my garden, in fact one of the first to stir at all, showing new growth long before the threat of frost is past (although oddly enough, the flowers have never been nipped by a late frost).  Tree peonies aren't really trees; they are hybrids derived from Paeonia suffruticosa (whose Latin name means "kinda shrubby") and related species with persistent woody stems that might grow a few feet tall at most.  Now it's time for the more familiar herbaceous peonies, the perennial kind that dies to the ground every winter, and tend to bloom a bit later.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Iris time

Iris 'Buckwheat'

Spring in Washington, DC is a delightful season but all too short.   We've just had 10 days in a row with temperatures above 80 (a new record for May), reminding me that heat and humidity often arrive early and that it's best to get most gardening chores out of the way by mid-May, before that window closes.  But spring-blooming plants like my bearded irises look so nice this time of year with no care at all, whispering we don't need anything, look how well we're blooming, just sit back and enjoy us for a while.  It's positively hypnotic.  By the time I snap out of it, June has arrived with its muggy summer heat and perhaps worst of all, bugs.  I was bitten by my first mosquito of the year just yesterday, marking spring as effectively over.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

High school graduation, 1980

[Note: I originally wrote this for my mom's birthday last year, and I hope she'll forgive me for re-running it for Mother's Day!]

I was going through some old photos last night and came across this one from my high school graduation in 1980.  I really like this photo because we all look so happy, and I especially love my mom's smile.  It's hard to believe that in this photo from 34 years ago, my parents are both younger than I am now.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Three days of glory

Tree peony

After a long, cold winter and a late, chilly spring--followed by a week in Buffalo--I finally enjoyed a perfect spring weekend, feeling a bit guilty about not working in the garden but happy to just enjoy the warm weather and appreciate the flowers.  Stealing the show today is my tree peony, an unknown cultivar that is one of the very few plants I've kept from the previous owner.