09 May 2011

Horticulture is a groping in the dark

I spent Saturday in the garden, planting some sweet violets (Viola odorata) and wild ginger (Asarum canadense) that I bought on eBay (!), cutting the 'lawn,' and deadheading. Sunday I went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival with Maman and walked up and down the large, hilly fairground.

The weather both days was as close to my definition of perfect as possible. My irises are starting to bloom. My annual treat of a pit lamb sandwich and ribbon fries was delicious. And this morning I feel as you might expect a woman like me to feel after a weekend of pushing mowers, getting down on hands and knees and back up repeatedly, and spending several hours walking around a large, hilly fairground. Ouch!

I took my camera to the festival and then took no pictures; I will try to take one of the yarn I bought and talk about the festival more later this week. In the meantime, here's an iris for you:

Iris 'Alta California'?

This is one of two varieties that someone had planted here before we bought the house; they were jammed into an entirely unsuitable corner. I lifted and moved them to a better location, and they've done very well for me. I think this one is 'Alta California,' which was a sensation when it was introduced in 1931, though probably now gardeners prefer newer, more ruffled varieties with less foxing on the falls. Nevertheless, one could do worse than to find 'Alta California' lurking in a corner of the garden.

The other is sort of lavender and bronze and if that sounds like an unlikely colour combination, well, it is. I haven't yet been able to identify the cultivar. It's showing buds now; when it blooms I'll share a picture.

James Tate

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