Thursday, April 26, 2012

First Blue Irises of 2012

I guess you can tell from my recent posts that I have gardening on my mind a lot lately. What a joyous time of the year spring is! I just couldn't wait until Tuesday for my regular "This Week in My Maryland Garden" post to share my first blue iris blooms of the year. I've been wondering whether we'd have a light or dark blue iris bloom first this year and it turns out they both had their first blooms today! The light blue photographed better but the dark is just as lovely.

In the background of this dark blue iris photo you can see some healthy looking day lilies on the left and some struggling day lilies on the right. I think they're all Stella d'Oro reblooming day lilies but with all the craziness from the excavation I won't know for sure until they start blooming. The struggling day lilies on the right were not just dug up, thrown into pots for a few weeks and then replanted but had also sat potless (with roots exposed) for a few days because we ran out of pots and buckets. And as if that wasn't enough torture for the poor plants I decided to divide them before replanting them (they needed it). Hopefully they'll recover and in a year or two look fantastic again.

Seeing that I'm posting about the garden I'll share about my echinacea (coneflower) experiment.We have a nice butterfly/hummingbird garden which started out with one big purple coneflower. It dropped seeds and then we had three. And then my beloved husband bought a white coneflower and a yellow coneflower bringing our echinacea count to five plants.

Unfortunately for us neither the white nor yellow coneflower plants appeared to make it through the winter but fortunately for us we had a few more seedlings reappear this year. Now, odds are strong that they will all be purple coneflowers but we might get extra blessed and have one or two turn up white or yellow. We won't likely know until mid to late summer because I moved five of them over to the main front yard garden area (which got expanded after the backhoe excavation ordeal) and transplanting tends to delay blooming (at least in my experience). Here's what the little transplants look like now.

This is an overview and there are actually 6 echinacea plants in the above photo but two of the holes (on the right) have seedlings that are hard to see. One of the holes has two seedlings. If they both survive they might be a bit crowded in a year or two but if either one even survives I'll be happy.

Here's a close up of one of the seedlings and here's a lesson learned. I'd never transplanted echinacea before. It turns out that they have a big center tap root in addition to the normal little roots and that tap root is tenacious. I was doing the transplanting after some heavy rain and the plants just didn't want to come out of the ground. Had I known about the tap roots I'd have dug twice as deep as I thought I needed to. That would have made the job a lot easier.

Hope you enjoyed my iris photos and echinacea story. What's going on in your garden?

If you have any tips on growing echinacea or replanting roses (they're next on my put-back-after-the-excavation list) I'd love to hear them! May God bless you!

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