photo: Mystics Muse
2005-04-20. Bearded iris ‘Mystic’s Muse’ with ‘Cloud Ballet’ in the background. The Coolpix 4300 captures the shade of orange better than the Canon videocam did back in 2002.

April 20th, 2005
Iris ‘Mystic’s Muse’

Dateline: 2005
I received ‘Mystic’s Muse’ as a bonus iris with my Schreiner’s order in 2000. It produced one perfect scape of flowers in 2001, was set upon by spring cankerworms in 2002, then fell victim to rot. I transplanted 1 small rhizome, which tried hard to flower on multiple scapes in 2003. No bloom from the offsets in 2004. And this year, one rhizome sent up two short (20″ and 11″) stalks which produced four smaller (4″) than average flowers which I cut and brought inside right after taking this photo.

Now there are three rhizomes left that might produce flowers next year. Or rot. I just can’t predict what will happen with irises in my shady, humid garden. They are irresistibly beautiful and so fleeting. That’s why I love them, I suppose.
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photo: bearded iris Cloud Ballet

Bearded iris ‘Cloud Ballet’ M 34″
Lyle Fort. 1990 M 34″: HM ’93 Light blue self with white throats.
Catalog Description: “Cloud Ballet’s classically formed flowers boast heavy ruffles and lace. See how the azure petals lighten at their centers, complementing the yellow-tipped white beards. Good growth, sweet fragrance and occasional rebloom distinguish this Northwest origination as a winner.”

April 19th, 2005
Iris ‘Cloud Ballet’

Forget what I said yesterday about giving up on named bearded irises. Today, two stalks of ‘Cloud Ballet’ began blooming and they are everything bearded irises should be. Each thick stalk is tall and straight and bears half a dozen substantial flowers. The falls don’t…well, not much. They’re fairly horizontal.

photo: bearded iris Cloud Ballet

At least I think this is ‘Cloud Ballet’. I bought one from Schreiner’s in 2001. It is a pale blue, which leans toward lavender, self. The center is pale, almost white, which reflects the light in such a way that makes it look more contrasty in the photo than in real life. From a distance it appears to be the same shade as the bluebonnets beneath it. The beards are white with yellow tips.

There is a chance that it might be ‘Altruist‘.

Whatever it is, it’s bloomed three years in a row: 2003, 2004, and 2005, but it didn’t bloom it’s first spring, 2002.
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photo: unknown bearded iris
2005-04-16. My tough bearded iris.

April 17th, 2005
Incredible Irises

My yard came with a tall, bearded iris. The pale, golden-yellow flowers are old-fashioned in form and usually bloom in April. I think of them as my tax-time irises. They aren’t as fully-ruffled and showy as modern irises. They can’t even stand up straight, but have very wavy stems. But they multiply faster than I can give them away and bloom reliably every year.
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photo: St Josephs Lily

April 13th, 2005
Hippeastrum x johnsonii

I popped over to Garden Spot which hadn’t been updated in almost a year to find a new post on St. Joseph’s lily. And there was the answer to the mystery bulb which is blooming in my garden these last two weeks. I figured it was some kind of amaryllis. I’d found two very small bulbs when rescuing oxblood lilies from a construction site on South 1st street several years ago. They began blooming for the first time this year on March 31st.
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photo: Nemophila insignis baby blue eyes
2010-04-03. Two shades of blue in a central Texas garden: baby blue eyes and Texas bluebonnets.

April 12th, 2005
Nemophila insignis/phacelioides

Valerie shared some seeds for baby blue eyes and now in their second spring in my garden they have really spread themselves around. Like the bluebonnets, larkspur, and Love-in-a-Mist, in central Texas they grow over the winter and flower in the spring.
photo: Nemophila insignis baby blue eyes
2005-03-25. Nemophila phacelioides. Austin, TX

I’ve learned recently that there are various species of baby blues eyes. My plants are descended from seeds gathered, I believe, along the roadways of south Austin. Given that information, I realize it is probably our Texas native Nemophila phacelioides. The N. insignis (aka N. menziesii) sold by some seed companies is native to California and Oregon. This is one time that the Latin names prove more confusing than the common ones.

photo: Nemophila phacelioides baby blue eyes
2005-03-30. Baby blue eyes in front of a mass of spiderwort. Another week or so and this section of the yard will look very weedy.

Update: 2018-03-12

I notice that the self-sown baby blue eyes in the pond path garden are large, bushy, and covered with large flowers. They look stunning this year. In sharp contrast, the ones by the back fence, which had looked nice in years before, are stunted, yellowed and not started to flower.

Is it the acidic sifted pine bark mulch from the paths. I covered this area with it in the fall when I was moving path. It was too much for the bluebonnets causing them to get moldy (or something) and wither. So maybe baby blue eyes like a rich humusy mulch.

Although I tend to disregard them, they can be very beautiful in a well-mulched drift.