bearded iris Silverado
2004-05-06. Bearded iris ‘Silverado’ on a cloudy day.

May 6th, 2008
Iris ‘Silverado’

Two small stems of the bearded iris ‘Silverado’ bloomed for May Day. I want to say that ‘Silverado’ has never been very vigorous in my garden but photographic evidence contradicts me. Apparently I had quite a good stand of it in 2003 before I divided it and moved it. The three large rhizomes I’d bought from Schreiner’s Iris in 1999 had multiplied to 12 crowded small ones.

Schreiner’s bred ‘Silverado’ and introduced it to the iris world in 1987 where it took award after award, winning the highest honor, the Dykes Medal, in 1994. The color is the palest silvery blue with the slightest hint of lavender. The color glimmers in the mist or moonlight but washes out in glaring sunlight. The blooms are full and ruffled without the over-the-top frilliness of some modern irises. The standards and the falls are proportionately balanced.

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Hoedown at May Dreams Gardens
Since Carol @ May Dreams Gardens got her hands on her, there’s been no stopping this hoe. She wants to get down and get dirty with those Indiana hoes.

May 2nd, 2008
Pimpin’ My Hoe

Note: This post was written for today’s Hoe Down at May Dreams Gardens.

Like a faded wall-flower at the prom, my hoe is frequently overlooked and underappreciated. I prefer a garden fork and pruning shears for fighting my way through my root-laden clay. However, since Spring Fling, this hoe has been putting on airs. She had the thrill of a little one-on-one action with Carol, connoisseur of hoes, the hoe-stess with the mostest.

As I handed the hoe over to Carol’s capable hands, she eyed it critically. “Needs sharpening.” was her assessment.

“But how do you use it?” I asked, perplexed. “Do you dig with the pointy end? chop with the curved blade?” I want to pull it through the dirt like a plow blade but the angle of attack seems all wrong.

Carol slid her hand up and down the wooden handle, testing the center of balance. “Like this,” she demonstrated with a few smooth, easy strokes on the chipped bark path. My hoe’s finest moment. Carol looked around. “You don’t really have the right kind of garden for hoes. You need a vegetable garden. With rows.”

Unloved hoe. She knows her best days are behind her.


May 2nd, 2008
Ode to Toad (or rather Requiem for a Frog)

AJM came in upset from his morning ritual of greeting the goldfish. “There’s a toad or something caught in the bird-netting and I think it’s dead.” I went to check and so it was. The poor thing had gotten its nose stuck in the netting and its own weight held just its nose under water and it drowned.


Last night a second maker of ribbets joined the bullfrog. And then there was a distinctively different croak. Was it this frog? A Rio Grande leopard frog, Rana berlandieri perhaps. This one was large, (although I don’t know how frogs are measured), at least 4 inches from nose to anus not counting the legs.


This is not the first time the bird-netting has caught something unintended. Durn raccoons. If it weren’t for the raccoons, I wouldn’t put the netting over the pond. If I take it off, then I chance waking to dead goldfish tomorrow. Is what differentiates humans from other animals the fact that all our interventions are fraught with anxiety? Or is that just a phenomenon of us city-bred moderns, we squeamish ones, who are out of touch with death?

Papaver Dorothy Cavanaugh passalong

May 1st, 2008
Week 18: May Day Pinks

Julie @ Human Flower Project passed along poppy seeds which finally started blooming this week. (Everyone else’s in Austin bloomed throughout April.) She said the double-selection was salmon. In soft early morning light it looked more dusty rose; in glaring afternoon light, definitely salmon. (These two photos are of the same flower taken about six hours apart.)

Papaver Dorothy Cavanaugh passalong

My love-in-a-mist, Nigella damascena had almost died out so, thinking I had enough blue flowers, I planted some ‘Mulberry Rose’ seeds from Renee’s Garden. The cilantro overgrew them and when I was clearing it out yesterday, I discovered these miniature nigella flowers, about the size of a dime, on teeny-tiny plants. (Seed packet: mature height 18-24 inches). Apparently they prefer room to grow.

Nigella damascena

On the opposite end of the scale, the unwieldy crinum (maybe Crinum bulbispermum) continue to flower. These large bulbs don’t like being moved and have taken about three years to settle in and start blooming.

The pink rainlilies, Zephryanthes grandiflora opened all at once today. A single early flower opened on April 28th–but today is really rainlily day.

Zephyranthes grandiflora