Sunday, July 31, 2011

Flowers and Fruits and ... Ugly Bugs?

Sweet Summer Cherry
                There is a moment in summer when the gardener spots that first gleam of red hidden beneath the foliage. She stops, maybe squats down to look more closely.  The ground is warm beneath her feet, and the scent, that unique raw smell of growing tomato plants surrounds her. (If you've smelled it, you'll understand. If you never have, the closest I can come is the flavor of a green tomato mixed with sunshine and fresh flowing water.) The fruit slips into her hand at the lightest touch, and there it is, gleaming tantalizingly in the sun: The season's first tomato. 

Needless to say, immediately after photographing it, I consumed it!
Buoton De Rose Begonia

In the flowerbeds, my "Shady Garden" out back is turning up begonias and lilies. I just seeded a whole heap of China Aster around the birdbath, too, so hopefully we'll have some late summer color coming on.

Sadly, out front, the poor gladioli are having a fairly short season and between the afternoon heat and the ravages of the katydids, aren't looking so good.  Where is my mantis! He saved me last year, but I've seen neither hide nor probiscus of him this year!
Gladiolus- Prosperity
My favorite pink/white bi-colors are going now, with the yellow and purples coming into bloom right behind them.
The most stunning gladiolus in my current collection is the white Prosperity from American Meadows. Simply GORGEOUS! White with just a hint of peachy yellow blush. It was supposed to be blooming with the Ravens right now, but the katydids have chompedchompedchomped up the poor Ravens so I don't know if they'll bloom at all.

But the big thing today was this...

These funky leaf-blisters are all over the poor manzanita bush. It looks like something rolled the edge of the leaf up to create a bubble (which I now know is called a 'gall') with sickly reddish color and livid nasty pink veins. Now maybe I watch too many alien horror movies, but these things look like they could start breathing on their own at any second!

Curious, I broke one open and about a gazillion little greenish-black bugs crawled out!  EW! BUGS! (Okay, 'gazillion' is a kind of wide estimate. Maybe not so much with the accuracy there.)

Okay, what are they?  I thought hunting them down would be hard but a quick Google-hunt refined down to "manzanita leaf bug" found them. And sure enough, they are... TA DA!  "Manzanita leaf bugs".  Needless to say, that was somewhat anti-climactic.  They're actually called Manzanita Leaf Gall Aphids, aka Tamalia coweni.

Nothing I'm seeing says that they do real harm, but I'm not feeling overly generous to them at the moment. In fact, I think I see a wonderful career in Green Waste Management in their future.

Monday, July 11, 2011

In the Veggie Garden

Veggie gardening in limited space is always a challenge. I grew up with vegetable gardens that covered half an acre tilled into a perfect rectangle, with neat long rows of plants side by side, so when I first started looking into urban gardening, I was impressed that people were growing food in such small spaces.

My vegetable garden is about ten feet by sixteen feet, sloped at an angle. Before we took it over, it was covered with nasty flowering shrub, which, fortunately for us, had done much to mulch and protect the soil beneath it.  I was pleased to find good loamy soil under those hideious shrubs, but I was still hesitant when I planted those first seeds this spring. In fact, I was feeling downright brave when I purchased tomato plants. They looked so small and fragile, and I was going to just stick them into the dirt?

Fear and hesitation has given way to pride and joy when I look at my little urban garden! It surpasses my wildest dreams. The snap peas and the pole beans are unbelievable in their profilic attempts to take over the rest of the garden. The zucchini has already gotten out of control, and the tomato plants are four feet tall and covered in blooms and burgeoning fruits. Planted in amongst everything else are onion and garlic starts, bush beans and dwarf peas, radishes and carrots; I just tucked the seeds wherever there was an opening.

It seems so silly now to have worried so much!

Saturday, June 18, 2011


I like to pretend that glads are the cavalry vanguard of the garden army.  As soon as the soil warms they gather for the fight, waiting for the sun to hit the earth. And then they shoot straight up, their long and slender leaves arrowing towards the sky like a sword held aloft. When they draw their stems, waving burgeoning green buds like standards, it serves warning to any interlopers in the garden that they are about to charge. The blooms gallup up the stems, first the lowest flower, and then the next, and so on, until as the first blooms die, the last ones burst to life for one last show of courage.

Last year, I purchased a bag of mixed bulbs from American Meadows. It was my first time ever growing gladiolus and it was love at first sight.

This year, I wanted something really bright and intense to 'hide' the vegetable garden from the sidewalk. I jumbled up two sets of bulbs and planted them in batches of five throughout March and April. VOILA! AMAZING!

Orange Flame

So bright and shiny!
These were on sale at Home Depot, so I figured 'why not'? I thought these were supposed to fade more to yellow, but who cares! They're HUGE and they just glow when the sun hits them.  For a special surprise the flower-seed mix I tossed down over the bulbs put up a huge explosion of baby's breath, giving a wonderful white backsplash to accent them.

Black Walnut

Absolutely spectacular!
These are my absolute favorite so far! Keep in mind that I've got four more varieties waiting to open, and I'll probably say the same about them all. The petals are dark red with almost black stripes on the tips of the satin-like petals. The pictures don't show it, but the texture of the petals is like velvet and the sun makes them glow.

Monday, May 23, 2011

First Produce!

Sparkler Radishes
I harvested my first produce from the veggie garden today! Just a few radishes,and a green onion, but  hey! Look! Radishes!  I'm planning to make a cold pasta salad to go with dinner. After all, if I picked it, we should eat it, right?  I sampled and these are juicy and sweet with just a hint of bite to them. YUM!

Food or Triffid?

After weeks of cold wet weather, then a few hot sunburst days followed by hard rains, the garden is suddenly showing some promise!  We should have our first zucchini in a few days, and the first peas planted are all blooming while the second batch are just sticking their heads up out of the ground. 

Snap Peas

The tomatoes aren't doing much, but I expect as soon as we get some really warm weather we'll be dealing with a 'mater explosion, At least that gives me some time to cage the last couple additions, with huge thanks to Xhin & Dhin at Trurealty.Net (yellow pear) and to Spider & Eli, (Mister Stripey)!

Gonna celebrate "Fresh From the Garden" with Radish Pasta Salad tonight!
The Recipe

2 cups penne rigate pasta (or pasta of choice, cooked, drained, cooled)
2 large radishes: chopped
1 green onion: chopped finely
2 celery stems, de-stringed and chopped
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp poppy seeds for extra crunch
Lemon juice
1/4 cup mayo or sour cream (I use half mayo & half sour cream)

Mix all the dressing ingredients and refrigerate while the pasta cooks.
Fold the dressing into the pasta and tuck into the fridge to chill and let the flavors mingle.
Serve chilled.
For a great main dish you can toss in Dungeoness crab or bay shrimp, too, but I don't have either of those, so I'll be serving it with oven-grilled pork chops instead.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Naked Gardening Day!

So, today is May 14th, Garden Naked Day!  I'd link to the webpage but it has nekkid people on it. Most of the pictures are wonderfully tasteful, but there are a few that are full-monty, so I won't be sharing. You can google it if you're that interested.
The point is, I was rather looking forward to it! I was gonna garden naked! But today has dawned with 56 degrees and a chill breeze, with a severe thunderstorm warning, downpours, possible hail, etc, looming overhead. Since I love being cold about as much as I enjoy bowling with frozen turkeys, I had to revise my plans somewhat.
Hot Tub
They start here in the oh-so-yummy hot tub, where I will get toasty warm.

Rose in need of deadheading
When I feel I'm warm enough,  I shall leap out of the hot tub and assault the rose bush that's about six feet away from the hot tub with clippers.
THEN I shall leap back into the hot tub, where I will get toasty warm again.  This, I think, is a good plan, so let's execute it, shall we?

 Ooh! A bit chilly, but not bad. Let's deadhead the roses! Quick! Una, are you gonna help me? 

        Pasha? What about you?         
                     No? Didn't think so.

Ooh! Gotta hurry! Getting cold! 
                                                           ... Okay! DONE! 
Dead Roses
Well, mostly done.  There were a few that were a little too dangerously located for unclothed gardening. (And you can see here I cheated a bit and slipped on my flip-flops to protect my toeses from prickly things.


So, what did we learn this Naked Gardening Day?  First, always check the weather. They should hold this in, oh, August. Maybe July.

Also, cats do not care about gardening, whether it be clothed or unclothed. They also don't care about rose bushes or dead flowers, or, well, much of anything really unless it involves food, bugs, food, birds, food, clean laundry, food, and their food.

 The biggest lesson I learned, too late of course, is that when naked gardening, if you intend to, oh, say trim the rose bush? Make an exception for gloves!

Overall, I call it a successful Naked Gardening day. Now, I'm going to rush out (fully clothed!) and cover my delicate plants before it actually storms, and do the other gardening chores that fall into the clothed category. 

Oh, one final note. I actually filmed a little vid in the hot tub after, just me saying all these things I was writing, but I've chickened out of actually editing it up and posting it. What can I say? I'm a coward!  For those expecting the iris farm post, I'll have it up sometime over the next couple days.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Madness, I Tell You

Purple Iris a/Callas
Spring makes me a little crazy.

I've been thinking of ways to grow things in spaces we don't really use for anything. For example, we spent a goodly amount of the winter looking at different growing vines to plant along the front porch, researching clematis and morning glories and kiwi vine and Trumpet vine...
So what happens? We're at the gardening store, looking at vegetable seeds, and realize that Scarlet Runner beans are the far better solution. Non-permanent, non-invasive, and edible! Edible, of course, being the operative word.  I seeded a whole handful of scarlet runners in front of the porch, and hopefully we'll get nice shade over the railing and some tasty snackage!

I've asked Scott to make me a salad table like the one on the University of Maryland, College of Agriculture, website, with the hopes that we can move it from spot to spot as light changes in the backyard through the year.  We have terrible snail and slug problems, and hopefully by putting it on a table, we can use copper tape around the legs to deter the nasty slimies. 

Squash Bed
(Zuchini, Crookneck & Butter)
If he can't get to it in the next few weeks, I might try another method I learned about on DavesGarden.Com where you cap the ends of gutter pieces, drill drainage holes, and then hang them. I figure I can hang four or five lengths from the fence, and then it's easy to tack up bird-netting over the whole thing to keep the squirrels and birds out.  Or if anyone has any spare used gutter laying around they want to get rid of, message me.  Otherwise,  I can maybe find some at Urban Ore.

Caged Tomatoes
Other nutty ideas I'm toying with include growing potatoes on the driveway in burlap bags, building wooden frames to hang upside-down tomatoes in on the sunny side of the house, and building raised beds in the front yard.  I'm kind of hesitant to de-suburbanize the front, but it can't be any worse than our current shaggy lawned, tree-leave covered landscape, can it?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Garden Grumpies!

Grrr. Wet clay soil. Grrr. Stupid overcast cold days. Grrr, need to plant and my back's not letting me get any work done. The roses have rust and something's eating my baby basil plants. The flower seed I planted to take over when the ranunculus finished didn't take. There's not a single spot of green poking up amidst the dying ranunculus.

It's just not a good week for gardening! Okay, grumping over.

Two weeks ago, I started tearing out the mess that was the bedroom window garden. We still don't know what half of what we tore out of there was. The bulbed thing growing in the corner had probably a hundred and sixty bulbs crammed into a two-foot space. Bulbs were growing down under the concrete lip of the raised bed, squashed so tightly they were almost disk shaped! We still don't know what it was. The sweet broom, which I'm allergic to, came out, as did the tangled and overgrown mat of lambs ear. I have a feeling that the lambs ear is going to be akin to the calla lily catatastrophe. It's never really going to go away.

But now the FUN part starts!

I purchased a beautiful rose at  Evergreen Nursery in San Leandro  this weekend. They're having a 25% off sale through the 23rd. I went looking for Hot Cocoa but fell in love with this Double Delight. It's  probably the most amazing smelling rose I've ever caught scent of! If I can just baby it into settling in, it's going to be spectacular. Of course, after I got it home and started researching, I learned it's very susceptible to black spot.  One day I'll learn that impulse is BAD! (But maybe not quite today...)

Hopefully by mid-summer, I'll be looking out the bedroom window into a glowing bed of red and white gladiolus flanking my sweet and stunning rose bush, with double winky columbine and baby snapdragons poking out here and there! Hey, I can dream, right?

The other good news is that the vegetable garden seems to be doing quite well, what's planted in at least. The peas are loving the cool weather, and the onions and garlic are peeking their tops through the soil. The squash are being a bit slower about things, but I think they're just waiting for sunshine.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Getting Daffy!

My Dad loved daffodils, especially the big yellow trumpet daffodils that burst out with color the moment spring starts to descend.  I remember when I was kid driving up to the old family homestead in the hills and digging up bulbs from the descendants of the daffodils of his childhood. Those flowers are still growing on the family farm today. So, last year, in honor of Fathers Day, I wanted to order a bunch of daffodil bulbs for our new house.

Only one HUGE problem. I'm allergic to yellow pollens. Daffodils?! NOOOOO! CHOP 'EM DOWN AND BURN EM! EVIL FLOWER! EEEEEVILLL!  Then I discovered that there are 25,000 registered cultivars of daffodil!  A little research and some good faith advice from American Daffodil Society members taught me that the 'pink' varieties produce less pollen, and that Division 11 (Split cupped, or 'butterfly')  types tend disperse their pollen more readily than the standard trumpet types.  Hmm. Off to American Meadows I went, and ordered a variety intended to keep blooms coming from early spring to early summer! (I LOVE!)
Paperwhites in December

First bloomers were the Paperwhites that I picked up at Home Depot on a whim when Scott suggested something around the tree in front. For a $6.99 end-of-season buy, these proved to be awesome. They started in December and were still blooming in January.

Tete-A-Tete w/Pickwick Crocus

Second comers were the wee yellow Tete-A-Tetes that I put along the front walk to contrast with the crocus. I was worried about pollen but we had nearly daily rainshowers and those kept it down. These are what spring is all about!

Mountain Dragon?

Mountain Dragon Butterfly are a Biltmore Estates hybrid. They came up fast and strong, starting bloom before the Tete-A-Tetes faded. These flowers were HUGENORMOUS!  At least four inches across! I was afraid I'd have to stake them like a vampire on a moonlit night, but they held up on stems that seem to have the tensile strength of rebar.  I only got eight bulbs, so I hope they perennialize like crazy! Only one problem. I begin to suspect that these aren't Mountain Dragon. They are far more white and yellow than yellow and orange. Shame on American Meadows if they subbed on me!

Then, these.. Uh... Weeeeeelll...  I don't know what these are. I think they were supposed to be Ice Follies, but as you can see, they definately AREN'T.  Not sure what they are.  Barrett Brownings, maybe? Knock out gorgeous, though, and low pollen enough that I was able to put some in a vase in the bedroom!

 I ordered one of those "Mixed Pink" bags: a handful of cultivars that aren't labeled beyond having some kind of pink bloom. Stupid move on my part, since now I don't know what I have. Lesson learned, I guess.
 Mostly they seem to be two varieties, both with a very sweet pale peach color and a scent reminiscent of hyacinths. The big cups (I suspect "Cool Flame"? ) opened yellow and swiftly turned apricot in the sunlight. The double cups are so heavy they needed staking but I'll forgive them.

Last along were my long anticipated Misty Glens. Pale lime color on sturdy solid-textured petals, with faintly darker green in the center of the cups. They aren't low pollen, so they have to stay in the garden, but that's just fine by me.    Like your average goober, I've misplaced my camera but I'll have pics up as soon as I find it!

Overall, I think my daffodils are a happy success!  I know Dad's shaking his head at me for spending so much on a few flowers, and wondering why I didn't just plant old yellow bulbs from the farm. And maybe, just for the sake of having them, I will.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Straw Bale Gardening?

Straw bale gardening just caught my attention! Has anyone tried this? Anyone have any tips?  I ran across the concept by accident, (making me wish all the more that I'd made it to the San Francisco Home & Garden Show this year) but now I'm seriously intrigued!

The idea is that you take a bale of straw, wet it down and let it start to compost, then you plant things in it. 

It sounds dead simple, doesn't it? We have heavy clay soil, and I figure I can do some bale gardening and then just turn it into the soil at the end of the season. After a couple years, we might actually have soil soft enough to dig in. At least, I think? Maybe?  So, I'm calling around for straw bales. I just seeded a new batch of tomato seeds and they're starting to poke their heads up. I figure by the time I cure a bale, they'll be ready to plant.

If anyone knows of a good local straw supply close to San Leandro, please let me know!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Minding the Weather

           This week I was going to sing the praises of my gorgeous bed of ranunculus, but the wicked rainstorms this week did a terrible amount of damage to almost all of my flowers. So, when the world gives you broken flower-stems, what do you do? Fill every vase in the house, of course!

In the bedroom, yellow and red ranunculus with a Blue Ribbon Dutch iris

In the living room, Calla Lilies and Purple Lady Dutch Iris, and the dining room table vase is full of red clover and a crazy assortment of ranunculus.  Oh, sure.  I know it's poisonous, but if you can't live dangerously from time to time, what's the point, right?

I picked up this small oriental-style vase at a garage sale awhile back. Perfect for filling full of  pink rose mallow with some wild onion blossom for contrast, (Yes, that's part of my Star Trek memorabilia collection there.)

And when you run out of vases, invade the drinkware!  I put pink baby rose in a white wine glass in the office. Scott probably won't think it's very manly, if he even notices it at all... ;) (And yes, that's part of his Hubble images collection.)

The world is slowly drying up and the sun has come out again, and a perusal of the gardens revealed some new gems blossoming, including my Black Night tulips and pale white and blue Dutch iris.  The cats are even out rolling on the dry concrete and the birds are singing! I'm halfway hopeful that the ground will be dry enough by next week to start getting the vegetable garden turned and prepped, but I'm slowly learning not to count my seeds before they germinate.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Help a Pansy Today!

I hope you'll excuse me if I take a moment to ask for your help with a national crisis.

Right now, there are millions of unloved, homeless pansies out there, just looking for a little help. They’re stacked ten deep in sunless racks in front of stores like Safeway and Rite-aid, and wiltingly waiting on tables in garden centers everywhere.  
And for just the price of a cup of coffee, you can help save them. How can you resist their huge black eyes, their sad drooping petals? Their merry colors that seem to smile through all they’ve been through? Won't you open your heart and help them?

This pansy was saved, along with it's cousin, just two days ago at Evergreen Nursery in San Leandro. I made a  difference and you can, too!

Here’s just a few reasons to adopt a pansy companion!

Praise #1
Pansies give more than their worth! For just a couple dollars, you can have a cheerful companion for months! My love affair with pansies began when I was living in apartments in Oregon. Cold, wet, dark days of winter would give way to spring and suddenly every retail outlet would have a rack of pansies out front.  Even at my most poor, I could always spare .99 cents for a pansy that I could set on the table or the windowsill to bring a little bit of cheer in. And at such a price, I couldn’t feel too horrid when I forgot to water it, or move it out of the window during the heat of summer.

Pale Blue "Princess"

Praise #2:
Color! Color! Color!  So many colors! My favorite thing about pansies is the colors! They can be absolutely astounding, giving cheer every single day!   Bi-colors, blotchy spots and  keen stripes! Pink, blue, orange, purple! And oh, what purples! Some such a dark, rich violet as to look like satin, and others such pale lavender so delicate it’s like pressed paper.  It seems like every year a new hybrid appears.  Every year, I find a new favorite. Two years ago, it was a classic purple and yellow “Joker” bi-color, but with huge flowers that practically nodded off their stems. Last year, it was the most delicate pale blue “Princess” pansy that I had to have. This year, it’s these amazing tiger striped fellows- “Whiskers”, they’re called.   


Praise #3:
Tasty!  Pansies are edible! Oh, be careful, of course. If you’re buying from a commercial nursery, ask about organics,  and always wash whatever you eat. But the plants themselves are entirely edible. You don’t have to worry about the kids or the cats or that strange guy down the street who occasionally helps himself to your garden having a taste. They make wonderful fun decorative accents to salads and desserts.  Dress a sweet cucumber and avocado salad with a few bright purple blooms for contrast.

Praise #4:
They can grow just about anywhere!  Garden corners, window boxes, pots, baskets, table tops and window ledges are all viable. Just as long as they get watered and a good bit of sun, they’re typically happy.  I planted my pale blue beauties from last spring in white ceramic pots and they kept their charm right up until November. This year, I opted for planter-pots on the front steps, and one out back by the hot tub, where we spend most of our time.

I’m done feeling guilty about my love for pansies. I admit that I’m a pansy nut and proud of it!  Whether you buy them from the rack in front of the local pharmacy or a huge commercial garden store like Home Depot, give a pansy a home! You won’t be sorry!

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Iris Enigma

      The Iris, according to Wikipedia, includes two-hundred and sixty species of flowering plants. Two-hundred and sixty? No wonder I'm all confused and befuddled about what I planted!  With Spring bouncing blooms everywhere,  I found two foot tall iris in deep violet blooming in my front border and little blue and yellow five inch tall iris blooming in the back yard?  According to my records, I planted  "Blue Ribbon" Dutch Iris along the front sidewalk and "Joyce Iris" in the front border.

Obviously, something's gone very wrong.
Not 'grenade' wrong, but it's obvious that I had no idea what I was doing!
(The beautiful fuschia-colored tulip in there is part of the Hirts Pretty in Pink tulip collection.)

      After some Googling and Wikipedia-ing I discovered that "specie" or "wild" iris are the dwarf, or 'rock garden' variety and the botanical name for the "Joyce" is Iris reticulata. Armed with proper names, I went back to my notes.  The Joyce Iris that I have came as part of a deer resistant collection from American Meadows. (I bought one of these collections for Mom, too, I'm fairly sure). These are what I thought I'd planted out front!
One mystery solved! Whoohoo! Go me!
       I planted that whole collection together in the 'raccoon & rabbit zone', so that explains these little guys growing out back.  (Last night, the raccoons tramped through and broke every single flower. At least I have pictures to look at!)

Hmmm. This fellow, though?
     Where did this fellow come from? Along with his not-so-little friends?

     Double checking my receipts from last year, I found one from Brecks that included a "Cool Shades" Dutch Iris Mix!  Finally, the sun has come out! The fog has cleared away!  I remember now that I hadn't quite decided where to plant these and set them aside. I guess I somehow confused them with the species Iris?

So, could this...

Be part of that collection? (The image of the Brecks Collection won't size correctly for some reason! Sorry!)

      And if so, why are the dark purple opening before the other colors in the collection? Or am I mis-identifying Blue Ribbon? And does it really matter as long they're this beautiful?

       So, out of two-hundred and sixty plus varieties of Iris, I have WEE tiny species iris, aka Iris Reticulata, and the two foot tall Dutch Iris aka Iris Hollandic, already growing. I also planted some bearded iris, also called German Iris- (Iris Germanica), which can grow up to four feet tall.  Mine are just a cheap 'Pink' from Home Depot that I stuck in the back of my "pink and red bed". Now it's just wait and see how they bloom!  (There are a few more Bearded  Iris on the property that came with the house. I thought I'd wait and see what they were like before doing anything about them.)

      My research has gotten me all excited about irises now! I had no idea how many amazing colors and sizes they come in. The possibilities are boundless.   I'm planning a field trip to Pleasants Valley Iris Farm out in Vacaville for next month to learn more, and maybe add some new varieties to my garden if anyone wants to join me!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

First Forages

Welcome to FlowerBabe's Forages!

When cleaning the garage this week, I found two stray bulbs, just sprouting where they'd been abandoned in a bucket. I handed them to Scott and said, "Plant these!"

"Well, what are they?" He asked. He has to be forgiven for these things. It's his science background that makes him so curious, and that's part of why I love him so.

"No clue! Just plant them!"

He's reported that he planted them back behind the Tuscan Rosemary, so if they're ugly, no one will see them. If they're nice, he figures we can move them next year.  (Did I mention he's also really smart?)

As a beginning gardner, I often feel like I'm foraging for facts and information, just as I would forage for herbs and flowers in the wilderness. So many sources, and so few answers!  Last year, without a clue what I was really doing, I kind of got lucky when I found the American Meadows website. I thought I'd planned carefully. I was precise. I recorded everything I put in the ground!   But I'm learning that, well perhaps... Well, planned isn't the word... Procedural? Methodic?  Completely bonking nutters? Yeah. That last bit, I think.

My spring bulbs, mostly selected from American Meadows and bulked out with a handful from the local Home Depot are starting to really bloom.  Crocus of all kinds- wee tiny Fuscotinctus and Minimus, big bright Pickwicks and Gypsy Girls- have been going for a few weeks now. The Dutch iris are appearing, leading me to the discovery that I'd made a stupid mistake. I thought I'd ordered the wee little dwarf iris, also called rock garden iris. DOH! I'm an idiot.

 The fact that there are two foot tall dutch iris growing in my low 'border' is forgivable only because the colors are STUNNING! I thought it was "Blue Ribbon" Dutch iris, but the color is a deep velvety purple. So beautiful that I maybe can forgive stupidity just this once! But it does make me wonder what else I screwed up?

I've decided this summer, I'll be less precise and more bonkers. Maybe, just maybe, I can surprise myself!