Thursday, August 4, 2011

May - Mayıs

Really expert gardeners, the ones who write books instead of blogs (though some of them write blogs too), stress the importance of a careful choice of plants to provide interest and harmony in the garden throughout the summer. Their gardens are always lush, with expertly-designed contrasts of color, structure, and texture. They practice certain strategies like grouping plants for more punch, thinking carefully about what plant will provide a good foliar backup for whatever will be in bloom at any particular period; and they keep diaries, making notes to move plants to a better location next year for a more effective show.

There is, however, another kind of gardener: The plant freak. These gardeners pick something up from the garden center because it was wonderful, and wander through the garden, searching for some place that doesn't either have something occupying the space, or (if they can remember), have some dormant precious bulb just under the surface waiting the hard edge of the spade. I'm mostly this kind of gardener, though I think I've gotten marginally better. I actually did plant a group of three Monardas last year. Only one of them really took off, completely subsuming the other two, but next year, they'll be fantastic. Really. Or not.

In any case, the plants that really attract me tend too often to be those that bloom in spring and early summer. Or have great leaves during those months. It's okay, I tend to be kind of bad about watering in the summer and so there is a de facto xeriscaping happening out there. If you survive, you're in for next season! Of course really special or rare things might get a little more attention...

There was one highlight this May - I bought my first SLR, something I'd been shying away from for a long time because of a bit of technophobia. And of course after just a couple days, with lots to learn still, I don't know how I ever did without. So this will be another mainly photographic post with a few explanations.

Epimedium leaves

The Judas tree, a local species of redbud, which is practically the symbol of Istanbul.

Iris xyphium, a bulbous iris.

Geranium macrorrhizum, a very hardy and drought-tolerant hardy geranium, known for its medicinal qualities.

A Pacific Coast Iris in its second year. It only send up one bloom spike this year but has spread now, so better luck next spring. I'm happy to have any PCIs surviving here!

Another PCI, "Pacific Warrior," probably an I. douglasii hybrid. It grows in an area that's perfectly swampy through the winter and spring, and then gets quite dry in high summer. It's grown like a house afire!

Iris graminea, a plum-scented iris with flowers that open well below the tops of the leaves. This got seriously snail-chewed this year and probably needs to be moved. I'll probably move it...


Robin V said...

Bob, this is seriously gorgeous photography - those flowers jump right out of the picture!

Sazji said...

Thank you!