The Seasonal Page:


Summer is Ushered in


[Iris tenax]

Many of these photos were taken last season, or possibly a couple of years ago. This year, I do have bearded iris in bloom, but not all the varieties seen here have buds this season. Hopefully, after reworking the beds, I'll see a return of flowers on them. As I get more photos, or better ones, I'll add them. By the way...the photo in the title is of Iris tenax (Pacific Coast).

[Back Yard with Iris]


The color on this photo isn't the best, but it shows a grouping of Iris 'Victoria Falls' and 'Vanity' (light pink). 'Victoria Falls' is a wonderful variety and will sometimes throw a bloom in the autumn. I'll probably have a better picture from this season soon. 'Vanity' is one of the parents of 'Beverly Sills', which gets more attention these days, but I prefer the softer color and fragrance of 'Vanity.' I wish I had a better closeup of this one, but that may have to wait until next season.



[Iris 'Vanity']

Addendum: Look what I found in the garden "photo archives!" This is a close-up of Iris 'Vanity' that does it justice. The only thing missing is its wonderful fragrance. It is one of the best varieties for that and it also has a great delicate pink color...cooler than 'Beverly Sills,' which is one of its offspring. Sure wish it would bloom in 1998!


[Iris Victoria Falls]


Here's a closeup of 'Victoria Falls' that has been doctored in Photoshop. It probably has a breath more violet in the flower than this depicts, but it comes close. The color is really hard to capture on film without using filters.


[Foxgloves, etc.]


This was taken a couple of seasons ago. The foxglove is a variety called 'Sutton's Apricot' and it is a really nice color. I have plants growing in this same spot now that haven't opened yet. I hope there are progeny from these and not just the regular foxglove. Even some hybrids might be interesting! If you grow foxglove, you probably already know this, but if you are striving for white and not the mauvey-pink ones, you can tell before they bloom if they'll be white or not. White foxgloves don't have any mauvey coloring on the midribs of the leaves. The leaves are pure green. This allows you to weed out the darker colors before they cross with your white strain.

The coral blossoms in the background belong to Azalea 'Pima' and the blue spikes are lupine.


I inserted a couple of Daphnes here because they didn't get into the Spring pages. I only wish I could also insert the smell. When the Internet gets so sophisticated as to be able to do that, we may not need to garden anymore! (Just kidding...we all know it isn't the same.)

This lovely poof of blush white belongs to Daphne burkwoodii 'Somerset.' It is growing in the back bed in front of the area shown above with the foxgloves and azalea. The color is so ethereal and the fragrance sweet and lovely without being overpowering. It is a semi-evergreen shrub and doesn't like most Daphnes. It should grow in zones 5-9.



[Daphne burkwoodii 'Somerset']


[Daphne cneorum]


This isn't the most flattering picture of Daphne cneorum, but it gives you an idea. In reality, the leaves are a darker green and the flowers not as intensely clashy looking...just bright and FRAGRANT! It tends to hug the ground and is a bit fussy about its placement. When we'd get a shipment of these in bloom at the nursery, they would be gone in a few days. The fragrance is almost irresistible!



Wish I had the liberty of lying on my back in this bed and taking a photo looking UP into the flowers instead of at their backsides (don't think the plants would appreciate that!). This is a columbine that I got from my neighbor who has them sprinkled around her yard. It looks similar to 'Hensol Harebell' and has a nice form and color. This season ('98) it is still blooming and is larger than shown in this photo. The foliage next to it on the left belongs to Cardoon.





Let's take a look at a few iris now.

Meet 'Exotic Isle.' This plant is very showy and a prolific bloomer. I don't expect flowers this season because it is a total weed and grass jungle where this is growing. This is very striking blooming in front of the rhododendrons. That blurry pink mass in the background belongs to Rhododendron 'Scintillation.' Hopefully, I'll have flowers on 'Exotic Isle' again in two seasons after reworking the bed. I'm still working my way slowly in that direction!



[Iris 'Exotic Isle']


[Iris 'Darkside']


Another prolific bloomer and a plant with lots of vigor is 'Darkside.' It's difficult to capture this color on film, but I think this picture is the closest I've taken (with some sidelighting to show that it really is purple, not black). Some people shy away from iris in the "black" shades, but I've really enjoyed this plant. It's quite striking.



This is an intermediate variety called 'Pink Bubbles' and it was purchased from Schreiner's Iris Gardens in Oregon. It is lovely...especially with the foliage of Rose Campion (Lychnis coronaria) in the background. There are no blooms this season, but trust that I'll see some next year.



[Iris 'Pink Bubbles']


[Orchard with Old Fashioned Iris]

This is shown on the garden tour, but I repeated it here. I don't know the name of the iris variety, but it is a very old one that I've seen in older gardens around town. It smells just like grape Kool-Aid to me. The yellow flowers nearby belong to Meconopsis cambrica (Welsh Poppy) and the blue flowers are Forget-Me-Nots. These all like it in a shady environment (except the iris that needs at least a half day of sun, which these still get even though the tree branches are spreading more each season).



Even when the blossoms are closed (they open during the daylight hours) these are charming! They belong to Ixia, a plant that grows from small corms. They seem to do well in this southern exposure in the oak bed and mingle nicely with the bearded iris that grow in front. I will probably have another picture of these soon showing bearded iris in front.




[Iris 'Camelot Rose']


The color of this is a bit odd, but the flowers are HUGE and it is a very dependable bloomer. The name is 'Camelot Rose.' Pictured behind is a hardy Geranium ibericum x platypetalum. The Ixia pictured above would be seen to the left if you could pull back for a wider perspective.



Another odd color, but I like it. This is a smaller variety called 'Chinese Treasure.' I haven't seen it bloom for awhile and hope that at least one of the budless fans growing in this area belong to this variety. When I first put it in, there was a reddish-orange Potentilla growing nearby and it perfectly echoed the color of those shocking orange beards. The Potentilla has been gone for a few years now...progress and change.




[Iris 'Chinese Treasure']



[Spring Trio]

Here's a change of pace, but since it's still blooming I'm repeating this photo from the spring page. This little ensemble is near the front porch and consists of Carex 'Frosty Curls,' a little volunteer viola and Ajuga 'Pink-Silver.' I love this accident!

[Red Bearded Iris]

This beautiful red color belongs to Iris 'Samurai Warrior' and it struts its stuff in the oak bed. I especially like the red varieties with backlighting.

[Iris setosa, purple]

Here's a repeat of the Iris setosa shown on the tour page. Its companion with more white on the petals seems to have vanished over the winter ('97). I'm still hoping to find a remnant of it somewhere, but am beginning to think something got it.

[Iris 'Chief Quinaby']


Just in front of 'Samurai Warrior' is another softer red with a bit more bronze to it... 'Chief Quinaby.' This came in an iris grab bag from Schreiner's Iris Gardens in Salem, Oregon. This picture is a little fuzzy, but the color is right. It's shorter than 'Samurai Warrior.'



[Clump of Siberian Iris 'Bennerup']

[Iris sibirica 'Bennerup']
The photos above are Siberian Iris, 'Bennerup.' It is a lighter blue color and has a nice white edge on the falls. I moved it to a frontal position in the back last year because it tends to be shorter than some of the other Siberian Irises. Some of the background greenery in the '98 photo at left is not supposed to be there and will shortly be history!

ALL THE FOLLOWING PHOTOS ARE FROM THE 1998 SEASON: (Some of the previous ones were also.)

[Iris 'Gypsy Woman']


The bright sun makes this a bit contrasty, but this is a picture of Iris 'Gypsy Woman.' I was rather surprised to see it in bloom since it is getting crowded by weeds and there are very few fans to this clump. The leaves surrounding it belong to a Mock Orange (Philadelphus) that is yet to bloom. 'Gypsy Woman' is one of those soft colors that is a blend of cream, lemon and mauve (the nice edge on the falls).



From the bright sunshine, we'll step into the shade for a bit of 'Mulled Wine' ...IRIS that is! I kind of like these wine/mauve shades with the orange beards for some reason. I think I'll have to pull it out of the shadows of that vine maple to get more flowers in the future. Those other blobs of color belong to Ixia.



[Iris 'Mulled Wine']


[Iris 'SnowMound']


This is a beautiful color combination and it belongs to Iris 'Snow Mound.' It is growing near the cherry tree by the driveway and those other flowers nearby are old fashioned Columbine (Granny's Bonnets). Would you believe that a deer came along a day or so before this writing and ate all the flowers off the tops of those plants (the columbine). They don't usually eat those and even browsed some of the new shoots off the blueberry bush next to them. What's wrong with these guys? Don't they know what they are supposed to like?!!



Just in front of 'Mulled Wine' is this variety that looks a bit similar but in a lighter color. It is called 'Strawberry Sensation' and I think I got it years ago from Schreiner's Iris Gardens. It could use some TLC because it is not blooming as well now as in the beginning, but when it has proper care it is a prolific bloomer and quick multiplier. In the flesh, the color is slightly more subdued with a tinge of a brownish cast.



[Iris 'Strawberry Sensation' with Ixia]


This is a volunteer lupine that is probably a bit of a cross between a Russell Hybrid and the native lupines. I had both in this bed. It's a nice rich color (in person) and will be lovely until the leaves begin to mildew later in the summer. Yuck! The flowers to the right belong to a volunteer columbine.



[Lupine seedling]



[Pink Gasplant...Dictamnus albus var. purpureus]


These are the flower spikes of the pink gasplant, Dictamnus albus var. purpureus. I had a white gasplant at one time but it died. This pink one has grown very slowly to this size. Even after the flowers are gone, the seedpods open to form little starry shapes along the stem. As I recall, the flower stalks have a sticky substance on them that smells of lemon. The iris in the background is 'Camelot Rose.'




Here's a photo of Syringa meyeri 'Palabin.' It is a nice alternative to regular lilacs that can get diseased and sucker all over the place. This shrub grows slowly to about 5 feet and flowers a bit later (although it's finished as of the end of May). The flowers have a wonderful sweet smell, but in my opinion, not quite as great as the regular lilac. It is very floriferous and well-mannered.




[Syringa meyeri 'Palibin']



[Rosa 'Climbing Handel']

This has to be my all-time favorite rose climber! Hallelujah! for Climbing 'Handel.' (I couldn't resist.) See how nice the foliage is and the beautiful coloration of the flowers? You can train this like a regular climber or just let it get really tall like a pillar and it's still gorgeous. The flowers don't have a lot of fragrance, but no one is perfect! If you can't find this at a regular nursery, you can probably still mail-order it from Fred Edmunds Roses in Wilsonville, Oregon.

[Iris 'Lady Madonna']


I feel a poem coming on...maybe "Leaves of Grass" by W. Whitman (who shares my birthday, by the way)?! Just kidding. I was stunned to see this blooming in the jungle that used to be called the West Perennial Bed. The name of the Iris is 'Lady Madonna' and I think I first read about it in Ann Lovejoy's first book, The Year in Bloom. If I remember correctly, she would get these pinched (stolen) as soon as they opened in her city garden in Seattle. They are lovely with the blend of cream and yellow and the frilled edge on the petals. I can't even remember when I last saw this bloom and just assumed that it had died. When I rework the bed, maybe I'll be delighted to find more survivors of the iris that had originally been set there. I'd love to find 'Vivian' and 'Magic Man."



This old standby is Iris sibirica 'Caesar's Brother.' Siberian irises are workhorses in the perennial border and this is their time to shine. Behind them are flowerheads (buds) of Achillea 'Coronation Gold' and the trunk of the ash tree that gives this bed it's name (I dub thee...the "ash bed."). The sun was going down when I took the picture and then I went back to weeding until it was getting more toward dusk. Imagine my amazement when I turned around to see the sunset below...




[Iris sibirica 'Caesar's Brother']



[Sunset - May'98]

Sometimes I think it's worth taking the camera outside to work just like you would your gloves and pruners (I've been teased about wearing my pruners in a holster on my back pocket, but they are SO handy. This was a habit we had to develop at the nursery and our boss would ask us every once in awhile if we had them or why we didn't have them when we were borrowing someone else's!)

[Hardy Geranium 'New Hampshire']


What a strong color! You either love this or hate it, but it belongs to Geranium 'New Hampshire' which is a selection of Geranium sanguineum that many feel is an improvement on the species.




There's not a lot of color yet, but I put this here for comparison. If you looked at the earlier photo of this bed when I was showing the hellebore foliage in the garden journal section, you will see how much everything has grown! You can hardly see the hellebores at this point. My daughter asked me, "...when did all those plants get there?" I tried to explain that they had been there all along and had just been dormant in the winter. The spiky foliage on the left belongs to Crocosmia 'Lucifer.' The big clump with flowering stalks (unopened) to the far right is a goatsbeard that is finally getting full-sized this season! It is humongous! I'm afraid that after it blooms, a rainfall will bring those plumes down all over everything around it!



[Oak Bed Foliage - May '98]


[Unknown Old Variety of Iris]

This is a rather harsh color, but I still keep it because it was a gift from a friend, it has a nice fragrance, and is an old variety. At the time, they thought it was 'Lincoln' but I'm not sure about the name at all and it was a different variety than what they thought they'd passed along. If anyone knows what it is, email me. Without the sun on it and in person, it is a bit darker.

Enough color for a bit! Let's look at some seeds and texture...

As if the gorgeous flowers on the tree peony are not enough, the seed heads are quite interesting and stay that way even through the winter. Another bonus is that the foliage turns beautiful shades of red in the fall. There is a lot to recommend this plant, but you need to be patient because, like all peonies, it takes a few years to really get established. I haven't done as much for this plant as I could, but there was careful and deep soil preparation when it was planted (and as I recall, it was planted quite deep). It's always worth investing a bit of time when you first put things in ...make a large enough hole and put organics into the surrounding soil before replacing it.



[Tree Peony Seedhead]


[Pulsatilla seedheads]


Aren't these fun? This is a Pulsatilla vulgaris with its attractive seed heads. I prefer the purple varieties over this white one because of the mauve tinges in their little puffballs, but this produced a better photo. Notice that the head toward the center top is whiter than the others? It is about ready to shed its fuzz. I was suprised how willing these have been to naturalize in this bed. It has quick drainage and a southern exposure. I haven't gotten any white babies or hybrids yet...just purple.



I absolutely love this subshrub! I had seen a photo of Dorycnium hirsutum in Perennials for American Gardens by Clausen and Ekstrom and when I had the lovely position of ordering perennials for the nursery where I worked, I got a flat of them (and then tried to extol their virtues to the customers). They didn't move right away, since they don't make a tremendous impact in a four-inch pot, but by summer, they were gone. I hope they have enjoyed theirs as much as I've loved this. It has gotten quite tall since it was planted and now that little volunteer seedlings have appeared in the surrounding weeded bed, I'll take the risk of severely cutting it back after these flowers are gone. The seedpods are quite attractive later in the season and become a noticeable red color. The small pea-like blossoms are much loved by bumblebees.

[Subshrub: Dorycnium hirsutum]

On to a few of the hotter colors of early summer...

[Lemon Daylilies]


This happy group is Hemerocallis flava, or more recently called Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus. Anyone who has grown it or seen it over the past century all over this country calls it Lemon Lily or Lemon Daylily. I got the start of these from my husband's childhood farm home in Idaho and brought them back with us in a plastic milk-carton with a little dirt in it. We had to take it along in the car for about a week before I got them home and situated in the garden. They are easy to grow and tend to colonize and spread by runners, so use them where this will work to your advantage and not cause problems with more restrained neighbors. Something you can't appreciate by this picture is their wonderful fragrance.


This is a small plant and not the best picture, but it was one of the new purchases in May of '98 from Heronswood Nursery in Kingston, WA. I've wanted one ever since seeing it there a few years ago, but wasn't sure where to put it. It has gone in the ash bed in place of a Buddleia that never amounted to much. The plant is Hypericum androsaemum and it is a relative of St. John's Wort (Aaron's Beard), as you can see by the shape of the little yellow flowers. Since putting this in, I've read that it can tend to get rust, so I have my fingers crossed. In the later summer it will produce red and black berries where the flowers were and the foliage has neat russet tints. To pick those up, I also purchased a Carex buchananii (Bronze Sedge) and put in in front of this bush (let). I hope they will be happy together!


[Hypericum androsaemum]


[Oriental Poppy Flower]

What would early sumer be without Oriental Poppies? I wish I had a photo of a grand clump, but all my poppies are currently surrounded by a sea of grass and weeds. There is a beautiful coral pink variety that hasn't bloomed yet and I hope they are still out there. This one started as a four-inch pot and I suspect I couldn't get rid of it if I tried!

Here are a few "stragglers" that were in my old camera (which doesn't get used as much so I lost track of what was in it).



This just shows you how messed up a camera can get! It might have been a decent picture except for the fact that the shroud around the lense got loose and it was aimed at anything but center! The picture was dark and blurred on the left, and sharp only to the right of center. Kind of like life without glasses, if you really need them! (This is the auto-focus camera that started getting goofy on our trip to Vancouver.)



It opens fast and doesn't last a long time, but no one can argue the beauty of 'Pristine.' The white flowers have a hint of blush on the outer portions of the petals. The foliage is clean, glossy and dark green. This rose is pretty tall, so you might want it toward the back of your border. The low petal count is an advantage in our wet cool weather since roses with really high petal counts tend to ball and get really gross during the rainy season. Ugh!




[Rose 'Pristine']


[Rose 'Irish Mist']


This beautiful bloom belongs to a lovely floribunda rose called 'Irish Mist.' I think it's named after some sort of hard liquor that was sold in the British Isles. At any rate, it was around about the time 'Cathedral' was really big (late 70's or early 80's?) but I really think this is a prettier rose. If my recollection serves me, this is a Sam McGredy creation. I purchased it from Fred Edmunds' Roses in Wilsonville, OR, but I don't know if they propagate it any longer.



This page last updated on July 2, 1998.