I Hate to Say Goodbye to My Irises
I have been enjoying irises in bloom since February, and I hate to see them go. Yet I can see more iris flowers dying each day. I'm glad there are still a few more buds that haven't bloomed yet. Below you can see what's left of a pale purple iris. The bending chard about to flower points to it. Above the chard a blooming Lamb's Ears plant reaches for the sky.
|Fading Iris, Bolting Chard, and Sages and Scabiosa in Background, © B. Radisavljevic|
If you peak carefully behind that irsis, you can see the beginning of my tricolor sage starting to bloom. This is the first year it's bloomed for me. The large clary sage behind the iris shouldn't bloom until next month, but you never know. Learn more about clary sage and see it in bloom in my garden. Those blue flowers at the very back left are scabiosas, also known as pincushion flowers. I've often planted them in my gardens because they are perennial and seem to thrive.
I took the photo below in a different flowerbed on the front corner of the lot. It shows the remaining light purple irises in all stages of development. You can also see the miniature roses that have started to bloom. They are later than my other roses. The yellow flowers are gazanias. They are closed today because it's overcast.
|Irises Budding, Blooming, and Fading, Next to Miniature Roses, © B. Radisavljevic|
Lamb's Ears in Bloom
I'd like to show you how fast Lamb's Ears grow. The shot below was taken at the end of February. Notice how short it is compared to the irises on the right, the lilies of the Nile in back, and the star jasmine in the background. The entire bed will change by May.
|Lamb's Ears Next to Sidewalk, February, 2017. © B. Radisavljevic|
In April I finally got around to thinning both the Lamb's Ears and the jasmine. They were smothering my Spanish sage and Sweet Williams. See Garden Tasks Finished before Storm.
|Lamb's Ears Next to Sidewalk, April 6, 2017. © B. Radisavljevic|
Now it's May 10, same year. Look at how the plants have grown. It amazes me how fast the Lamb's Ears shoot up and start blooming. It seems they grow half an inch a day in April. The star jasmine is also beginning to bloom. The yellow calendula to the right of the Lamb's Ears blooms all year.
|Lamb's Ears Next to Sidewalk, May 10, 2017. © B. Radisavljevic|
I do love Lamb's Ears because it works well as a groundcover when I need it to smother weeds. It's also easy to pull when its fast growth becomes a problem. It looks like more will have to come out soon. All these Lamb's Ears plants have spread from other plants. I started with just one plant at this house. As it spread I planted a few of it's children in other beds. But many children also grow several feet from any I have planted.
Lamb's Ears also have a certain graceful beauty. They lurk during the winter, but in spring they rise toward the sun and bloom. The bees use them for forage. Here's a close-up of the little flowers. Their gray leaves and fuzzy texture add contrast to the green of other plants to add interest to the garden all year round.
|Lamb's Ears in Bloom, May, 2017, © B. Radisavljevic|
Books to Help You Grow Great Chard and Kale
The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-Less, Grow-More Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful GardenThe Manual of Seed Saving: Harvesting, Storing, and Sowing Techniques for Vegetables, Herbs, and FruitsOrganic Gardening: A Beginner's Guide To Growing Kale OutdoorsHow to Grow Greens: A gardeners guide to growing cabbages, brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, lettuce, cauliflower and spinach, with step-by-step techniques and over 150 photographsThe Book of Kale and Friends: 14 Easy-to-Grow Superfoods with 130+ Recipes
The Chard and Kale are Bolting
The kale was just starting to flower a month ago on April 6. Now many of those flowers are seedpods. I will try to collect some, though there's probably no need. I never planted this kale. It sprouted from a seed from the mother plant across the yard. By collecting the seeds I'm more likely to get the seedlings where I want them.
|Kale Flowers and Seedpods, May 10, 2017, © B. Radisavljevic|
Here's a close-up of the flower.
|Kale Flowers, May 10, 2017, © B. Radisavljevic|
One branch of this kale plant had started leaning over the sidewalk. Couldn't resist snapping this photo of it.
|Bolting Kale Branch Hanging Over Sidewalk, May 10, 2017, © B. Radisavljevic|
Although the kale is already making seeds, the chard is just starting to flower. In the last couple of weeks the stalk has risen and you can see the flower buds on this chard plant forming. Just two months ago the main stalk and the leaves were red. (This is rhubarb chard.) As it begins to flower both have turned green, but you can still see a few traces of the red.
|Budding Chard, May 10, 2017, © B. Radisavljevic|
When I went to the backyard on the same day to take a photo of the chard by the rose garden, I discovered my might I have two micro-climates on this same property. The the chard in the photo above grows in front and gets afternoon sun because it faces west. The chard plant beside the rose garden gets morning sun from the southeast. It also has the shelter of the fence and the roses from the north side. In any case, small flowers are already starting to bloom on the plant by the rose garden.
|Flowering Chard beside Roses, May 10, 2017, © B. Radisavljevic|
It's the same small yard and same variety of chard, but one plant flowers slightly ahead of the other.
I will leave you with one last photo from the front flowerbed of the chard and a blooming Lamb's Ears plant side by side. You can see how red the chard started out on the bottom part. You can also see how high the Lamb's Ears got in comparison.
|1st Iris This Year|
|Irises Are Garden Survivors|