Mostly Irises

DSC_0001 (2)

One reason I don’t blog more is because I feel I endlessly repeat myself. But the truth is that the garden repeats itself too … there may be more areas developed each season, but the stars (the ones that endure on heavy clay with fierce summer heat) give me more of the same (but better) every year.

Seven years into gardening here, I am really beginning to appreciate what I’ve created. The Rose Walk (always hard to photograph, because the path is too narrow) is rising to its exciting peak with the first rose, ‘Fantin Latour’, starting to flower in the warmth today.

DSC_0050 (2)DSC_0041 (2)

The Bon Viveur’s little Euphorbia ‘Silver Swan’ has found what I hope is a happy home.

DSC_0045 (2)

And down at the bottom, Crambe cordifolia has exciting buds emerging.

DSC_0098 (2)

Let’s hope something (an insect?) does not come along and blight my pleasure as it did last year.

The Knot Garden continues to give its best, and it seems I have won a small battle against the wretched Box Tree Moth caterpillar: box provides the crucial structure (all from cuttings, so it’s taking a while). This year the tulips were exactly the same as last – but muddled up. I lifted them, mixed them, and then replanted in November. Going over now …

DSC_0055 (2)

The tulips were lilac ‘Blue Heron’, purple-black ‘Paul Scherer’ and a rather pretty primose called  ‘Cistula’. The last was a bad choice because it flowers earlier than the other two. Last year I had no flowers from ‘Cistula’ and this year, a smidgeon. I nearly complained to Peter Nyssen’s about it. But complaining is not something I enjoy.

The ground here is now covered in purple heucheras, Alchemilla mollis and Stachys lanata to mark out the patterns that the box makes. The other day I had a brain wave (well, I think it was) and decided to add a purple Ajuga reptans as edging to show off the silvery stachys and compliment the heucheras.

The peonies are not really supposed to be here, but the Stachys shows them off nicely.

DSC_0082 (2)

The Long Border is coming into its peak as well. Asphodeline lutea and thalictrum time again. I wish the asphodeline didn’t annoy me so much from mid-June onwards. But when it arrives in late May, I forget all about last year’s annoyance. A repeated plant is so very much more satisfying, but difficult when it doesn’t die back gracefully.

DSC_0101 (2)DSC_0060 (2)

DSC_0070 (2)DSC_0071 (2)

This year the cardoon is much bigger and more dramatic. Must move the Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’ that overshadows it from mid-July. Too late again this year. I’ll have to water anything (continually) that I move from now onwards.

DSC_0109 (2)DSC_0107 (2)

And the grey of this and Artemesia ‘Lambrook Silver’ really highlights the foliage of one of my favourite roses. Its either Rosa rubrifolia or R. glauca. I can’t keep up with the times and have stopped trying.

DSC_0111 (2)

But I wish Rosa ‘Canary Bird’ wouldn’t die off quite as much as it does. The whole shrub shouldn’t look so tatty with dead stems when it flowers. Some day?

DSC_0074 (2)DSC_0076 (2)

But the main thing I’m falling in love with all over again at the moment are the irises. Just like the old roses. How could you live without this plant that does it just once every year, but when it arrives it sweeps you away?

I was reading a lot of Eckhart Tolle in the winter. But I wonder if I can ever be ‘saved’? He says that, in the ‘now’, the best way to appreciate something in nature is not to know, or think of its name. He’s right. When I look at a tree, and don’t think ‘tree’, I do see it with fresher, more delighted eyes – especially in spring. Unfortunately this is a hard trick for a gardener hung up on the history and names of plants.

So – the name of the iris? Here are those that I do know and am appreciating at the moment. Many destined for a new, more accomodating border down below in the garden when it comes time in July to divide and replant. The first is obviously ‘Carnaby’, which heads up this post (look back).

Then there’s ‘Blue-Eyed Blonde’ (the slugs love it as much as I do) …

DSC_0022 (2)

And ‘Kent Pride’ …

DSC_0011 (2)

 

 

‘Blue Rhythm’ is just coming into flower.

DSC_0009 (2)DSC_0068 (2)

‘Raspberry Blush’ is luscious …

DSC_0002 (2)

 

‘Langport Storm’ has already been and gone (a really precious plant, although not a big ‘doer’).

DSC_0066 (2)

And (with ‘Carnaby’), the most recent to flower in the heat today, ‘Foggy Dew’ …

DSC_0008 (2)DSC_0003 (2)

And now a few whose names I do not know – a fact that’s driving me crazy! Can you help?

First is one of the commonest of garden irises – let’s call it the ‘old brown’ iris. In villages around here if you don’t see wild iris, Iris pallida ‘Dalmatica’, or a yellow (nameless – much like mine) it will be this one. I imagine it may be the same where you live?

The closest I can come is a thing called ‘Bruno’, which dates back to the 1920s. Someone must have a name for it. I even suspect I used to know it!

DSC_0002DSC_0004 (2)

Then there are the two – one white, one yellow – that I probably look at most in the garden, since they are on the Vine Terrace where I relax at the end of the day. I think it’s hopeless imagining that I’ll ever find a name for the white, but maybe the yellow?

DSC_0013 (2)

DSC_0012 (2)DSC_0015 (2)

 

Finally, always amongst my very favourites, a plant I simply call ‘Sylvia’.

DSC_0034 (2)DSC_0018 (2)

It was given to me by a friend (strangely enough, called Sylvia) who found it in a heap by the side of the road. Someone just had too much – and not enough friends! Now, with a sumptious colour like this and the vigour that means you have so much you need to throw it away, this is some special plant.

DSC_0036 (2)DSC_0095 (2)

And it looks particularly rich with the Bon Viveur’s valerian. Now seeding upwards from their original bed. How do they do that? Do the seed heads pop? They were always supposed to go on the wall, but I thought I’d have to go up to the Mirror Garden and shake seed downwards. Aren’t plants very, very clever? Sometimes (but not often here, at Chatillon) they even do what we want.

All of these iris have all seduced me into buying more cultivars from Iris Cayeux (wish I could see their fields right now). Including one call ‘Black Suited’, which they reckon is the best ‘black’ they’ve created. Oh, and since I love yellow irises and can’t resist the name, ‘Common un Oeuf’ is also to be added to my ever-growing collection.

DSC_0014 (2)DSC_0027 (2)

19 thoughts on “Mostly Irises

    1. Cathy Post author

      Hi – so often I’ve done the same thing Cathy! Thanks for your kind comment, but the path IS too ‘narroe’!!! I hope you are rejoicing in your garden as much as I am in mine!

      Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      So kind, Eliza. I hope you are well and fully intend (as I am always saying) to pay you a virtual visit at your blog soon!

      Reply
  1. Frogend_dweller

    What a stunning collection of irises you have. I love the chocolate ones: Kent Pride and Bruno … really nice against the centranthus ruber. I am only just starting to use them more in my garden. Also love the tulip tapestry photo. You are making a beautiful garden and I am always interested in see it.

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      Thanks for your kind comment – the tulips in the Knot Garden have brought a lot of joy this year. For very little effort!

      Reply
  2. Christina

    Irises are one of the great joys here too; this year they have been better than ever. I’ve more or less stopped blogging for the same reason, which may be silly in a way as I’m happy to visit ‘real’ gardens at the same time each year. The Cayeux stand at Chelsea was very, very tempting this year. They said that this would be the week to see the fields at their best.

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      I have always found your irises so inspiring Christina (and your tulips). It’s the same here with the irises – a blessing from the heat last summer. Never better. I need to go over to your blog and be inspired again. And I wish I wasn’t such a coward that I refuse to drive the 4 or 5 hours to see the Cayeux iris fields! Girding my loins for next year. I find there’s always too much to do at home – not a good situation if you want to learn about new things.

      Reply
  3. tonytomeo

    That is not ‘too’ many iris. It is not much more than half of the pictures.
    Those in the background of the last picture look like Iris pallida.

    Reply
      1. tonytomeo

        How excellent! Iris pallida seems to be more common than I had thought it was. I got mine from the garden of my maternal-maternal great grandmother. They are still my favorite iris. Another blogger will be sending me a white one in July. White happens to be my favorite color, although my originals from my great grandmother’s garden will still be my favorite.

  4. Cathy

    Your garden looks fabulous – I hadn’t noticed but certainly don’t mind you repeating yourself with such gorgeous images. A walk around your garden must be so lovely. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      So sweet Cathy – but you know, a walk around anyone’s own garden at the moment is the nicest thing the universe could give us – a May or a June morning full of flowers. I will be virtually visiting yours soon!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s