Today I received the replacement bulbs for the Dutch iris, Eye of the Tiger.
I decided that this year I'd plant them in a container that currently has
thread leaf coreopsis, two asters and a surprise seeding of a yellow
calendula that must have come from my friend, Diane out in Oregon.
The day was perfect. One of those days that you want to hang a hammock
and lie in and snooze as the sounds of busy critters fade in and out around
you. I decided to break Sugar's heart and dart past her, but Rose just
didn't understand. I blocked the cat door to keep Sugar from escaping
outside to disappear on me and wind up digging somewhere that I'd want to
kill her for later and headed for the quarter white barrel I have the other
Survey the situation, appears that one of the coreopsis has died on me, so I
break off the brittle stems but see that at the base of the rest of them are
little ferny shoots that promise me the roots are cranking out life yet.
The Calendula I see has another seed head of ripe and dried seeds in it and
I carefully thumb them loose and let them drop into the soil below in the
pot. Hopefully I will be rewarded for this next year by more than one plant
of these perky yellow with reddish eyed daisy flowers.
The asters are done, but I leave the little dried up flowers on the ends of
the stems and see I need to water the pot. That will have to wait as I look
for the aluminum trowel that has lain in the pot waiting for the right
moment to be used. Ahhhh, the sitting stool is close by, and I put it under
the big ol' rear of mine since the ground is a little damp from heavy fogs
and dews from the morning, and plunge the trowel's thin blade into the river
pea gravel and rich soil. Pull backwards, plunk in a fat Dutch iris bulb
and root around for another spot to plant number 2 of 20 that Dutch Gardens
I decide that I will plant them UNDER the coreopsis shoots in hopes that it
pops up thru the plant next year. I almost hear the fairies approval with
this decision. I scootch my seat a little to the left of the quarter barrel
and find another spot to make another slit in the rocky soil and plant
another fat bulb. This isn't going to be easy. I part the limbs of the
asters like green hair and carefully plunge the trowel next to the rootball
and plant a couple of more iris bulbs among their toes.
It wasn't easy but somehow I managed to tuck all twenty bulbs into the pot,
but it was a tight fit. Next year I will see if my efforts were folly or
fruitful. The pot will be full to bursting with the foliage of the iris in
The day was wonderful and perfect in temperature and the sun was just right,
and as I sat low to the ground on the little seat, I looked up into the fig
tree. Good lordy, it's still loaded with figs, and I will have ripe figs in
a couple of days! This is absolutely amazing to me. I feel more than
blessed and get up and search the scratchy leaves and limbs for at least one
soft to the touch fig and am rewarded with one that will be honey sweet
despite it's coolness. It amazes me that the stem of the fruit bleeds white
when I break it from the limb.
My mind wanders and I check on the progress of the mum in the large nursery
pot near the point of the fig bed. It's bud tight and almost but not quite
ready to pop open. I always forget the color of the flowers. The surprise
of them when they open at the middle of October is worth it. All these
years of unsuccessful mums planted I am still amazed at the return of these
in the pots I've placed them in. One is tiny and crammed into a bricko block
with a sempervivum. Toes just cramped enough to prevent it from making more
than six flowers but that was more than it had when I plugged it in as an
I have forgotten about a wheelbarrow full of Geums that I purchased for $1
each and three pots of Red Foxx veronica. They are crying for me to fill
the barrow with water and rehydrate them. I comply and hope they forgive me.
The damage that Sugar has done to my tomato now perennial box is saddening.
I resign myself that this will not do and she will have to be reprimanded if
this happens again. I was actually seeing some successful signs of survival
in the plantings despite their closely planted positions. I try not to think
murderous thoughts about the pup and start looking for flowers and textures.
What amazes me are the intensities of the colors that are still around. The
ORANGE of the Bengal Tiger canna's slap the eyeball like a sunbeam poking
you thru the curtain first thing in the morning when you first wake up. As
I gaze at their orangeness, the screaming pirkle (pink and purple) butterfly
bush blossoms on the bush near the topped jack pine tree just beneath the
deck on the first real terrace of our back yard collides with the orange of
the canna's that rise above them about three feet away. I HAVE to get in
that swampy, mucky mess and yank out the blackberries and other things that
don't belong but the canna's. Fall will be a good time to do this. The
canna's love me for planting them in the gray water, boggy area of the drain
from the washer and sink. The least I can do is give them leg room to
spread into an impressive clump that will defy removal when I am long gone.
Now despite their toxicity, the beauty of one of my woods dwellers has
captured my eye. As I just stood and gazed across the spans of the woods,
the rising trunks of the towering Jack pines are further enveloped in
shrouds of flaming reds and orange with highlights of burgundy and some
yellow. The darker reds are the benevolent Virginia Creeper that has risen
to heights over 70 feet to disappear into the tops of the pines and the pin
oaks. The other electric colors and drapings are my old adversary poison
and poison oak. The colors sing to me the reasons why the English gardeners
love our itchy, blister inflicting vine so much. The berries are ghost
white, but the tri-leafed foliage literally shouts it's appearance and
location out in the fall.
I see I will have to go into the woods and sever them from their host trees
and later pile the bases with wood ashes and douse with RoundUp if I have
the chance. The Virginia creeper is a keeper, there is enough poison ivy
and oak to feed the birds and keep me pulling and ripping and herbaciding
well into my senior years. But for now I am in love with the colors the
bane of my woods is flinging at my eyes. The colors literally light up the
trunks of these towering trees.
The pin oaks are just now starting to lose their green colors and I can't
tell what they will slip on for fall display yet. My woods are in a true
holler and the first hard frost was spared them a few days ago when I
frantically dragged in the tender plants. That was a study of hilarity as I
ran the relay of grab two plants and place them temporarily in places in the
house. I have only three good windows and I just needed places for them to
lsit out the frost.
The frost missed me. The plants are still in the house. Now I have to
consider the rest of the horde before Mom's Nature takes a more serious
swing at me with all these cacti and tropicals. My work is cut out for me.
I need to beg Squire for a sunroom..............
I will end here before I ramble off the edge of the continent and will
holler at you guys later. There's work tomorrow and I have a rubber plant I
need to pot up. That's another tale for another time.
madgardener up on the ridge, back in fairy holler, overlooking English
Mountain in Eastern Tennessee, zone 7, Sunset zone 36