Maximum May Slugfest

A Catmint/Baptesia/Coral Bells Rose Garden

There is a lot going on in the gardens right now.  Everyday a new flower emerges and Beth rearranges what is showing in the house as well.  Even as things change there is one constant theme for May and that is a struggle for our attention between the Iris and the Peonies.  This is the first year for the Itoh Peonies to bloom for us.  They are a wonderful combination of the best of the foliage and form of the Tree Peonies and the fullness of the normal herbaceous lactiflora varieties.  And, unlike the full-flowered lactifloras, they do not flop.  Not that I would complain about any of the Peonies — they are all wonderful — but we are really liking the Itohs, especially Julie Rose.

Itoh Peony 'Julie Rose'

Itoh Peony 'Singing in the Rain'

Last flower from the Yellow Tree Peony

Paonia lactiflora 'Honey Gold'

We often bring the Peonies inside for closer enjoyment.  They last fairly well and many have a nice fragrance (especially Festiva Maxima).  But it is hard to compete with the eye-stopping display that the Bearded Iris provide.

Bearded Iris

They need constant attention — the buds in flower change daily and the dead flowers have powerful dyes when they drop.  But the colors are superb and the fragrance grabs your attention when you walk by.  In the garden they pull you toward their sentinel flowers from a distance seem to be impervious (like the Peonies) to deer predation.  This purely cranberry colored Iris is one of my favorites.

Cranberry colored Bearded Iris

In addition to their fragrance and color the Iris are also so very distinctive in the architecture of the flowers.  They have exquisite detail that rewards close examination.

Iris 'Ginger Snap' profile

Iris Beard

Orange Iris Beard

Even with all the attention given to the Iris and Peonies, I would be not be serving by constituent flowers fairly if I didn’t mention a couple of other star performers right now.  The Baptisia are looking better than ever and the variety ‘Twilight’ makes a lovely photo subject.

Bapteisia 'Twilight'

And for an ex-California I was delighted to see that the California Poppies that I planted last spring have decided to come up this year.

Calif Poppy in bud

I should also mention the creatures that have been visiting.  The first hummingbird of the year has come zooming past with it’s motorboat-sounding wings.  There have also been a lot more clearwing moths than I remember previously.

Clearwing Moth

I enjoy their high tech sunglasses and long proboscis.

And then there was the Black Snake that we noticed while eating dinner on the deck last night.

Black Snake Planter

Think of this as a new design for planters…

This is also the time for the monthly photo contest at Gardening Gone Wild and the focus this month is on lighting with Macro Images.  I looked at using one of the images above but I’m going to return instead to a favorite closeup shot of a backlit Tulip where the light just seemed to emanate from the base of the flower.

Tulip 'Flaming Purissima'

4 comments on “Maximum May Slugfest

  1. Scott

    That cranberry colored Iris is knock-out gorgeous! That first photo is amazing…sheer perfection!

  2. Landscape Lover


    I love the photos of the moth and the snake – but agree that the tulip is just gorgeous. It does look as if it has its own little sun shining up from the base. Good luck!

  3. Donna

    You could have entered any one of these, they are all beautiful. Well maybe not the black snake, but he is really interesting. My favorite besides your selection is the orange iris.

  4. Les

    Your new planter looks like one I caught at work last week. It was the biggest one I have ever caught. I took it to the woods for relocation. Two days later I nearly had a heart attack as came within inches of stepping on it.