Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Love Affairs, Old and New

I'm beginning to think that Hellebore "Ivory Prince" may be the longest blooming plant in my garden. Here's "Ivory Prince" as it unfurled on May 1st.

Here's what it looks like today, more than one month later. What's not to love?

The Hellebores are tucked away in a shady section of the backyard where no one ever looks. They are my little secret. Their endurance, however, makes me think they deserve a prominent spot in the front-yard shade garden where they can be enjoyed by everyone. I hope the "Ivory Prince" doesn't mind being relocated.

The irises can't match the staying power of "Ivory Prince." To make matters worse, the iris patch had a dismal spring, producing very few blooms. Sometimes I think they are hardly worth the effort, but then I look down deep into the heart of the bloom and fall in love all over again. The camera caught this iris as it slowly faded from the garden. The sepia-like tones on the petals suggest the iris is bidding the garden a melancholy adieu.

The foxtail lilies could care less about the iris grand finale. They are too busy waiting to take centre stage. I have three spires this year, up from two last year and one the year before. I love it when a plant multiplies. I must share a secret, though. I think foxtail lilies are prettiest when they are about to bloom than when they are actually in bloom. Shh! Don't tell the plants.

Have I ever told you about my love affair with chives? I absolutely adore them. After they bloom in spring, I cut them right back to the ground. Then, they bloom again toward the end of summer.

I thought about moving my chives to the vegetable garden where they might be a better fit thematically. But the vegetables are way at the back of the yard, past the beech tree and two enormous burning bush shrubs. I would never see the chives back there. No, they will have to stay in the perennial border where I can see their cheery, pom-pom blooms from anywhere in the yard.

It wasn't exactly love at first sight between me and the running strawberry bush. I planted this native Ontario ground cover in the Woodland Walk last year and it did nothing. This year it is growing like crazy and just look at what it produced! A tiny bloom that looks just like a child's drawing of a flower. Next to the bloom is what appears to be a tiny red berry. And just like that, a new love affair begins.


Helen said...

My hellebores are still at it, too, and they've even self-seeded. Luckily (or dumb luckily) they are right by my front door.

I was appreciating the ornamental merits of chives today, too. Like all alliums, they add a structural element it's hard to find in other flowers. Great colours, too. Sarah has a pink one.

Salix said...

That "running strawberry bush" looks very interesting.
This year I transplanted self-sown chives to grow along the outside of my herb raised-bed. They will eventually fill in, so no room for weeds and when they get too floppy, as you I give them a haircut and soon they look good again.

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

I'm on the lookout for hellebores! (Don't tell anyone, 'cause I still have a freight truck full of plants to get in the ground and I may be running out of steam!) But those little fellows look awfully nice!