Thursday, May 30, 2013

Penstemon venustus

Although members of the genus Penstemon are native throughout North America, the Venus variety are localized to the Pacific Northwestern United States (though they are perennials that might be grown in a variety of places; they are well-suited for rock gardens and the like). They flower mid-summer and present with blooms from a bluish to a mild lavender color, with hardy leaves that increase in size toward the ground.

More information can be found here and here.

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Iris Germanica

Also known as "bearded iris":

("Lullaby of Spring" German iris; photo by Jonathan Everitt)

I spent two summers as a volunteer at Kingwood Center Gardens in Mansfield, Ohio, tending the iris and day-lily beds. Of course these are some of the most recognizable plants but the face, the eye of the iris strikes me still.

("Aachen Elf" iris, photo here)

These are hardy perennials that are known and so well-loved for their big colorful heads, long stalks, and swooping petals. It is almost as if they stand to meet you face-to-face, their mouths open in a slack-jawed but joyous smile. They give off this warmth, too. When you're working in their soil a sense of at-homeness overtakes you.

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