It's Mother's Day, the unofficial kick-off to the gardening game in southern Wisconsin. The gift of choice for moms is often something from the local garden center, a fact I forget when I headed to my local nursery for impatiens and sweet alyssum yesterday. It was a mob scene, only lacking tailgating in the packed parking lot to complete the image I had in my mind of football.
I have cut back on the numbers of annual plants I purchase. For one thing I have many shade loving perennials, hostas, ferns, bleeding hearts and the like, enough to divide and share. Like loaves and fishes, I never seem to run out. I do buy pansies as early as I dare for a splash of spring color after the snow drops and before the lilacs. I also enjoy planting impatiens for midsummer color in the shady parts of the lawn, and alyssum for the front border, which gets a but more sun.
A good example of a perennial that bring lots of pleasure each year is the honeysuckle vine growing on the garage. It's there mostly because our yearly hummingbird visitors like it so much. We can count on the tiny birds arriving just in time for the showy orange and yellow trumpet-shaped flowers. I like this time of year, when everything seems to be orange and purple. This photo shows the purple pompoms of the allium plants, a visual complement to the honeysuckle.
The east side of the house is most colorful now, when the oriental poppies, gifts from a gardening friend, bloom. Because they are in a place I don't see too often, I have to remember to take a walk around to see them. There's a honeysuckle here too, and a purple border plant to should know the name of but do not. Soon these beauties will be done, and the pink peonies will take their place, and when they finish, they'll be replaced by bee balm.
These iris were also a gift from a friend, and this is the first year they have really done well, perhaps because of our unusually gentle winter. When I was digging out the despised bindweed and creeping bellflower yesterday I accidentally broke off a stem of the iris. I brought it inside and discovered it has a wonderful sweet scent. Getting to see its delicate petals and smell its scent went a long way toward easing my sore joints and muscles, the result of digging, planting and watering.
Happy Mother's Day to all of you who are mothers, have mothers, or had them once. Enjoy this beautiful day.