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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Spring Lured Me Away by Joan Reeves

Looking down as the iris began to open.
I took an unintended vacation for the last couple of weeks. It's Spring's fault. I was lured away by the fabulous weather and could not resist the siren call of the garden.

It all started with the Dutch iris in one of the pots I'd filled with iris transplants from the backyard of my country house. It bloomed, and it was spectacular.

I'd brought many pots filled with iris, plumbago, and lantana home last year. It was simply too hot to work outside, and I was too sick with the "unknown pathogen" to attempt gardening.

Everything over-wintered successfully. With the weather delightful, I knew this was my chance to get my landscaping plans underway.

I planted the iris on each end of the rose garden I'd started last May—just in time for the torrid summer heat. The roses survived that, and actually began to thrive with the colder winter weather. The rose bushes still aren't as big as they should be, but they're all blooming now.


The last rose we put in last year is called White Lies, and it's simply gorgeous in appearance and fragrance. When the bud opens, the rose is pure white. As the day progresses, the petals begin to change color. By the end of the day, the rose is red. Amazing, isn't it?

We have a new rose to add to the garden this year. It's Tropicana, an older variety that has a fragrance twice as strong as White Lies. It's a lush orangey-red color, and the blooms are suitable for cutting.

I tend to like floribunda roses, but cut flower specimens are stunning.


I have a habit of calling my flowers by the name of the person who gave them to me. When I talk to my kids about the beautiful iris, I always call them Grandmother Frances's Iris because my mother-in-law gave me a starter for them.

The yellow iris are Carol's iris because my friend Carol gave me the starter for them. The latest edition to my friends' garden is Jamie's amarylis which was a Christmas bulb from her.

Jamie's Amarylis
I wish I'd taken a photo of it when the other 2 huge blooms opened because high wind and rain battered the poor plant.

In the backyard, I laid out a new bed that follows the fence line, curving from end to end. I also laid out a new vegetable garden space, planted the fig tree I'd brought from the family farm, planted lantana and iris from the transplant pots, and added to the rose garden.

In a shady back corner, we used paving stones to create a peaceful nook, complete with a wrought iron bench and pots of shade-loving plants. 

That's kind of it for the back yard because we still haven't decided whether we're going to stay in this house. We're still looking for one that's slightly larger with a 3-car garage which Darling Hubby really, really wants.

The day lilies I planted last spring (also from the yard of our country house) have flourished as you can see by this photo. I've got another huge clump, not shown, to thin and transplant elsewhere.

We are still trying to conquer what I call the Nandina Jungle on the west side of the front yard which is overgrown with nandina domestica, bottlebrush, and Chinese privet.

I was out there Saturday trying to remove some of the overgrown shrubbery when I was bitten/stung by a tiny round black bug. It fell into my tee shirt.

I went inside to remove the shirt. It was like a scene out of a screwball comedy. I was dancing around, trying to find out what was crawing on my shoulder.

I raked it out with my left hand and saw the little critter. It promptly bit/stung my index finger. The pain was intense—like a needle shoved through my finger. I was shaking my hand over the kitchen sink and  screaming, "Get it off. Get it off." 

He did, and the bug fell into the drain of the kitchen sink which means I couldn't identify what kind of insect it was. I ended up with 2 bites on my collar bone and the one on my finger. 

The bite sites swelled and itched worse than poison ivy or poison oak. I've spent each day coated with Caladryl and using an ice pack on the bites.

Today, the itch is still there but not as bad as the last 3 days. I know it wasn't a spider, an asp, or a tick of any kind. I wish I knew what it was so I could make sure I never tangled with one again.

Oh, we also moved the Japanese lantern and "lit" it finally. Cleared the bed out and planted agapnatha and purslane. It should be really pretty when those plants get going.


I guess this is a long story explaining why I haven't done email, social media, blogging, or any kind of writing since mid-March. *LOL*

I hope your spring has been just as delightful—minus being stung by a killer bug.

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  1. Beautiful reasons for your absence!

    1. Thanks, Liz. Trying to get stronger through gardening.

  2. Unfortunately, when we welcome Spring, we welcome insects. I hope you're okay. I got a bug inside my shirt last summer, and it made mince meat of me before I got it out. I itched for days. Here's hoping, you don't. But on a happier note, isn't gardening fun, despite the hard work?


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