May Days

WHITE IRIS

As I look down my garden walk

   I see white iris stalk on stalk

Lifting their heads in clear surprise

   At a white swarm of butterflies.

I cannot tell which is more white,

   For both are charged with April light,

Or which will first take wing and rise,

   The iris or the butterflies.

Sally Bruce Kinsolving
HSA Seasonal
This poem paints a delightful picture for me, though my iris wait until May to bloom. The Florentine Iris is just starting to open, and will hopefully show their lovely flowers as soon as the rain stops. Florentine Iris is one of the types of iris whose roots are harvested for the fixative orris root. The mature roots are dried, and then used to help sustain the scent of potpourris and is also popular in other cosmetic applications. It is supposed to have a violet scent. I use it in some of my potpourris and sweet bags.

Many plants this year have been blooming early. The lilacs have been coming on strong, and the lily of the valley is at its peak. The itch to plant outside was very strong, but I am glad I resisted planting most things, as the weather this week has been less than ideal. The gardens are in desperate need of attention (weeding!) but after all this rain, the weeds will be easier to pull.

The plants in the greenhouses are staying cosy and warm. I expect a flurry of activity soon, as everyone decides to get out in their gardens and plant. I hope you stop by and check out the seven varieites of basil, over 25 types of heirloom tomatoes, as well as many regular and unusual herbs. I have a large number of Datura Belle Blanche plants, courtesy of the plant residing in my greenhouse and  generously selfseeding hundreds of plants. This plant has a gorgeous, fragrant white flower, but it is toxic, so it needs to be kept away from children and pets. It is an annual in our climate, but it is easy to grow from seed. It has prickly seed pods that are very decorative, too.

I have lots of "seed" herbs, such as mustard, anise, carawy and dill. Hard to find herbs such as summer savory and sweet marjoram are here, too. There are a number of plants that have use as dried material, such as purple, rose, white, pale blue and yellow statice, winged everlasting, and globe amaranth. I have some large sized plants of tarragon, rosemary and lavender, as well as some scented geraniums. Some items are in short supply, so come early for the best selection. I can help you plan your herb garden, or suggest easy to grow plants to get you started. Remember, we are open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 - 4, or you can call to make an appointment for a time that suits you.

Happy Planting!
Karen