The bearded irises are in full swing now, with two more varieties joining the crowd today.
A pale blue variety with relatively small flowers on exceptionally tall stems - I think this one is flowering for the first time this year
A lovely red
Another plant that has come into bloom is my young tree peony, which has produced three buds this year. Unfortunately, the shimmery petals that make the flowers so gorgeous also make them hard to capture by my sub-par camera - in other words, my IPhone - since the shimmering comes out as weird glares. Here, therefore, is one of the somewhat less awful shots:
Tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa)
I adore tree peonies and they are relatively care-free and reliable, so if they were not so ridiculously expensive - apparently they are quite a pain to propagate - I would have different varieties scattered all through the garden. Alas, I have to wait for the rare occasion when they are put on sale here and there, which is how I got a hold of this darling beauty. The garden as a whole is looking pretty nice, too, though it is interesting to observe a change from previous years as plantings begin to age in such a young garden. During the last couple of years, the border running along the front of the house usually looked best overall. It was the first area I planted after my parents moved, and by virtue of being the hottest and most sheltered part of the garden, it got of most my most treasured plants rescued from our previous yard, such as my original eastern prickly pear (Opuntia humifusa), the Japanese fiber bananas (Musa basjoo), or my first crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica), bought at a Walmart in the Florida panhandle on the first family vacation we took after moving to the United States. Those plants are still doing well and form the backbone of the border along with a number of new additions, although of course many only really come into their own in high summer. However, many of the more common perennials I with which originally filled the border have become rather untidy and are starting to underperform, either because they need to be divided and replanted or because the bed is actually a bit too hot and dry for their continued comfort. I will have to make quite a few corrections there. In the meantime, some parts of the backyard that were rather desolate the first few seasons have filled in nicely, due to may efforts at improving the soil, the removal of a number of trees that had been sucking away much of the moisture in that part of the garden, and lots and lots of new plantings.
The long border in the front yard; from a distance it still looks decent, but up close much of it is a straggly mess.
More from the front yard - Musa basjoo is coming in nicely
The backyard, by comparison, is finally becoming quite lush
I have already bought a few new plants for the front border, among them a Montauk daisy (Nipponanthemum nipponicum) that I am quite excited about, because in Massachusetts they are quite common and look fantastic in fall when most other things are declining and around here no one seems to be growing them, and some pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) which was very common when I was a kid in early 1990s Germany but has become much less popular since and is only borderline hardy here - which should also mean it will not get invasive. Along with moving around some of the plants already there and cleaning out and mulching some of the plantings, that will hopefully allow me to spruce up that part of the garden again.