Brooke here. I tend to look at gardening as either functional or fashionable. Functional gardens are those which serve a purpose besides sense-candy, while fashionable gardens are pleasure first and purpose second.
The pollinator garden, for example, was built for the critters. It was designed to have chunks of color, as well as plants which flower at different times of the year, two elements which are believed to make life easier for pollinators. Some of the plants have migrated over time, but for the most part it’s a clumpy, chunky garden. I like it a lot, especially as it’s the only spot on the property that doesn’t flood out during hurricanes arglebargle okay calm down Brooke you’ll get to that post later.
But now that I’ve gotten most of the landscaping planned and the fundamentals in place, I can add some plants that are purely ornamental. My favorite flowers are irises, and Zone 7B’s peak iris season is April 7-May 7. For that one month? Glory! Here are some of the best iris photos from this past season.
The biggest, brashest iris in the gardens, “Paul Black” blooms forever. Each flower lasts 2-3 days, and each stem puts out between 8-10 flowers. I had to stake these to keep them upright.
Shorter than “Paul Black” with fewer flowers per stem, “Silver City” has flowers that only last 1.5-2 days before fading. Still, it’s a beauty. I planted this in front of the utilities to help the azaleas form a living screen because its leaves are broader than other irises. Didn’t expect to love the flowers as much as I do. Had to stake these, too.
I got this one as a freebie with an order of irises from Schreiner’s Iris Gardens. It’s fiendishly perfect. Stems are about 3′ tall and sturdy, as I didn’t need to stake them at all. Flowers last about 2-2.5 days, and blooms constantly.
I’ll write up the Turtle Garden when I write up the “Everything is flooded there’s a river where the driveway used to be oh god oh god” post, and the peonies live there, but here’s a shot of a “Bowl of Beauty” peony in bloom.