We grow a patch of peonies and irises off to the right side of our big daylily show in the back yard. We bought some from Klehm's Song Sparrow Nursery, selected because of "self-supporting" stems, and we added one or two over the past couple of years. We have several of the whopper Itoh peonies, too. They combine features of the woody tree peony and the more delicate standard varieties, and their flowers can be as wide as a salad plate.
The show is on now, and sometimes when you're up close, what you see can remind you of still life paintings you see in museums.
This is a peony named White Cap. The white blossom behind it is a fabulous peony named Do Tell.
This is the massive plant of Do Tell that I planted as just a small thing from Song Sparrow Nursery in 2011, so this is the third season we've seen it in bloom, and this is a wowzer! Here's a solo blossom of Do Tell.
I am thrilled by the appearance of peonies that can support their flowers. Here is Itoh peony Yumi.
I bought this in a large container at one of the local nurseries. I had planned to add one more each year but the plants are growing so well that the space is already maxed out.
Here is White Cape again, with Itoh peony Mikasa on the right.
Do Tell is in the background, and the small mound of little purple flowers to the right of Do Tell is a fabulous hardy geranium, Max Frei.
Up around our small patio, we planted an alternating pattern of Hosta First Frost and the geranium Max Frei, which makes for a wonderful display of color and texture in the second half of May.
And here's some of the work ahead in the next couple of days, a living To-Do List.
There's a tray of yellow zinnias not in bloom next to a tray of unusual red portulacas, also not in bloom, a set of Johnson Blue geraniums for one of the berms, some Wooly Thyme for the berms, several sedums for Kathy's collection, and what-have-you.
Yesterday I went to Home Depot for another 12 Lariope starts and paused to inspect the vegetable offerings again. We've been searching and searching for the San Marzano tomatoes. They resemble the Italian Romas but are meatier and sweeter; the best for Italian dishes. You can find Romas everywhere. The name is easy. You can't find San Marzanos almost ever. Many nurserymen don't recognize the name. It's not easy, so it won't sell like Roma sells. But Home Depot does not select which varieties it will sell. It buys a collection of veggies from some supplier, a big collection to suit all needs, and the latest shipment, which I browsed yesterday, included SAN MARZANOS!!
I also bought a pot of feathery Dill, a pot of purple Basil, a pot of green Basil, and four pots of Artichokes. I already have four plants of Anaheim chilis in the garden, so the California theme, or the Italian theme, will expand! There are three Basil plants in each pot, so I will divide each pot and plant the Basil plants several feet apart so they can grow into edible shrubbery!