Cool Flowers on a Hot Sunday Garden Walk

Above: The view today of the front garden path leading from our front door out to the pergola

This weekend is unseasonably warm in our part of the world. The sun is bright and the air is bordering on oppressively hot. We're having to run the air-conditioner for the first time this year because the temperature monitor reads 87 F (30.5 C) in the shade. We get the odd hot weekend in spring here in the Bay Area so this isn't really unusual. It will cool off again in a day or so as the winds shift and the cool air blows in from off the Pacific Ocean.

Despite the heat, I went out in the garden to take photos of some of the spectacular blooms that have been coaxed open quickly by the warmth of the sun. And I found little pockets of "cool" in the blues and purples of the blooms around the garden. I've written before that I have a weakness for all blooms that are blue or blue-ish in hue. You can imagine how tickled "blue" I am with the current state of the garden.

My bearded iris are doing very well this year. In fact, many of them are blooming for the first time EVER despite being in the ground and producing spears for years prior to this. I'd begun to lose hope that I'd ever see a bloom and figured I'd just have to enjoy the great dagger-shaped foliage of the iris (which I love).

But this year has been a good year for the bearded iris (guess they just needed to get acclimated). And as they've bloomed they've each been a little tiny surprise package for me because I had forgotten what colors I planted! Add to that all the moves I'd done to the rhizomes from one part of the garden to another, and I've lost track of everything all together in the bearded iris department! I know. Master gardeners much be cringing as they read this. At least I'm admitting it right?


This bearded iris may be a Dover Beach (I know I planted that variety at one time) but I don't think it is because the Dover Beach has a whiter top to it and less yellow on the beards than this one has.

Did you know that bearded iris have a "fragrance"? It's not the scent most people would consider to be a "fragrance", but like the other spring flower, the daffodil, bearded iris have a wonderful fresh scent that seems to just say "spring" for me. It's kind of like the smell that hits you when you walk into a florist shop but more distinct and uniquely "iris".

Did you also know that a lot of bearded iris have a pearlescent quality to their petals? So when you look at one in the right light, the petals glisten and glint like someone has sprinkled them with a pinch of pixie dust. If you enlarge the close-up photo at right you may be able to see the glistening on the petals at the top.

Moving on from the iris...

I am thrilled to bits that my Blue Ribbon rose is in bloom! It's blooms have a wonderful nostalgic rose scent that smells just like the rose scented lotions, potions and perfumes my Grammy used to have on her dressing table. When I breathe it in, the heirloom essence takes me back to times that were even before I was.

This favorite rose is a great producer that has about 2-3 really good "shows" each year. The blooms come out in large groups, put on a grand show, and then the rosebush waits for a month or two before its encore performance(s).

I like this rose because of its dark glossy foliage. Roses with dark glossy foliage tend to be the most disease resistant and trouble-free of all roses. So when I'm choosing a bareroot rose at the nursery, I check the package to see what the description of the leaves is and whether it says "dark glossy foliage" or something to that effect. If it doesn't, then it doesn't matter how much I love the photo on the front of the package. I put it back on the nursery shelf for someone else to buy and fuss over. I'll take naturally trouble-free roses anyday, thank you very much. And this Blue Ribbon rose is of that ilk. Combine that with being a "blue" flower and you've got a true winner in my book!

Now I'm going to go and relax in the air-conditioned living room with Hubby and wait out this heat until the evening brings cool breezes off the water.

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  1. Cindy,
    What a lovely post about your lovely garden. Iris always say "Mom" to me. Remember the whole wall of iris down the east side of her property? I dragged rhizomes (I always called them bulbs back then) with me for several moves and think I gave up about 25 years ago. I felt very nostalgic reading this. Thanks so much.

  2. wow, you have an amazing garden.

    Gig Harbor florist

  3. The color of that rose is really unique and beautiful.

  4. The colour of that rose is exquisite!
    And what a delicate iris, it's such a soft colour.

  5. Cindy,
    I love it when you share your gardens with us. Just beautiful. The sun is shining today and feels so good!

  6. What a lovely post Cindy. That Dover Beach Iris is simply wonderful, love that colour! And how nice that your Blue Ribbon rose is in flower too. Wish this was scratch and sniff. ;-)

  7. Cindy this rose is stunning and looks like fine favorite dark green leathery foliage rose is the EDEN...her blooms last and last on the climbing vines and in the vase for ever.
    I love your romantic walk path through your it often filled with tiny kitty paws meandering all about?

  8. I love that lavender rose!! How gorgeous is that!

    I love lavender roses that smell like lemons. Do yours smell like lemons, perchance?

  9. Cindy,
    Your rose is just beautiful. My neighbor had a rose that color and her husband dug it up! Ugh, I was so sad to see it go. I have to remember to plant some iris..just love those.


  10. Your zone season is so far advanced from my 6a. But I can look at your beauties and see what I have to look forward to. It won't be long now.

    I did not know that trick about the rose leaves descriptions. Thank you.


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