Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Seedlings Fledge

After the rain on Tuesday it got warm, into the mid 60s and humid. It was the first really springlike day of the year.

The trays of seedlings went outside for a few hours in the afternoon for the first time. It was like watching birds fledge -- I hovered as the humid breeze battered their tiny stems and I fussed over keeping them damp enough in the open air.

Despite the warm hint of spring it is still gray and grim outside. The empty pots look forlorn, waiting to be planted up.

The tiny iris reticulata bulbs by the front door are the only color, and they are a welcome sight popping out of the green kinnikinnik. But the kinnikinnik got severely winter burned this year, so I spent some time cutting out all the brown stuff.

By the time I got done, the entire edge was cut back. When summer comes the long woody stems will reach for the walkway again and cover the straight cement edge of the walk with glossy little green leaves.

I noticed something while on my hand and knees snipping stems -- the new little iris bulbs I added last fall are a different cultivar than the original ones (neither the original nor the newer ones were marked anything other than "Iris reticulata")

Not what I was expecting. I love the clear periwinkle blue of the first planting, and wanted them spread throughout the kinnikinnik. I added new ones to this patch and across the walk under the post light too.

But the new ones are deep purple, not at all blue. See the two single irises at the top of this picture? Not the same as the clump in front. At all.

The original clumps can be divided to spread them out and achieve more of the clear color I wanted. In fact, they need to be divided, since they are looking crowded now. The challenge is finding them under the groundcover after they are gone by, when it is time to divide them.

Both types of iris are sweet, but I didn't want two different colors. I think the fix is to intermingle the blue and the deep purple more by digging up some of the original color and spreading them among the newer purple bulbs.

Add that to my To Do list.

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