Sunday, July 6, 2008

Summer- week 3-July 6

This time of the year is really the peak of the garden. I do not know a time in the garden year when so many different flowers all bloom at the same time. Some are finishing up. The Japanese iris and the Asiatic lilies have been blooming for several weeks, but some varieties of those plants are still just starting. The daylilies have begun in earnest and will carry the garden for the entire month. The other lilies, the Orientals, the trumpets, and the combinations of the two, (called Orientpets) are swelling their buds, trying to send me to the store for more or bigger stakes. And then as I mentioned last week there is the plant and flower of the year, the pink orchid cactus. It finally bloomed this morning, having teased us all week.

I have wonderful pictures for you this week, as it seems that each morning I can go out and find as many subjects as I wish.

Here are the poll pictures:

First there is a yellow Iceland poppy. They have such wonderful centers.

Then there is the incomparable pink orchid cactus. There are several extra pictures below the fold that show the growth of this bud during the week. As I mentioned last week this plant bloomed with one flower 3 years ago. It then kept getting bigger as a plant without really any real bloom since. I count over 40 buds at the moment. Just drive by if you wish to see it. It is hung from the walnut tree in the front yard.

Here is an Asiatic lily called Kentucky. It is one of these speckled ones that have been developed over the last few years. This one is in full sun in the castor bean corner, which is rapidly becoming one of my favorite areas of the garden. The castor beans are knee high by the fourth of July, except for the dozen I haven’t planted yet.

Finally there is the daylily Banned in Boston, one of the most photogenic daylilies. Some of the extra pictures of daylilies came very close to being in the top four for the week.

So there you have it. I expect that you will see some of these in the picture contest this fall. Last week your choice was the Asiatic lily called Tinos.

Here are bonus pictures. The first group is all daylilies. The bottom left one positively glows. The upper right one is a semi spider called Ruby Spider. It grows very fast. If you want a big splashy daylilies just give this some room and plenty of sun and you should have 30 scapes within 5 years.

The next set is all from the castor bean corner. First there is an overview. The there is a close-up of a late blooming lupine. The entire bed is awash with orange butterfly weed. Then there is a new red penstemon called Red Rocks. We will see next year how vigorous it is.

Then there are Asiatic lilies, from different parts of the garden. The blue glass piece just wants you to find the Dale Chahuly seconds store. (He does wonderful glass installations sometimes in botanical gardens, like the Missouri Gardens last year.) I like the combination of the spend alium with the fresh lilies. The orange lily is Sunshine Glory that is doing well in the front parkway in dappled shade.

The last pictures are several pictures of the orchid cactus during the week. By last evening it was showing the white at the end of the bud.

I want to add a final note, mentioning the flood. The garden here on College Street was fine. Downtown Iowa City was not really touched at all. But anyone near the river in Iowa City was probably impacted in ways that sometimes are not realized. Some people lost their homes or their businesses or their jobs. Let me mention one such group.
We are fortunate in Iowa City to have a vibrant community theater. (not connected with the University) Riverside Theater has had outdoor Shakespeare during the summer for several years now, complete with a newly constructed little Globe theater in City Park. City Park flooded badly and the theater company was displaced to the auditorium at City High School. Their warehouse space in Coralville, where they store most everything, was also flooded. They got stuff out of there but it has added to their challenges.
This summer they are doing (1) Comedy of Errors and (2) The Winter’s Tale. We went to the Comedy of Errors this last week and it was great. We are going to Winter’s Tale this week, one of the more intriguing of the Shakespeare plays. At the same time, because they are somewhere else, not that many people are attending. They rely on ticket sales to pay their bills and cannot call on the legislature for relief. Decline in business for a community theater is something that is hard for government to assist.
So that means that it is up to us, to try in what way we can to help. I would like you to consider two things;
(1) If you are in the Iowa City area, consider attending one of the shows this last week. It is inside, and there are no bugs. Here is the link to get tickets:
There are 4 more shows of Comedy of Errors and 2 more Winter’s Tale. If you can, go and take you neighbors.

(2) If you are anywhere, and I know most of you are somewhere, consider sending a tax deductible contribution to the Riverside Theater, 213 S. Gilbert St., Iowa City, Iowa 52245. It doesn’t have to be much. Sometimes small checks can be as invigorating as the fat ones. It will be a form of flood relief that may be otherwise overlooked.

That’s it for this week. Stay cool.

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