Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Mock oranges are abloom. These humble plants are ordinary in shape and leaf, merely another green leafed shrub until they start to unlock their broad white petaled flowers perfumed with a gentle scent. I planted two last year -- one unfortunately was Franklin's favorite stop this winter by being the first plant in the backyard that he would stop at on particular cold days and it has died -- the other is thick and full of flowers.

Another flower shrub is cascading with its tiny petaled mass blooms and almond like scent -- the beautybush or Kolkwitzia amabilis is an Asian flowering shrub akin to honeysuckle that blooms this time of year. It has an arching mound shape and was popular as a flowering shrub in U.S. landscapes until WWII. There are two large specimens in the townlet and I always look forward to seeing them in bloom.

I'd link to pictures on the internet, but I've yet to see any that do justice to the massive covered blooms that completely cover the plant.

Peonies -- another Asian plant that also happens to be the state flower of Indiana -- are also beginning to bloom. My dark pinks started opening yesterday. Peonies are everywhere in Indy. Sort of like the vegetable rhubarb, people plant it because they can. As someone who grew up in a climate inhospitable to peonies, I've always found them to be one of my favorite flowers. I've been intrigued by their large round buds, covered with ants, and have enjoyed their fat, explosive openings at bloom. Long live the peonies.

Our good luck at mild gentle weather continues on this week. If our summers were full of days like this, none of us could afford to live here.


bill said...

When I was in Atchison Kansas for my father-in-law's funeral this spring I was told that everyone plants peonies on the gravesites because they bloom on Memorial Day there. Apparently they have some rules about planting live plants and after Memorial Day everything gets mowed down.

I enherited a peony at the house I am in now. It has bloomed every season until this one. I am afraid I let it get crowded by other plants. I miss it.

Don said...

Peonies are tricky to transplant. Supposedly, if the red eye on the roots is more than an inch below the surface, then the plant will not bloom.

My peonies came from dark corners of the yard and it has taken a few years to get them to this level of blooming.