Urban Garden Denver Blog

Old-fashioned Plants

Iris from my mom's garden

Yesterday I took the bus to work and the first part of the route winds through the neighborhood of homes from the 1920’s. This week spirea shrubs are at their peak, with graceful arcs of tiny white blossoms covering large shrubs. Along with the spirea, a rainbow of iris blooms are gracing many yards.

I have a spirea but it never blooms. It is crammed on the side of the house, behind some other plantings and never gets enough sun. I planted it the first couple of years we lived in this home because I loved the graceful shape and snowy blooms in the spring. I need to remove the plant, but haven’t gotten around to it. So it just occupies some benign space but adds nothing to the yard. I need to admit that I don’t have enough space to grow a spirea well, but I can admire them in other yards.

I do have some part of the rainbow of iris blooms, but I always have color envy and realize unless I had an enormous yard, I couldn’t have every color available. So this time of year I enjoy seeing the variety in the neighborhood. The classic lavender and purple iris are most prevalent, but I have added a pale yellow and a peach in recent years. They were acquired from the Van Liere’s iris farm in SW Denver, www.Iris4u.com.  A trip to an iris farm would be a great outing this weekend .

While I was on the bus, I saw a home on south Downing that had the entire front yard planted in iris. A stunning statement for a few weeks in the spring, but perhaps an odd choice the rest of the year. But this time of year, when I take the bus I can enjoy the parade of blooms, without having to pay attention to driving or traffic.  I can also enjoy favorite plants that don’t fit in my small urban yard.

Along with admiring blooms this weekend, I will be planting some annuals to fill in spaces around my perennials. I’ll talk about my favorites in the next post.

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