Recent severe weather events had little impact on the plants near the road. Only the lilies were covered when frost and freezing temperatures threatened. Most other plants came through the cold unmarked. Summer sweet is the sad exception. This shrub is at least one climate zone outside of its comfort zone here. Given the unending severity of the winter, it is no surprise that it appears almost totally dead. An occasional leaf suggests some life activity but the future for this plant looks dim. We may find a small living sucker plant tucked near a stone wall that will enable us to start again with this plant.
Meadow sage appears on the "get rid of this plant" list several times each year. The foliage reeks of foul body odor whenever we work near this plant. A coarse unkempt leaf display adds exactly nothing to the appeal of this plant. It self seeds with considerable success and the deep tap root requires effort to remove. Pulling a single plant releases a truly foul stench. But just look at its mass of purple hooded flowers. When these spent flower stalks are cut away, an unpleasant smelly task, the plant will bloom again. In the end, this plant will hold several permanent spots in our gardens. Purple flowers are among my favorites. For the occupants of cars speeding by, this plant is nothing more than a bold splash of color.
A Shaker's prayer Siberian iris flower is complexly colored. Patches of pure white are cleanly crossed by purple veins. Yellow near the base of the blossom clearly places this plant at the top of my must have list. Purple flowers are a personal favorite. The addition of yellow creates a perfect combination. This is also the first of our Siberian iris to bloom. Many more will follow with their own unique beauty but none will surpass Shaker's prayer.
False indigo rounds out our early collection of purple flowers. More thought should have preceded its placement here. Deeply rooted, persistent and growing ever larger with each passing season, this plant will expand its claim on this section of garden. One will be forced to peek around it to see what else grows in this garden.
The distant ground in the first photo reveals our plans for the coming years. The bare but partly weedy ground is scheduled for planting soon. A second application of fresh grass clippings just beyond is intended to slow down the retaking of that area by the eventual winner, quack grass. With any luck we will be able to plant that ground next season. The dried grass under the sumac trees is supposed to kill the quack grass there. We would like to place a garden bench in the dappled shade provided by the trees.