22 May 2013
Sweet and Sour
Even these pregnant does realized Mr. Fuzzy was no real threat as he yelled at them from the the front door. Only when the dogs of war (Rufus & Rocky) were loosed did they meander elsewhere. From the four does observed this week, they should be giving birth any day now.
The flame azaleas (R. calendulaceum) have begun their spectacular bloom, shaming all else which bloometh in the forest at this or any other time. There are two basic colours with many shades, orange and yellow-peach. There are some at Stratheden Farms but the Blue Ridge Parkway is lined with thousands of fine specimens in their great glory.
More subtle & modest are the two varieties of wild iris found on the farm. The native blue flag iris (Iris virginica L.) is ubiquitous in this area and are found in numerous sites at Stratheden. Some are natural and others are where Mr. Fuzzy has transplanted them; they seem thrive in damp or dry conditions, full sun or half-day shade. They are smaller than modern garden iris but no less beautiful.
The other native iris found on the farm is the brilliant yellow bog iris (Iris pseudacorus), a plant so successful that it is considered invasive. Unlike its blue cousin, this only lives in wetlands. Although considered invasive, it is an excellent solution to erosion; the roots run six to eight inches deep and are strongly interlocked from plant to plant... and they are beautiful during their relatively brief bloom period. Flowers are only fresh for one day and the group will be in bloom only a week or so. A damp meadow filled with this brilliant yellow is a sight to beheld.
The Creator surely blessed the Blue Ridge region more than its share of beauty.