A Kansas Country Garden - Third Week of April

Poppies are perennial and often reseed.
 Very early on Easter morning in 1992, I got up before anyone else in the house. Not to hide Easter eggs or to fix a tasty Easter brunch or dinner. No, not to prepare my heart for the most holy of all celebrations. I got up early to plant poppies. 

White iris contrast with the brilliant orange poppies.
I only know the year because on that afternoon we were hosting a wedding reception for my brother and his bride who had been married earlier that year. My mother and I had gone, the day before, to the home of her friend, Lydia, to pick daffodils for the reception. She had a huge flower garden and there were lots of daffodils. "Pick all you want," she encouraged us. "Be sure to take some leaves, too. Bouquets look better with leaves." When we had picked everything we needed, she asked, "What else could you use? Poppies?" Oh, I wanted poppies! It was early spring and the poppies were just little plants. I didn't know then that poppies are notoriously difficult to transplant. I just dug up a few and brought them home. I planted them that Easter morning, but nothing much happened. The plants whimpered for a little while, then dried up and disappeared. Well, I had tried.

Who can look at a poppy and not smile?
And then, the next spring, there they were. Fuzzy, nodding buds were suddenly bursting with brilliant orange glory! A few miles away Lydia lay in the local hospital. She was dying. Her generous heart was giving out. But every year since then, I have had poppies blooming in my garden. 

In retrospect, I probably did not pick the most ideal spot to grow them. They relish the full sun, but are unprotected from the gusty Kansas wind. With their delicate, papery petals, the flowers do not last long when the wind is strong, as it so often is. There is no sense in picking them. Poppies wilt almost immediately. Putting them in water doesn't help. I've seen recommendations of searing the stem with a flame, and I've tried it a time or two, but it doesn't really seem worthwhile. I had been trying, almost from the beginning and without success, to transplant them to other locations. Only in recent years have I been able to get a few going in different places mostly by plucking a few seed heads and tossing them where I'd like them to grow. 

It is also iris season in the garden and the alliums along with some bushes and trees are blooming. And butterflies have arrived.
I call this my "Grape Kool-aid" Iris because I think the scent is just like grape kool-aid.
There's just something majestic about an iris in bloom.

These allium are a butterfly and moth magnet. 
This purple smoke tree has tiny yellow blooms. It does not "smoke".
This smoke tree doesn't smoke either. It has had severe damage in ice storms, but continues on.

The Apache Plume Shrub, Fallugia paradoxa, attracts butterflies.

I believe this is a Mock Orange shrub, Philadelphus Virginalis just beginning to bloom. It is a favorite.
Dame's Rocket, Hesperis matronalis, with its sweet scent may appear anywhere in the garden. It's season has just begun. I will cut the seed heads down after to bloom to discourage too much spreading.

Still Blooming
Columbine bloom under the shade of the Redbud tree.
This hybrid columbine lifts its face so we can better admire its exquisite design.

Also under the shade of the Redbud tree, these flowers could go unnoticed, hidden as they are under the upper leaves. 
The spirea is in its final days of bloom.
The candytuft is finishing its bloom.

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