"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag

Dogwoods, Red and White (1 of 3)

From Seeing Trees: Discover the Extraordinary Secrets of Everyday Trees by Nancy Ross Hugo:

“We take psychological possession of the things we can recognize. To me, getting to know a tree is like getting to know a human being — the more you know, the more the relationship deepens, and a person’s (or a tree’s) capacity to surprise you never ends….

“You may, for example, think you know the flowering dogwood. If it is your state tree, as it is mine, you have probably learned that the white appendages that look like its petals are technically bracts (modified leaves) and that its real flowers are in the center of what we think of as the blossom. But only when you look closer, into the dogwood’s real flowers — about twenty of them clustered in the middle, each with four yellow-green petals — and actually see them blooming, each tiny flower with its complement of four stamens and pistil, does this distinction become meaningful. Like discovering that a person you knew for one talent is accomplished in another… discovering new tree traits broadens your appreciation of the tree….

“And there is absolutely no end to the tree traits waiting to be discovered even in an ordinary backyard.”


I’ve never had the privilege of naming a plant or a tree, but if I ever did, I’d want to change the species name of the dogwood tree from its current name — Cornus florida — to Canis florida since “Canis” is part of the species name for our four-legged barking friends and they surely deserve such an honor. I realize that might cause some species-confusion — naming a tree after a puppydog — but, hey, the names are all made up anyway so people would get used to it after a while. I’m sure you agree…. (or possibly not).

Bark! Bark!

I actually didn’t know that the red or white portion of the plants you see below was not the flower until I read about them in Seeing Trees, quoted above. As noted, the flower is only the center yellow part, barely the diameter of a penny or dime; the rest is a modified leaf — a rather spectacular one, I think. Intriguing to me that the plant evolved that way; presumably the brightly-colored bract is designed to attract pollinators and guide their attention to the flower at the center.

I took these photos during Dogwood Season — late March and early April here — but didn’t work on them until I had finished with my photos from Iris Season (which runs concurrently with the late Dogwood period). You have probably seen those if you’ve been here recently. Driving through parts of my ‘hood earlier, I noticed that Lily Season is starting and developing quickly, so I hope to have some lily photos to show shortly after I finish these three dogwood tree posts. If you would like to see some previous year lily photos, click here.

Thanks for taking a look!

Bearded Iris Motley Mix (2 of 2)

From “Fleur-de-Lis” by Walter Stager in Tall Bearded Iris (Fleur-de-lis): A Flower of Song by Walter Stager:

Blue of the skies,
Pink of sunrise,
Red of the sunset-glow,
Purple so bold,
Yellow of gold,
White of the driven snow;
Solid and dashed,
Veined and splashed,
Mottled and reticulated,
Suffused, o’erlaid,
Bordered and rayed —
All colors and shades collated.

From “Iris” by Blanche Marie Louise Oelrichs (writing as “Michael Strange”) in Tall Bearded Iris (Fleur-de-lis): A Flower of Song by Walter Stager:

Iris, pallid blue, gold veined,
And as if coloured from dawn chills,
Or from the yellow-fingered touching
Of curious starlight…
Purple Iris,
Streaked with amethystine memories of the night,
Health-glossed and firm are those ripe wings
Of Oriental butterflies….


This is the second post featuring the last of my iris photos for 2022. The previous post is Bearded Iris Motley Mix (1 of 2), and you can click here to view all of my posts containing photos of irises.

Thanks for taking a look!

Bearded Iris Motley Mix (1 of 2)

From “Intermediate Bearded Irises” in A Guide to Bearded Irises: Cultivating the Rainbow for Beginners and Enthusiasts by Kelly Norris:

“The [intermediate bearded iris] class is home to a motley crew of bearded irises of mixed parentage, a horticultural melting pot that will likely boil over in the coming years as the iris world finds new ways to organize its rich diversity — good news for gardeners who always need more. Until then, its diversity of flower shape and size runs the gamut….The attitude of most iris lovers who love beautiful flowers — the more the merrier. Tolerance is a wonderful thing in the garden.”


Iris Season is coming to a close here in the southeast, and this post and the next one will feature the last of my iris photos for 2022. Unless I find more, in which case there will be more.

Soon I’ll go hunting for early summer flowers — lilies, hydrangeas, hibiscus, and lantana for example — and I added some new lilies and a pair of hibiscus to my own garden this year, mainly so I could take their pictures. I had a potted pair of yellow lilies last year — see Epic Lilies (1 of 3) — one of which came back (so got photographed but is in Post-Processing at the moment) and one of which got dug up by satanic squirrels and didn’t survive the winter. While I couldn’t find a matching yellow lily to replace it, I did find one called Summer Sky which has huge flowers in fabulous shades of red and deep pink that is just starting to bloom. The two hibiscus will be a surprise; they both have a couple of dozen unopened flower buds, but it was tagged at the garden center as a “generic hibiscus” so I don’t even know what color the flowers will be. Not that it matters!

But I’m getting ahead of myself… here are the irises:

Thanks for taking a look!

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