In contrasting fashion to Picasso and his blue phase of painting during years of depression, ProfessorRoush seems to be going through a yellow phase of uplifted spring spirits. Everything in my garden (well, except for some blue iris and a very splashy pink 'Therese Bugnet') seems to be yellow at the present, all of them a bright cheery yellow sufficient to join me in a celebration of the coming warm weather. My yellow celebration really began on Friday last, as my first ever Tree Peony (Paeonia suffruticosa) opened up a single bloom just after our rainstorm. The satisfaction of seeing this bloom washed over me like a rainstorm across the prairie.
Tree Peony experts in the audience are laughing, but they don't fathom the difficulties I've transcended to get here. This is my fourth attempt at a Tree Peony and the fourth year here for this one. I've lost them to cold and drought and had them toppled by marauding critters and wind. Growth has been slow, and I thought I'd lost her once, but she is settling in and looks like a survivor. She is sited in the most protected spot I could give her; walls on the north and west to collect and reflect the sun's warmth, amd open only to the south and east where gales are least likely to topple her. There is shade in the afternoon and she is protected by chicken wire on all sides, a virtual fortress erected to be impenetrable to man or beast. Thus, you can understand my elation at getting this far, even though she dropped petals quickly and is now but a memory.
Just finishing up is my prize Magnolia 'Yellow Bird', an exciting bush that I've bragged about before. It continues to grow and do well, now almost twice the size of when it was planted 4 years ago. The bloom this year was a delight to see and more prolific than ever. I can attest now that 'Yellow Bird' must be at least Zone 4 hardy, since that seems to be the degree of winter it has just survived and thrived through. Rain sometimes dims the brightness of these blooms, but even the soft yellows of a dampened flower are pleasing to the eye.
The most dependable and brightest yellow on this Kansas prairie comes, as usual, from the chrome-yellow rose, 'Harison's Yellow', just beginning to bloom profusely. Almost one in every four buds on this rose is now blooming, so it will get better yet, but it's pretty good right now, don't you think?
How long will my yellow phase go on? Not much longer, I think. The irises are taking center stage and a whole bunch of pink roses are about to steal the show here.