I have a small raised bed in the garden that used to be my vegetable garden. I realized a few years later that I needed more space to grow my veggies. The raised bed was turned over to the herbs. Oregano thoroughly enjoys the raised bed and I have to literally hack it back each spring or it would take over everything. I have bee balm and daylillies growing around the outside of the bed. I am a big fan of bee balm. The deer and rabbits stay away from it and it is a spreader, but not invasively so. Daylillies, well...that's a different story. I no longer purchase daylillies. They are a real treat for the deer and the first thing that gets eaten each Spring when the deer wander through. It is one of the biggest battles that I have every June. I just want a few days to see those gorgeous orange daylily blooms before the deer devour them, but most of the time the deer win the battle and they are eaten to the ground before I see a single bloom. Ugh..
It's iris time in the garden! The purple iris is a bearded variety. I received the white iris at a plant swap in our neighborhood a few years ago. It is a roof iris. The best thing about plant swaps is that you go home with something that you probably would never have purchased at a nursery and they always turn out to be the best plants. Why? Typically these are the plants that a neighbor is giving away because it has spread and prospered for them. Plant people are generally pretty friendly and they are not going to give you something that isn't a keeper.
A friend of mine called me this week. She has lived here for two or three years and is interested in gardening. She calls me when she is at the nursery to ask about particular plants before she purchases them. This week she called and wanted to know how lavender does in Southeast Virginia. I told her I have had good luck (in a pot) and bad luck (in the ground) with lavender. It is pretty particular with the soil conditions and clay soil is not it's favorite. I said to my friend, if you want a similar plant that is not fussy at all go with Catnip (Nepeta). It will bloom starting about now and continue until the Fall. It isn't picky about how much water it gets and it has a beautiful spreading/mounding effect. I love it! Oh and did I mention it is drought tolerant and the deer/rabbits stay away from it? Perfection!
Homestead Purple Verbena is in bloom and that means the butterflies are here too. Swallowtails were in the garden this week. There was one out while I was taking pictures, but it wouldn't rest long enough for me to get a good shot of it. Next time maybe:)