What’s That Iris? See 100s of Photos
and More at Revamped

The already excellent website of the Historic Iris Preservation Society (HIPS) just got better – and a new address, – thanks to an ongoing upgrade by webmaster Christine Woodward.

Although I miss the charming look of the old site (by Mike Unser, a major hero of historic iris), the revised site offers a lot more information. My favorite section is still the Photo Gallery with descriptions from old catalogs, and now you can sort it by era (choose “pre-1900,” for example, and you’ll get a list of 49 names) or use the “Comparison Display” feature to look at two similarly colored iris side by side.

In the Resources section there are almost 60 reprinted articles dating from as far back as 1887, and don’t miss the former HIPS e-zine, Flags. The annual Rhizome Sale fund-raiser is online now, too, and if you move fast you can order from a list of over 300 heirloom varieties (including some that we donated) for just $6.50 each.

There’s a lot more to explore and enjoy at the HIPS site, and if you like what you see there I hope you’ll consider joining HIPS. It’s a terrific organization doing important work to preserve our garden heritage.


Buzzing about Pollinators:
It’s National Pollinator Week!

Buzzing about Pollinators: It’s National Pollinator Week! –
‘Pearl’ double tuberose and friend.

The eighth-annual Pollinator Week kicks off on Monday, June 15, and we’re hoping gardeners everywhere will join the celebration.

As Hunter Stanford writes in the current issue of American Gardener, “Pollinator Week is an opportunity to celebrate pollinators and promote awareness of the important role birds, bees, butterflies, bats, and many other pollinators play in our food supply and maintaining healthy and diverse ecosystems worldwide.”

Pollinators account for one out of every three bites of food we eat, and the populations of many of them have declined drastically over the past decade, so one of this year’s goals for Pollinator Week is “teaching people about the causes of pollinator decline and how they can help.” (Learn more at “A World Without Bees.”)

Buzzing about Pollinators: It’s National Pollinator Week! –
Winter aconite: extra-early bee favorite.

One way to help is to garden with pollinator-friendly plants, so I asked our bee-keeping neighbor Eileen Dickinson what bulbs she’d recommend. “Winter aconite and crocus are really important early bulbs,” she emailed me. “I see bees all the time in the Scilla siberica, bringing blue pollen into the hive. Grape hyacinths are good. And of course German garlic.”

Eileen also pointed me to the website of Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary where I found a great page about bee-forage plants which includes “all spring bulbs” on its short list for gardeners with limited space. For a more specific list of bee-friendly bulbs, see the recommendations posted at our Facebook page by our good customer and avid bee-keeper Ron Geer. Thanks, Eileen and Ron, and Go Pollinators!