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Add another one to the (almost) black flower collection: Iris ‘Hello Darkness’, a “Tall Bearded” variety. This makes six and a half. I had tentatively hoped to grow it in a pot, but a bit of research tells me that bearded irises are the only group of irises that cannot successfully be grown in containers for long. Guess I need to dig a hole.

I think every gardener has one or two plants that they desperately want to grow and just don’t seem to be able to keep no matter what they do, even when by all accounts they’re doing everything right. For me that’s turning out to be the native species of witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana). I’ve tried twice. Some gardener, I can’t remember who, said to try everything three times before giving up: once is bad luck and twice is coincidence, but three times is confirmation. Or something like that. I suppose it’s worth a try.

Monarch05CaterpillarDay03-07Here’s the monarch caterpillar on Day 7 (yesterday). Actually, this is the one that hatched a couple hours later than the one I’ve been showing so far. That one crawled up into the large vase I used to cover it in order to moult. Experience has sadly taught me that it’s not good to disturb a caterpillar during this stressful period, so I decided to leave it there and photograph this one instead, which obligingly began the process more accessibly.

This marks the first ecdysis (moulting) into the second instar.