Wednesday, May 14

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day: May 2008

May has been an interesting month. Some of the early bloomers got all mixed up on when they were supposed to bloom, I discovered that serendipity had created a color theme in my spring backyard garden, and I got inspired by my brother and sister-in-law's ambitious first garden.

All the while, things have been blooming. Many things. But before I show you some of them and list others (in the spirit of May Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, hosted by Carol of May Dreams Gardens) I want to point out the beautiful state of decay of my Ivory Prince hellebore. Having such a small urban garden, I really value plants that look good when they are supposedly "past their prime!"

Most of the tulips are on their way out as well. The greigii tulips have long since shattered, decorating the front yard with their bright red petals. 'Black Hero' double tulip, a surprise returner this year, rests amongst the yarrow foliage:

And the elegant 'Prinses Irene' is fading from a bright mango orange into a shade akin to Tang:

At the end of the front bed, just before you turn to go up the porch steps, unnamed single late purple tulips sprawl through golden oregano, 'Purple Dragon' lamium, and my Japanese maple:

"The Bad Bergenia" has bloomed profusely this spring... as if to mock me for thinking about taking it out and replacing it with something prettier. And the foliage has looked nice, too. I still mostly scowl at it--what a cheeky plant it's turned out to be!

And finally, the garden's newer blooms. I keep wishing for the willpower to take out the doublefile viburnum in my front yard garden, because it is one of the least drought tolerant viburnums and I dislike fussy plants. But between the horizontal habit of the branches and the gorgeous texture of the leaves, I'm too deeply into my addiction here. And then there are the pretty flowers:

Also in the front garden, 3 of my 4 'Efanthia' euphorbias have rebounded and look amazing in bloom. The fourth plant has a few little nubs of new green leaves, but is nowhere near flowering like its friends:

People either love or hate geranium phaeum 'Samobor,' but I am always surprised to hear complaints that the flowers are not eye-catching enough. I guess that must be due to their size--because check out this amazing bloom color:

I am working on a theory that says something like the following: If you complain about one of your plants on your blog, and proceed to abuse the heck out of it (hopefully to the point of death, to avoid the necessity for shovel pruning) it will elevate its game. (See the bergenia above for further proof.)

And you might even start to have positive feelings for it, like the cautiously positive feelings I have for this garishly hot pink rhododendron, now that I've surrounded it with things like Japanese bloodgrass and goatsbeard to tone down the girliness:

This next bloom probably shouldn't even count, because the plant is still in its nursery pot. But I hope you can understand why I fell in love with the luscious flowers on this lewisia:

The blueberry flowers are doubly exciting--not only are they pretty, but they'll be good eating later! (In bud, next to the blueberry, are allium karataviense 'Ivory Queen.' I love its pleated and cupped foliage coming up through the creeping thyme.)

I wasn't sure what ajuga would think of my rather dry yard... but I'm happy to report that the diminutive 'Chocolate Chip' is extremely happy here. And handsome:

Other things in bloom on May 15, 2008:

grape hyacinths
bleeding hearts
'Samourai' pulmonaria
'Pine Knot Strain' hellebores
'Honeycrisp' apple
sweet woodruff
'Queen of the Night' tulips
'Geranium' daffodils
(note: Orangery and an unnamed daffodil would also be blooming... except that the elegant 'Geranium' ruined these showier daffs for me. I ripped them out.)
'Metallica Crispa' ajuga
silene maritima
carex 'Beatlemania'
tiarella 'Crow Feather'
carex platyphylla
an unnamed epimedium with a pretty deep lilac flower
blue fescue
'Cape Blanco' sedum
'Jack Frost' brunnera
alpine strawberries
phlox divaricata
lamium NOID (from Mom's garden)
This little carex, 'Hime Kansugi'

Other plants in bud on May 15, 2008:

penstemon NOID
culinary sage
physocarpus opulifolius 'Diabolo'
'Black Beauty' elderberry
clematis jackmanii
lonicera sempervirens
'Caradonna' salvia
'Marcus' salvia
these beautiful chives:

I just love chives... both edibly and aesthetically.

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
- William Morris

(Or both.)


Carol Michel said...

I have hellebores in the same state of "decay" and I find them quite beautiful. The rhodendron is quite 'girly' and so unlike you, but I bet it fits in quite nicely in your garden.

On your question of what do I use to hold up my shrub clematis... I use one of those metal hoop flower-holder-upper-things, and in fact just bought a bigger one, the size used for peonies, because my shrub clematis is getting pretty big.

I love seeing gardens in May and enjoyed my virtual tour through yours!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

chuck b. said...

Kim, Ajuga never looks as good anywhere else as it does in your garden. That Lewisia's on steroids. Your acer + oregano + tulips (that match the acer) is fracking brilliant and inspiring--bravo. I like that geraneum--we have a similar one out here whose name I don't recall. Its masses of dark flowers stand out near grays. If my chives had as many flowers as yours I would enjoy them more. Instead, I'll enjoy my onion and shallot flowers--because they went to seed before I harvested them and I won't get to enjoy them on my plate. Happy spring to you.

joco said...

Good morning BS-girl,

Happy Bloom Day to you.

Your photo's look intriguing, not just head on blooms. Well done.
That black Hero is positively sinister skulking amongst the greenery on that rock :-) don't know how lucky you are having Bergenia leaves without holes. I can't find a single unscathed one amongst dozens of clumps.

Come and take a look at my two un-snailed leaves:-)

Naturegirl said...

Beautiful images of your garden..I looked back at your past posts and enjoyed seeeing the cat photos! Happy gardening!

Katarina said...

Kim, you have captured your garden so well - I feel as if I've really been there. I agree with you about the Hellebore - it does look beautiful even now. And the Lewisia - no wonder you fell for that!
Happy GBBDay! /Katarina

Gail said...

I did so very much enjoy your post.

Your theory of complaint and plant reaction seems a truism in my garden. Fascinating, like an under performing employee being put on notice! Just this morning I had a big conversation with Amsonia! We'll have to year!

Have a great Bloom Day.

Clay and Limestone

Dave said...

You have quite an assortment! I like the viburnum and the ajuga. You can never have too many viburnums!

Priscilla George said...

Beautiful blooms. Such wonderful plants most that I have never seen before.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Carol! I thought about using one of those, too... I'm just not sure whether I actually have time to get one settled in before it's outgrown. :) (Tough problem to have, eh?!)

And yes, the rhodie is pretty girly... but it was here when I moved in. And I like its thick leaves, so I'm trying to make friends with its girliness. lol.

chuck b., awww... thanks for the compliment on the ajuga! I don't know why--it shouldn't like my dry garden. But I'm not complaining.

The lewisia IS on steroids, isn't it? I hope that I get half that much bloom next year--I'm planting it partially under the overhang of the porch to help even more with drainage. And I love the chive flowers--are onion and shallot flowers just as pretty?

joco, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. 'Black Hero' does look like it's skulking, doesn't it?!! Very fitting for its name. If it makes you feel any better, I do believe that the reason the slugs leave my bergenia alone is that they're too busy eating my ligularia... darn them. :)

Naturegirl, thanks! That cute cat is helping me get around to filling in the front garden with groundcovers... because he digs wherever there is open ground.

Thank you, Katarina! I definitely fell hard for that lewisia--I'll have to show a pic of it planted soon. It picks up some of the color from the peachy-leaf coralbells rather nicely.

Gail, that's a very apt comparison! Now that you say that, I believe that I have a few more plants that need to be "put on notice" around here... lol. I can't wait to see how your amsonia shapes up next year.

Dave, if I had a few acres I would definitely have too many viburnums planted at my place! ;) I just love them, but I keep thinking that I ought to pull out the doublefile and replace it with something less water-sensitive. I simply cannot seem to do it.

Vanillalotus, that makes me feel good... because usually, I'm saying things like that about the wonderful warm gardens you all grow down there in Texas!

Sarah Laurence said...

What unusual blooms. The black tulips are similar to the Queen of the Night ones I see around Oxford, England.

materfamilias said...

I love Hellebore flowers as they fade and I love the seedpods afterward just as much or more. Takes me forever to reluctantly admit that maybe they should be chopped. Really like the way that golden oregano sets up a dialogue with the maple et al. Makes me think mine need some company.
Also like your lists as supplement to the photos; wish I'd done that rather than leave out so many plants. Next month, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Well, I am about to start testing your theory. Bloom complaints! Good idea! Lovely combos and my Bergenia are NOT blooming. (Do you think that will do it?)

Unknown said...

Sarah Laurence, they definitely are dark, aren't they? The "unnamed dark purple" and 'Black Hero' were tulips that I bought two years ago after 'Queen of the Night' were sold out at my local garden center. This year, I did enjoy some 'Queen of the Night' in my own garden, though.

materfamilias, no need to wait for next month--I have to edit my GBBD posts all of the time! For instance, this morning I went back in and added the honeysuckle and clematis that are in bud... I'd forgotten them in the initial reporting. :)

I LOVE that golden oregano as a groundcover. In the summer it turns more like a chartreuse green, but in the spring it's a beautiful gold. And it spreads at just the right speed for where I have it.

Layanee, it just might work! LOL. Let me know if it does--I need to gather more scientific data on this theory, you know. ;)

Angela @ Cottage Magpie said...

Your ajuga looks fantastic--I always tuck that in everywhere I can find a place that needs a good groundcover and spring color. Lovely! And I know what you mean about plants in nursery pots. The only things blooming in my brand-new garden are things that came from the nursery, and I'm fairly certain they wouldn't normally be blooming now, so I'm out another month. Sigh!
~Angela :-)

gintoino said...

Your garden is looking wonderful Kim! I so envy your tulips, they just wont frow in my garden. I also have a "bad bergenia" and I like it mainly for the small pink flowers (although mine has bloomed a few months ago)

A wildlife gardener said...

Love those dark tulips, BSG :)

Fancy a spot of tiptoe-ing?

lisa said...

I couldn't help but smile to myself at the notion you may be coming around to enjoy pink flowers. In fact, I thought of you when I bought my annuals, especially the coleus with the hot pink middle! ;-) I just love your garden, so colorful...always!

Unknown said...

Cottage Magpie, I do that with the ajuga, too! It's nice that it has a darker leaf so you get some interest after it's done blooming as well. I need all of the help I can get color-wise. :) Speaking of color, I have to say that although I often feel like I am not qualified to comment on your blog, I love your posts about color and interior design. Very fun!

gintoino, thank you! It's amazing to me that your bergenia had flowered so long ago. I love knowing these differences in the gardens. :)

Thanks, wildlife gardener! I did indeed go do some tiptoeing through your tulips...

Lisa, BITE YOUR TONGUE! LOL. After reading your comment, I realized the insanity of that remark and I completely rescind it. *GRIN*

growingagardenindavis said...

Carex Beatlemania!?...must check that out! And count me in with those who like the geranium phaeum Samobor...I had one but it's time I find an empty spot I might need another!

Annie in Austin said...

The hero resting on the rock was my favorite, but I could also get to like Lewisia, Kim!
When I couldn't get Queen of the Night one year I bought Negrita instead which was still very pretty but not as dark. It was like eating an apple when you want a Dove Dark... no matter how good the apple tastes, you still want that chocolate.

The Ivory Prince does hold up well!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Entangled said...

I like how the Samobor geranium does its own color echo thing between the flowers and the leaves.

But, hey, I have to quibble about 'Geranium' narcissus being less showy than others. Give it a few years to make some nice-sized clumps with big flower clusters. They'll definitely get noticed. You'll never miss the ones you ripped out. ;-) But I wonder why they named it 'Geranium'?

Kylee Baumle said...

Wonderful things blooming in your garden, Kim! Many of the same things here, but I still need to find some 'Samobor'. Beining's didn't have it, but you MUST make a trip there when you get home again. I've never seen them look so good with so many things this year.
I'm jealous of your 'Efanthia.' Neither Mom's nor mine made it through the winter. :-( Must be marginal for us, because the other Euphorbias made it just fine.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Now, how do you have time to post a whole list of blooming plants? Wow. I could, I suppose--I have like 6 things blooming, that's it.

Shelly said...

Nice post! I like my 'Samobor', took some photos of it a few days ago that could have been better, went out today to do some retakes and the dastardly bunnies ate all of the blooms....grrrrrr.

Weeping Sore said...

The range of what you can grow amazes me! I have two struggling blueberries that are supposedly hybrids that can take the heat in So Cal, but they look so exhausted already and summer is only beginning. Yours looks delicious. Perhaps mine made berries too, but the birds took them before I even noticed them.

Anil P said...

I won't be surprised to learn that your plants do read your blog and that they keep abreast of what you're thinking of them :)

A lovely post.

Unknown said...

Leslie, it's a cute little spreader with gold edges... like 'The Beatles' carex, but variegated. There were 4 little pots so I grabbed them all. :)

I'm grinning at your comparison, Annie. Makes perfect sense to me! And thanks for the tip about Negrita--I'm really liking these dark tulips and may add a few different kinds next year.

Entangled, you're so right, it is its own color echo! I also have it next to 'Othello' ligularia, so there is lots of beautiful dark-leaf-ness all around.

Glad to hear about the 'Geranium' narcissus. One of my coworkers who has them mentioned that she hasn't noticed them spreading too much, but I prefer your take on their vigor. :) (And I've wondered that about the name, too!)

Kylee, if mine gets big enough to divide I will gladly share! Sorry to hear about your Efanthia... I wonder if drainage is the key to its winter hardiness? Where my struggling one is, lots of snow sat this winter so it would have been unfortunately soggy. Hmm. Oh, and Beining's sounds like a definite plan.

Benjamin Vogt, I will admit: I don't sleep very well. At all! But that gives me time to get a few things done... :)

Shelly, thanks! Grr to the bunnies. At least they do eat them, though, unlike the stupid chipmunks who just pull things out of the ground (like, entire tulips, bulb and all) for no reason. (Grr again! lol.)

Thanks, Weeping Sore! I admit that I might push the boundaries a little bit on some things. The first couple of years I had my blueberry bushes, they didn't do a whole lot, so if yours are still young 'uns I wouldn't give up just yet!

Anil P, I would like to think that they somehow keep abreast of what I'm thinking. And not just when I complain, but also when I think about how lucky I am to share in their beauty. *smile* Thank you for stopping by... I see that you are in Mumbai, so I can't wait to see what kinds of lovely posts you put up from what seems like the other side of the world from me. :)

Digital Flower Pictures said...

Nice collection of stuff. I have to transplant 10 eight foot tall Doublefiles this year. They just get too big in most spots. The Lewsia likes gritty soil and a gravel collar to prevent collar rot. Also plant it at an angle to stop water collecting in the center. It is a wonderful flower but can be a little difficult.

kate smudges said...

I like your theory of complaining about a poor performer on your blog and abusing it, to then watch it thrive. I'm going to have to keep that in mind ...

I've never seen a Lewisia with that many bloom on it - how cool is that.

I love Allium karataviense- well, all Alliums I guess.

Your garden must be awash in colour ... June bloom day will be a treat.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Digital Flower Pictures. I think that the soil where the lewisia is should be okay, and the plant is elevated but I'll have to check tomorrow and see if I need to tilt it a bit per your instructions. And I'll definitely add the gravel collar either way.

I've seen pictures of doublefiles artfully pruned to keep them short without losing the wonderful horizontal branching... I'm going to try to keep up with that on this one. I'd like it to stay around 4ft tall, max.

Kate, I know! The number of blooms on the lewisia was amazing, wasn't it? I'm not really expecting that kind of embarrassment of riches again any time soon. :)

I love all alliums, too, I think. With the possible exception of allium moly... I can't seem to work around that color in the garden for some reason.

dig this chick said...

So. I researched my "purple leaf wintercreepers" and as it turns out, I was dead wrong! What I had *all along* was hellebore, Ivory Prince. So, thanks. I freaking love those little guys. They are definitely male, no? I know they are all gorgeous and feminine, but I still think they are like drag queen flowers....I mean, evergreen and subtle, timeless. love them.

Ewa said...

Oh my God, your levisia is amazing!

Unknown said...

dig this chick, YAY! What a great surprise... they definitely are male, by the way. And I love those little guys, too.

Thanks, Ewa! It's cheating to show this one, though. It's too fresh-from-the-nursery for me to take any "credit" for it. lol.

Shady Gardener said...

Beautiful flowers and Beautiful photographs! You had quite a day out there, enjoying your gardens and photographing them. :-) Thanks for sharing!!

Kerri said...

I missed your bloom day post..shame on me! What a happy surprise that the 'bad Bergenia' has come good. I must start abusing my Hellebore. Perhaps it'll grow bigger, faster :) I'm so happy that it's still alive.
Love that Lewisia. How pretty!
I have a nice dark-leaved euphorbia that has proven to be hardy. It sewed itself from a container, probably with help from the birds, or something, into a nearby garden...a nice little bonus!
I love the color of 'Samobor'!

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