Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - May, 2014

Happy Bloom Day Garden Bloggers. I'm joining in for another bloom day, hosted by May Dreams Gardens. Be sure to check out her blog to see what's blooming this month in gardens around the world.

This spring has been so unusual (a phrase that always makes me laugh, since every year is "unusual"). First things were delayed by colder than average temperatures and now two heat waves, with at least one day reaching 90F both times, are causing an explosion of color in those plants that haven't bloomed, while many things already in bloom are fading rapidly. One of the things I enjoy about spring in the PNW is that it is often cool, making flowers last longer and allowing gardeners to enjoy all the exquisite changes occurring around them.

I'm already worrying about watering newly acquired plants this summer and it's only May! These two heat waves have me concerned as to the summer ahead, with wildfires already sweeping through parts of the nation. With a large yard and no irrigation (and few convenient faucets) beyond the vegetable garden, it takes a lot of time to drag hoses around the rest of the garden. Do I leave my new plants in pots, located near a faucet for easy watering until fall, or plant them out now so that they aren't stuck in hot little black pots and try my best to keep them all watered this summer once they're scattered throughout the yard?

These are my ponderings for the upcoming summer, but for now I can just enjoy the floral bounty of May.

Hoya carnosa, an oldie but a goodie.

Phalaenopsis Rong Guan Mary blooms for so long it might as well be fake.

Hoya multiflora, a shrubby hoya and one of my favorites.

My Easter cactus (Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri) finally bloomed. Better late than never. Besides, I'm still amazed the buds didn't fall off after packing the plant in a box and shipping it across the country.

Rhododendron 'Hino-crimson' is still blooming, but starting to look a little worn in this second heat wave.

Cheating a bit as I just bought this rhodie. This is 'Smokey'. Hello, Gorgeous!
 The Oregon iris, or tough-leaved iris (Iris tenax) are blooming now. Along with the hundreds blooming in the natural areas around the house, I have several that have seeded in around Stump St. Helens. I would apologize for sharing 4 pictures of the same species, but I'm not sorry!
I love the dark veins and speckling in the white areas of the falls on this particular plant.

Same flower, different angle. 

This is my second favorite of the plants that seeded into the Stump St. Helens bed. The leaves are half the width of most other Oregon iris I've seen and it's extremely floriferous.

A close-up of my floriferous specimen.

Hutchinsia alpina, a delightful small groundcover that blooms almost all year.

The flowers of Penstemon rupicola make me think of strange mouths. Not sure if they are open in song or yelling "Feed me!"

Alyssum spinosum has just started opening.

Another native penstemon, Penstemon cardwellii

Rhododendron 'Mount Saint Helens' providing only a small eruption this year. Hopefully my amendment work will pay off for next year.

The dark, naked buds of Calycanthus floridus already look like flowers. The bright, shiny foliage sets them off nicely.

The rare flowering sword fern. . . Not buying it?
Ok, fine, it's Rhododendron 'Nancy Evans' poking through a self-sown western sword fern. Spoil sports. 

The blooms on this epimedium are starting to fall apart, but they're still beautiful.

I still have a couple primroses blooming. This is one I got when I was in the Washington State University Horticulture Club.

Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' is starting to wind down bloom-wise, but it still has a couple stems putting out new flowers.

Rhododendron 'Black Magic'. I love the black-tinged, waxy red flowers.

A sparkling red rhodie.

Broad-leaved starflower, Trientalis latifolia, is blooming throughout the woods and shaded beds. The tiny pink to white flowers appear to float above the whorl of leaves, the delicate stem almost disappearing.

A tiny field of stars spreads through the grass at the edge of the trees.

One of the rhododendrons we inherited with the house. I don't usually like ruffles, but this one won me over.

The last few blooms on Rhododendron augustinii are about to fall.

Another cheat, my newly purchased Rhododendron 'Medusa'

I absolutely love this plant!

Our native trailing blackberry is in full bloom, a sign of delicious berries to come.

There is danger hidden in all this beauty, at least if you're a pollinating insect. 

My Siberian iris opened it's first blooms today.

The rain tore off a shower of petals and the heat withered more, but Berberis x stenophylla 'Corallina Compacta' is still blooming strong.

My Sedum spathulifolium, collected on a hike years ago.

Primula bulleyana(?) is also still blooming strong. Some of the stems now have 4 tiers of flowers.
And that's May Bloom Day in the garden of the Plant Geek. I did leave out a few things, some of which I wish I didn't have, like the masses of chives in front of the house. Maybe I'll manage to get rid of them this year. As usual, the vast tracts of lawn are speckled with English daisies (and a few dandelions since the last mowing). Oh to be rid of all that boring grass. I'm chipping away at it, slowly.


  1. I will never tire of Hoya blooms, they are just so bizarre!

    1. I wish I had room for more of them. I have trouble fitting vines indoors, even with trellises and other training methods.

  2. Your garden is bubbling over with flowers! I love the new Rhododendrons (even if I don't have a hope of growing any here). Seeing the Hoya multiflora reminded me that I need to hunt down another - I had one last year but foolishly kept it outside and it roasted. I share your angst over the prospects of keeping your garden alive during the summer months - I hope it won't be as hot up there as it's likely to be down here. Happy GBBD, Evan!

    1. Oops, missed your comment, Kris. Hoya multiflora is a great plant. Is it easy find in your area? I got mine by chancing across one in a public library and asking for a cutting.

  3. Lots of floriferous goodness! Hoya multiflora is a new one to me - way cool blooms! Happy GBBD and I'll be thinking positive thoughts for you tomorrow!

    1. Thanks, Peter! I am now completely without wisdom...teeth, at least. I've still got my wise a$$.

  4. Great set of blooms Evan! That Hoya looks so cool!

    1. Thanks, you two! I really love that hoya, so dependable yet so fascinating.

  5. My mom had Hoya for many years so I love this plant.
    I always add to my plant wish list after reading your posts. This time I added the Alyssum and the Penstemon rupicola. My Penstemon cardwellii is now 3' wide and in full bloom. Can it be cut back at all? Oh, I love your flowering sword fern!

    1. Part of my purpose in life is to enable others' plant addictions. I'm glad I could add to your wishlist! My Hoya carnosa is a family plant as well. It was my father's before I took over. The alyssum and penstemon are both great plants! The alyssum does reseed a little, but only enough to provide a few extra plants to place elsewhere or share with gardening friends.

      You can certainly cut back your Penstemon cardwellii. It resprouts easily, which I am very grateful for as the deer occasionally prune mine and more frequently trample it and break it's stems. The stems also root where they touch the ground, so if you cut off anything with roots you can replant it elsewhere.

    2. Good info. I did notice it rooting effortlessly. With your encouragement I'll give it a trim once it's done blooming. Thanks.

  6. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm happy to find someone to commiserate with, grappling with a large property. Our work is NEVER done.

    1. Indeed. These city slickers don't know what weeds really are. Not to mention simply trying to reduce all that lawn and keep it from retaking the beds!

  7. Just Lovely :)
    and do not miss...


    it is FUN :)
    Håkan, The Roseman

  8. After this post, looks like you will not have anything for future Bloom Days. How tall are the Oregon iris? Beautiful!

    1. The iris are about one foot tall. This is probably my biggest burst of color because of my love of rhododendrons, but I'll have plenty in bloom the rest of the summer, thank you.

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