Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Friday, May 15, 2015

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, May 2015

April showers have brought on a whole host of May flowers. Actually, this spring those showers had quite a bit of sunshine to help, too. As usual, GBBD is hosted by May Dreams Gardens, where you can see what's blooming in Carol's garden and the gardens of bloggers everywhere.

First off is an almost bloom. After getting bigger and bigger (and bigger), the Dracunculus vulgaris is finally sending out its inflorescence.

Allium 'Purple Sensation', part of a sampler I got years ago, luckily this one was rescued from the bed in front of the bay window during construction.

Sedum spathulifolium isn't quite open yet, but the inflorescence has such an interesting architecture in the bud stage.


The bearded irises have started blooming with their big, purple and yellow flowers.

Far more demure and elusive, Asarum caudatum hides its blooms under its leaves, where you have to know where to look. Nevertheless, they're one of my favorites.

Allium christophii has begun its long bloom, as new flowers pop out to fill in and expand the globe of flowers on each stalk.

Allium siculum (formerly Nectaroscordum) dangles subtly-colored blooms gracefully. Hummingbirds will come surprisingly close to the ground for these nectar-filled blooms.

From below, one sees a more colorful picture.

 Allium karataviense has been declining in my garden, but this one still managed to bloom.

Iris tenax continues to bloom, both my one white-flowered plant and the many purple ones.


Hutchinsia alpina blooms for months with tiny white flowers. I should have photographed the healthy patch in another bed. This original patch, for some reason, thinned out considerably this winter, probably from deer stepping on it while frozen (when in doubt, blame the deer). It is filling in again.

Alyssum spinosum is beginning to bloom in shades of cream and pale pink.

 Penstemon rupicola has begun putting forth its outrageously brilliant blooms.

May is the month of rhododendrons. Rhododendron 'Nancy Evans' is in full bloom, with Primula bulleyana below it.


Rhododendron 'Medusa'



Rhododendron 'Kimberly'
 Right behind the others are 'Smokey' (left) and 'Fatsuosum Flore Pleno' (right).

 Cornus canadensis blooming alongside the first broadleaf starflowers (Trientalis borealis ssp. latifolia)

Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' bears its last few flowers.

The fully open flowers of Globularia cordifolia look like little mop heads out of a Dr. Seuss book.

My unknown amsonia surprised me this year by showing up with a whole mass of buds at the ends of three stems. This will be its first year blooming. I was surprised because it really wasn't that big when I planted it last spring.

The flowers of Cistus 'Snow Fire' last only one day each, but new blooms open daily. I love the dark red marks at the base of each big white petal.

The Siberian iris is in full bloom. It amazes me that those tall, slender stems hold themselves upright without staking.

Hemerocallis fulva (formerly H. flava), the lemon daylily, has begun opening its lemon blossom-scented blooms.

Blooming for the first time in my garden, Glumicalyx gosselioides has quickly become one of my favorite plants. The fleshy, evergreen foliage has a pungent, chocolate orange scent. The plant quickly grew to over two feet across and is now jam-packed with flower buds. The first of these are opening now and the white-backed flowers are revealing their orange interiors. The scent is similar to the foliage, chocolate orange, but extremely sweet rather than strangely pungent.

Billardiera longiflora is also full of buds. I was pleasantly surprised by how well it made it through winter, given how late it was planted.

Dasiphora fruticosa (aka Potentilla fruticosa, Dasiphora floribunda), puts out orange flowers which fade to yellow.

 One of my Thanksgiving cacti (Schlumbergera truncata) decided it was Thanksgiving in spring.

My new Sophora davidii is still blooming away in its nursery container.

The planters around the deck railing had been filled with strawberries for several years, but this year they were retired in favor of the much better strawberry patch in the vegetable garden. This means I can use these containers for annuals again. Though largely consisting of foliage this year, there are some blooms, like the fiery flowers of Pelargonium x hortorum 'Vancouver Centennial'.

The tiny white blooms of Euphorbia 'Balbreblus' (sold as Breathless Blush) contrast nicely with the dark foliage.

The blooms of Heliotropium arborescens 'Fragrant Delight' have even more of that delicious vanilla scent I've always loved about heliotrope. I never want to be without it. I bought three this year and plan to save at least one in the greenhouse this winter. Grown as an annual in the north, this is actually a shrub in warmer climates.

Helianthemum 'Henfield Brilliant' continues to pump out fiery red-orange blooms. I definitely plan to add more of these.

There are a couple more irises that haven't quite opened yet, and another that has come and gone. Stipa gigantia has finally sent up its tall, wispy inflorescences, and Daboecia cantabrica has sent out a few early blooms. The last few epimedium flowers are fading while the Magnolia stellata has put out a couple very late blooms. I didn't spray the Calycanthus floridus with deer repellant this year, and the deer responded by eating almost all of the flower buds. I guess they like mulled wine. I can't wait for the fence to be finished.

17 comments:

  1. Happy GBBD! Love those Glumicalyx flowers. I really should get one.

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  2. Great selection Evan! The Siberian Iris lols great as a large group like that.

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    1. Thanks, guys! I like that iris in a big group, too. It's starting to get bare in the center, so I'll have to divide soon.

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  3. Oh, this must make you so happy to back in the PNW.

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  4. That Glumicalyx captured my attention and I was surprised and pleased to see that PlantLust showed it suitable to my 10b zone but then came the buzz-kill statement that it needs regular moisture. Oh well! I also love the Rhododendron 'Nancy Evans' but must accept that SoCal's not the place for that either. Happy GBBD Evan!

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    1. That's a shame. Glumicalyx seems like it would fit well with your other plants, too. I haven't tested its drought tolerance in my own garden. Since I planted it last summer, it was watered regularly until the rains came.

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  5. So many beautiful blooms! That cistus is a wildflower here and I plan to add it to my garden, too. Greetings from Portugal.

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    1. Thank you! It's exciting to hear from people in other countries. If I lived in a slightly warmer climate, I'd fill my garden with Cistus ladanifer and the other resinous species. I love that scent.

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  6. There is a lot to love in your garden but I think I'm most jealous of the Allium siculum. Pretty freaking fabulous.

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    1. Hmm, I just dug up some of that allium today to get it out of the way while I redo the front bed. Should a few bulbs go south to Portland?

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  7. Wonderful collection of Rhododendrons, but I'd expect nothing less from you :-)
    The color of Medusa is out worldly, but "smokey" may be even unusual. Maybe we'll see it next bloom's day? I had the orange Helianthemum for some years. Love the bloom and silvery leafs but what to do when they get large and out of shape? I finally pulled out mine with frustration. Maybe I should just start over.

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    1. Thanks, Chav! Medusa is one of my favorites because of the coral/orange/pink color and the large pendant blooms. It almost looks more like one of the tropical vireya rhododendrons than a hardy one. You'll definitely be seeing Smokey when it blooms. That's why lavenders, heathers, and so many other plants need to be sheared every year or so. Same with helianthemum. Otherwise they get bare in the center. You may be able to cut back an overgrown one hard and have it resprout, but generally once it's gotten to that point it's easier to get a new one.

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  8. Hello!
    I really liked seeing all your varieties of alliums. I think I need more alliums! Happy Bloom Day!

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    1. Hello, Linnae! And thanks for commenting!

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    2. Hello, Linnae! And thanks for commenting!

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