This month you can really see my preference for flowers in the red/orange and blue/purple ranges, along with a smattering of white. Plants in bloom but not pictured include Trientalis latifolia, Tiarella trifoliata, Renanetia Sunrise, Ascofinetia Moonlight Fireflies, Begonia 'Starry Night', Begonia 'Old Blue', Begonia 'Moonlit Snow', Hoya carnosa, Phalaenopsis Rong Guan Mary, Leptotes bicolor, Hemerocallis flava, Gaultheria mucronata, Rhododendron 'Fastuosum Flore Pleno', Bletilla striata, Amsonia, Pelargonium 'Vancouver Centennial', and Heliotropum arborescens 'Fragrant Delight'.
This variegated clivia was a given to me by Sean Hogan last year in exchange for some assorted seedlings. There are 25 flowers in that umbel! Wow!
Mitraria coccinea is an African violet relative reportedly hardy to 10F. The tubular orange flowers have a very unusual texture on the outside, like scales or clumped fuzz.
Glumicalyx goseloides continues to pump out masses of white tubes with reflexed lobes at the ends, revealing the orange interiors. I tried taking cuttings earlier, but lost all but one to mold. I should have taken them into work where I had a mist bench, instead of using a plastic bag over a pot. Luckily, I've checked under its skirts and the older stems are rooting!
Vancouveria hexandra, or inside-out flower, is blooming in the woods. This is one of my favorite natives.
Rhododendron 'Medusa' just will not give up! These flowers are about half the size of the earlier blooms, but it still has a handful of flowers yet to open. Given that it also put out a few blooms whenever there was a warm spell this winter, this is a very long-blooming rhododendron!
Geranium 'Dark Reiter' is loaded with buds this year. I'm actually a bit conflicted about this because, though I like the purple-blue flowers, what I really want is more of the purple foliage.
Salvia nemorosa 'East Friesland' was almost on the docket for removal from the driveway island because they are yet another deciduous plant that leaves a hole in the winter. Seeing it in bloom again with the orange heather and variegated purple moor grass weakened me. The salvia are relatively narrow and upright, and I think I've found a way to reduce the holes left by all the deciduous plants in this bed anyway, so the they can stay.
One of two surviving Allium caeruleum in the driveway bed. I don't know if the soil is too heavy or if this bed gets too much summer water (or both, or neither) but this allium has been difficult to keep around. It's a shame, because it's my favorite. The fly in the photo below seems to agree.
Allium christophii, on the other hand, has done very well, even reseeding slightly to scatter itself among the other plants. It's so hard to match that naturally-sown look. Stipa gigantea is also self-sown from the original plants which were severely stressed before they were even planted and died after a harsh winter. The seedlings have done quite well, though. I'm hoping to get more this year so I can plant them in other areas of the garden.
The last red poppy flower made it just in time for bloom day. The hot weather really made these go fast. While the flowers are spectacular, they are short-lived. The leaves also look terrible right now. I'm really not sure what I'm going to do with this poppy, but it won't be staying in the driveway island.
One of the seedling Penstemon serrulatus I transplanted to the driveway island this spring is blooming! In cooler springs, the blooms can be almost completely dark blue. In hot weather like we've had this year the blue is restricted to a touch on the lips.
Surprisingly I have quite a few Iris tenax still blooming sporadically around Stump St. Helens.
Alyssum spinosum is almost finished blooming. Soon enough, those green seed pods will dry to a shining gold and spring open to fling seeds about. I'm hoping to catch a few before they fly away so I can try germinating them. I get a few volunteers, but would love more. The silver foliage and gold seed capsules fit perfectly into my color scheme for the driveway island and along the front of the house. I even discovered that the flowers pair surprisingly well with the oranges of other plants like Carex testacea. Though pink, it's an unusual shade that is very warm, almost like a really pale salmon.
I can't remember the last time Hutchinsia alpina wasn't blooming. I should just add it to the list of "fake" plants like Phalaenopsis Rong Guan Mary.
Montia parvifolia is scattered throughout the bed surrounding Stump St. Helens, though it favors the shadier side. This little native makes a wonderful ground cover for moist to fairly dry areas in morning sun to shade. It won't smother anything, but it does fill in around other plants and make it slightly harder for weed seeds to pop up.
I know I have the label for this Kalmia latifolia somewhere, but I can't remember the name at the moment.
A rather out-of-season primrose blooms under the edge of the Hakonechloa macra 'All Gold'.
While Saxifraga stonlonifera fills the area next to it with fairy-like white blooms.
Epimedium wushanense is gearing up for round two of blooms, and this year it looks like there will even be a round three!
Gaultheria x wisleyensis 'Ruby' has one cluster of pearly white blooms. I hope I get berries this year.
This inherited ruffled purple rhododendron is one of the last to bloom. This is a rooted branch of the main plant, which is growing in much harsher, sunnier conditions. The blooms of this plant in the shade have, of course, lasted much longer and better. Go figure.
The orange lilies we inherited with the house are finally going to bloom again this year, and now we don't have to worry about deer eating the buds before they open! A nearly-botched rescue attempt saw these lilies move from the west side of the house to the south end, and it's taken them a long time to recover. (Yes, that was just a little bit of parent shaming.)
Lobelia laxiflora var. angustifolia didn't miss a beat from getting moved last summer.
The first of my kniphofia has been blooming for a couple weeks now. Two more are sending up bloom stalks. For one of them, I think it will be a first time blooming. I really do need to move all of my kniphofia from the west side of the house. They just don't like growing where the sun doesn't start hitting until noon.
English lavender is blooming happily, despite being moved a couple weeks ago. I should have kept track of which cultivars I had. I prefer this one, with bluer flowers and grayer leaves, to the others that are more purple and greener, respectively.
This is my first time seeing Iris 'Black Gamecock' bloom. Like the variegated Japanese iris above, it really should be growing in a wetter spot, or rather a spot that has more water in summer, as this spot is plenty wet in winter.
The last few blooms of Penstemon cardwellii lasted just long enough to include in this post. Now that the deer aren't around to stomp on the brittle stems or chomp on the new growth, I can propagate my native penstemons and spread them around with abandon. I love their big blooms and attractive evergreen foliage.
And finally, Daphne x transatlantica 'Blafra' (Eternal Fragrance) is loaded with another wave of intensely fragrant blooms. When the wind picks up the scent, it can be detected from 20 feet away. Though you can't tell from this photo, this plant has doubled or tripled in size since I planted it last spring. I may have to start pruning it much sooner than I had planned.