An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

May 15, 2010

Bloom Day - May Gap, Not So Much

This month's Bloom Day snuck up on me. My focus has been more on the fact that as of this week I return to having two days off. I wish I could say that this spring at the garden center has been way too busy to even consider getting my Saturday's back yet, but in spite of what you hear on the news, people are still tightly clutching their purses and wallets. Anyway, the extra free time will be spent between the garden, getting some projects done around the house and spending more time with my family who always seem to suffer when I work six days.

I thought that I might have a hard time finding things to show this month, as so many things bloomed early and all at once. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the bounty. Let's start with a few Roses.

Rosa x 'Betty Boop'

Rosa x 'Betty Boop'

Rosa x 'Pat Austin'

Rosa x 'Pat Austin'

Rosa x 'Caramba'

Rosa x 'Caramba'

There is a lot of purple in the garden now. Iris x 'Impersonator' is always the last of my Iris to bloom, and this particular flower is the last flower on the last stalk.

Iris x 'Impersonator'

Salvia x 'May Night'

Salvia x 'May Night'

Allium christophii (Star of Persia)

Allium christophii

Malva sylvestris 'Zebrina' (French Hollyhock) comes up everywhere. I have it growing in the sidewalk cracks, as well as here in what passes for a lawn in the hell strip.

Malva sylvestris 'Zebrina'

Delosperma cooperi (Hardy Ice Plant)

Delosperma cooperi

Tradescantia x 'Sweet Kate' (Sweet Kate Spiderwort)

Tradescantia x 'Sweet Kate'

Over the winter, half of one of my favorite plants died. I have had this Jerusalem Sage (Phlomis fruticosa) for nearly 10 years, and I hope it recovers to its former self.

Phlomis fruticosa

I took a couple of photos of things not quite yet open. The Hydrangeas are heavily budded and it looks like Penny Mac (Hydrangea macrophylla 'Penny Mac') will be the first to bloom.

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Penny Mac'

Macleaya cordata (Plume Poppy)

Macleaya cordata

In the backyard you have to part the foliage to see the flowers on Rhodea japonica (Sacred Lily) and after doing so you realize it may not be worth the effort.

Rhodea japonica

However, the star of my garden in May requires no such effort to notice. The Confederate or Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) is not only nice to look at, but its aroma permeates the garden entering any open window, perfuming the whole house. My neighbors should thank me.

Trachelospermum jasminoides

If you would like to see what is starring in other people's garden this month, visit Carol at May Dream Gardens for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, an on-line institution.


  1. Les, Hello. I love purples in a garden and after seeing how lovely your blooming garden looks may have to add those deeper colors...I have had trouble capturing the color of the Star of Persia, but it looks just right in your photo. Have a lovely day~gail

  2. Love the irridescence on that iris!

  3. Wow! Les, These are all gorgeous photos of your lovely blooms. I love the rose shots and must say that Plume Poppy photo is stunning! Indeed you do have quite a lot in bloom. So true about folks still needing to watch their spending. Hope you enjoy you extra time with your family.

  4. Hiya Les,

    Good. You need two days off as a gardener.
    Surprising to hear that your punters are keeping their purses shut: here it seems the other way round. Well, judging from ourselves...say no more.
    I am just babbling till the pix unfolds. All those names. Don't recognize any of them. Pat Austin is one of the few tolerable ones. Roses outdoors: still a way off here.
    BTW, after your mini rant last month: I've got scenes. Pretty drab, but you asked for it. Not much colour in them other than green. I am keen to find out what a trachelospermum is, but it refused to show itself. Ah, so that's a phlomis. Very early for the Macleya. Lovely blue of the tradescantia.

  5. You did have a wonderful bounty of blooms this month. Gorgeous! Sorry to hear about your Jerusalem Sage, I'm sure it will bounce back. I think my first Hydrangeas to bloom will be 'Nikko Blue' followed by my unknown lacecap. We had a nice rain here overnight along with some not appreciated lightening & thunder. I was up half the night trying to comfort my dogs. Have a nice weekend, glad you will be getting to spend more time with the family. :)

  6. It's kind of nice to know someone else has the same problem I had, being all surprised by the 15th in the midst of May madness. ;)
    Love the picture of the iris! And the Delosperma - so tempted to get myself one, and you've just made it worse. But where, oh where, to put one!

  7. Oh gosh, I bet 2 days a week off is a very welcome change! Your garden and it's blooms are looking gorgeous...hope you find a little time to enjoy it.

  8. What a stunning garden, lovely shots of the blooms. Two extra days off do not pay many bills, but they sure come in handy if you are a gardener. Have a wonderful weekend.

  9. I love the Allium, and very nice picture of the Ice Plant.

  10. Amazing pics. I love the gaudy fuschia colors and the iris is magical. I especially like the rose pics. Most people take rose pictures of barely open buds or beautifulully full blooms. I love the look when they're starting to go out. Could be I just like knowing that old things are beautiful too.

  11. Really nice job on the pictures. Time to go pro.

  12. I'm with joco; judging by my garden spending the recovery is well underway! But then, the garden is always one place where we spend money even when we are being tight elsewhere. Lovely plants and photos as always, but the winner for me is the plume poppy. Nice composition and fun to see it at this stage.

  13. My kudos to you on remaining a prolific blogger and photographer even while you've been working 6 days and taking care of family! I have a hard time managing and have way more time. Your images just keep getting better! I'm loving that allium (while waiting on my schubertii) and the jasmine. One day we'll have one to share with neighbors.

  14. I love the combination that you have created with the may night and the variegated ??? It is absolutely brilliant.

  15. Nice Les. Twice I tried to grow Malva sylvestris 'Zebrina', but the deer loved it more than I. I also used to have 'Betty Boop', but she had too much blackspot, and it crippled her. I'm glad to see her doing so well in your garden.~~Dee

  16. Looks like you didn't have any problems finding things blooming in your garden. Enjoy your days off!!!

  17. Great pics as usual...I like the combinations of blues and purples.

  18. Your get the creme de la creme at the nursery, don't you? Gorgeous plants.

  19. Amazing color! I especially love that close up of the iris.

  20. I should probably take a page from the "wallet clutchers" book. I have been throwing money around at the nurseries a bit heedlessly this spring.

    However, in my defense, I have been waiting a very long time for spring.

    Christine in Alaska

  21. Those shots are extremely exotic and breathtaking. Your garden is in full bloom. How wonderful it is to be surrounded by all those loveliness.

  22. Gail,
    I think purple must be something we have in common.

    That is one of my favorites.

    I was very pleased with how the Plume Poppy turned out.

    Thanks for being so patient with the photos. I parted with well earned dollars today to get more annuals to carry me through the long summer.

    I am glad we got the rain also. But the overnight storms make sleeping here difficult because of Loretta. She pants, paces, drools, quivers and keeps all of us up in here misery.

    Time sneaks up on me much easier now than it use to.

    The extra day is welcome indeed.

    Thread Gardener,
    Fortunately or unfortunately, I get paid the same whether I work 6 days or 5, so I'd just assume work as little as possible.

    Sweet Bay,
    I love that allium, but can't get it to come back all the time or increase, so I plant more every year.

    Weeping Sore,
    You should be thankful that I spared everyone my fallen petal pictures.

    I'll let you know when that happens.

    If I didn't spend my money on the garden, it would all go to substance abuse or therapy.

    Thanks for the kind comment about the photos. Digital makes it easier.

    The May Night is paired with a variegated Abelia called 'Sunrise'.

    Betty is a favorite of my wife. She does not offer much opinion on the garden, so when she says she likes something I know it to be true.

    Thank you, I intend to enjoy my days.

    I tend to have a lot of purple in my garden.

    I am right there when the trucks come in, and have been known to set aside one or two items.

    If I was a bug, that Iris would be where I'd sleep.

    You have my permission to spend what you need to.

    Thank you very much for your comments, please come back again.