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, 2012

Bloom Day - Maychance

Like last month's Bloom Day, this one finds me with little free time.  However, I can see light at the end of the tunnel.  Two days off per week, kayaking, day trips, vacation time and summer are coming into view.  The little bit of time I have spent in the garden has shown me what a mild winter and recent rains can do.  Things that have languished for years have taken on new vigor, to the point I see some serious editing in my future. Until then let's see what May has to offer.

Will start with a given for May, roses.  This is a little groundcover called 'Sun Runner'.

Rosa 'Sun Runner'

'Hot Cocoa'

Rosa 'Hot Cocoa'

'Red Cascade' is being overrun with a wild passion vine.
Rosa 'Red Cascade'

Another given for May is Confederate or Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides).

Trachelospermum jasminoides

It may be heard to tell from the picture, but this oak is cloaked in the jasmine, one I brought home from work that a customer returned claiming it was dead.  I told her it wasn't dead and planted it out of spite.  The vine is now close to three stories tall and perfumes a good part of the neighborhood.
Trachelospermum jasminoides (2)

I have a different jasmine growing by the front porch, this is a gold version of common jasmine, (Jasminum officinale 'Aureum').

Jasminum officinale 'Aureum'

Competing with the jasmines for nasal attention is Ligustrum.  Personally, I think they stink, but my wife loves the fragrance.  We differ on boxwood too.


One of my favorite May blooms is Allium christophii, Star of Persia.

Allium christophii

The blooms on elephant garlic (Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum) are not as showy, but I still enjoy them.
Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum

My Tradescantia x 'Blue and Gold' shown in April is still going strong.

Tradescantia x 'Blue and Gold'

Ice plant (Delosperma cooperii) has been a great addition to my garden.  It blooms its short little head off and laughs at heat and drought.

Delosperma cooperii

This French hollyhock's days are numbered, as my corner garden is about to be torn up.  They are replacing my neighborhood's 100 year old granite curbing with ADA mandated ramps.  I am sorry, but of all the things this city needs to spend money on, ramps at the end of perfectly good sidewalks are at the top of the list?
Malva sylvestris 'Zebrina'

This spiral ginger (Costus barbatus) is a recent addition to the garden given to me from a friend.  I will either have to dig it up in the fall or say good bye.  It is only hardy to zone 9.
Costus barbatus

This year is the first one in several that I am going to have blooms on Acanthus mollis.
Acanthus mollis

Creeping raspberry (Rubus calycinoides) is also blooming more than in previous years.

Rubus calycinoides

I bought this little Japanese maple (Acer shirasawanum 'Aureum') over 10 years ago, and it was about 15" tall then.  Now it has reached a staggering height of 24".  They are not supposed to like conditions in zone 8, so maybe its slow growth is a form of passive/aggressive behavior.

Acer shirasawanum 'Aureum'

Another plant I don't necessarily grow for the flowers is plume poppy (Macleaya cordata).

Macleaya cordata

We will leave with a hint of Bloom Day future.  This is my first hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla 'Kiyosumi') to bloom, and there will be more to come.

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Kiyosumi'

If you would like to see what other gardeners are offering for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, please visit Carol at May Dreams Garden, after all, this is her month.


  1. Hope that gorgeous French hollyhock can be relocated. If not, I'll drive down and pick it up!

  2. Sorry your sidewalk is getting ripped up ....well, sorry about all your plantings. Hope you save some of the French Hollyhocks....any seeds from last year?
    I really like your yellow foliage jasmine... if I find a place for a vine, it will be in my garden.

  3. I really like that creeping raspberry. And what a nice bunch of onions too! Great stuff, Les. Happy Bloom Day!

  4. Beautiful pictures. Do I see a Tetrapanax at the base of the Oak tree? I havent had much luck with them in my garden here in the UK.

  5. Such beautiful photos, can I ask what kind of camera
    you use? --Robin

  6. Beautiful pictures as always!

    I'm laughing about the ligustrum because I hate the smell too. It permeated the (large) yard several weeks ago. And in our yard they're very invasive.

    I've had Acanthus spinosus bloom before but this is the first year after about 10 years in the ground that A. mollis is blooming here (Petersburg).

  7. Wow. Some great inspiration for May. I don't know if it's the picture or the flower but that little rose looks wonderful. You are lucky to have the jasmine growing like that. I have to punish ours inside each winter and then it takes a month to recover in the springtime. You also had me looking up Alcea zebrina. Looks like it would be worth having.

  8. That customer who returned the jasmine could have been me. Patience is a virtue I have a hard time practicing.

    I also don't like ligustrum or boxwood. Fortunately, my spouse did not object to my getting rid of it.

    Very jealous of your jasmine. I'd like to grow it myself, but seems a little too chancy here in zone 5.

    Great pictures.

  9. Lovely photos, lovely plants, intrigued by the hollyhock, hadn't seen it before. Threw me into a "so many plants, so little time" frenzy.

  10. I can almost smell the roses and jasmine on this post. Happy GBBD, Les, and thanks for the ID on my wild blueberry.

  11. Lynn,
    I dug up one of the French hollyhocks to put back. The others I am not worried about because this plant is somewhat a weed.

    I got a note in the mailbox today from the paving company. They were concerned about some of the plants I did not dig up and wanted to make sure I knew what was about to happen. That was more consideration than I thought they would give.

    I like the raspberry too, especially the foliage which goes kind of burgundy in the winter.


    Yes that is a Tetrapanax at the base of the oak, and I have had no trouble growing it, but have had some trouble keeping it under control.

    I have a Nikon D5000, and I am still trying to figure it out after 3 years.

    I am sure for both of us the flowering has something to do with the extra mild winter.

    I have had the Sunrunner rose for many years. It is not terribly vigorous or florific, but the picture turned out nice. I forgot to put the bot. name on that French hollyhock, but it is Malva sylvestris 'Zebrina'.

    I dislike the ligustrum, but like the boxwood which smells of old history and old Virginia to me. My wife thinks it smells of cat pee and b.o.

    I know that frenzy well, but so little room is of concern for me as well.

    You are quite welcom for the ID.


  12. Hi Les, There is a nice array of flowers in your GBBD post. I like your story of the jasmine vine. I guess you showed her!

  13. Very lush-looking landscape, Les! I have been so busy in the garden and with assorted projects, that I completely forgot Bloom Day. First time I missed since I started blogging in 2008 . . .