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, 2014

Bloom Day - May Flowers

     Lately, life has gotten in the way of blogging (as it should be). However, not wanting to miss Bloom Day I ran around yesterday afternoon trying to get some photos of the garden, when what I should have been doing instead was pulling weeds and watering the newly planted.

     My bearded iris were spectacular this year, but most have finished blooming. The one below is a later variety and looks really good coming up through bronze fennel.

     One of my favorite perennials is Amsonia hubrichtii, but I like it more for the foliage than the flowers which are too pale for my taste and remind me of skim milk.
Amsonia hubrichtii

     Behind the Amsonia is another favorite, Phlomis fruiticosa (Jerusalem Sage).
Pholmis fruiticosa

     My rose population has suffered a dramatic decline in recent years. A car took out one, I removed one for non-performance, and another for being overly zealous. 'Betty Boop' and 'Sun Runner' still bloom, but their days may be numbered.
Rosa 'Betty Boop'

Rosa 'Sun Runner'

     One of my favorite spring bulbs is Allium christophii (Star of Persia). More will be added this fall.
Allium christophii (2)

Allium christophii

Allium christophii (1)

Allium christophii with Syrphid Fly

     This winter was hard on many gardens. I completely lost several marginal perennials, some of my shrubs had to be cut to the ground, and my normally evergreen Eucalyptus gunnii turned completely brown. I was ready to ground-prune it, but signs of life have suddenly sprouted from the trunk in the past few days.
Eucalyptus gunnii (2)

Eucalyptus gunnii (1)

     One of the perennials I lost has already been replaced, Cuphea ignea 'David Verity'.
Cuphea ignea 'David Verity'

      Baptisia 'Purple Smoke' was late coming up this year, but better late than never.
Baptisia 'Purple Smoke' (1)

Baptisia 'Purple Smoke' (2)

     In the back garden, Confederate Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) has just started to open, and its sweet perfume is mixing oddly with that of the Voodoo Lily (Amorphophallus konjac). It's like the breaths of heaven and hell all in one.
Trachelospermum jasminoides

Amorphophallus konjac (2)

Amorphophallus konjac (1)

     To see what is blooming in other gardens around the globe, visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens who hosts Garden Bloggers Bloom Day on the 15th of each month.


  1. Wow! You've got some great blooms Les! Betty Boop's days numbered? Say it ain't so! Smelling heaven and hell at the same time - too funny! Glad that your eucalyptus is showing signs of life! Happy GBBD!

  2. I love that iris and what a great combo to pair it with the bronze fennel. I have not seen a sign of that fennel in my garden this spring. Wonder if I lost it. So many of my shrubs and newer trees are all leafing out at the bottom. We're waiting to see what happens higher up, too. After the winter, anything that made it through is doubly appreciated.

  3. Wow, that iris is beautiful. Did you have much die-back on your Jerasalem Sage? Mine is alive but a big chunk of it died during the winter.

  4. Exciting stuff, Les. I like just about everything about amsonia, flowers and leaves, except the fact that it's not really built for zone 10. Maybe I should just try it one of these days. Dalea purpurea has surprised me, and maybe amsonia will too.

  5. Spectacular.
    It is remarkable how much farther ahead in spring your area is compared to Connecticut.

  6. The breaths of heaven and hell simultaneously. Hmm. I always wait a long time before I cut anything back. I have seen a lot of horticultural miracles.

  7. Music reminds people of past events. Every time I see that allium, I think of the Montreal Expo world's fair. It does, after all, resemble the U.S. geodesic dome pavilion. I remember Betty Boop from a previous post and am glad she's still around.

  8. Wow, that Voodoo Lily is fascinating! And I loved the shots of the Allium. I had to chuckle when I read your introduction--it would be fun to have cameras on all the garden bloggers running around their gardens in preparation for Bloom Day. :)

  9. What can I say, that Voodoo lily steals the show. And yet, the Allium is so fantastic. Do the blooms stay as big year after year? (mine seem to get smaller)

  10. Les, I lost all my lavenders, several miniflora roses and the hydrangeas appear to have been killed to the ground. Have never had that happen before even when we had severe cold in MD. At least they are living even though there won't be a great display this year. Love Betty Boop. She looks pretty darn good for an aging old gal.

  11. just Lovely :)
    and do not miss


    it is FUN :)
    The Roseman

  12. That first picture of the blooming iris is a perfect complement to your Smoke Bush. Just love it!