the flowers…that bloom in May

Nectorosecordum siculum

I’ll stick to a few favorites because, well…you know how it is in May…and I know you have many blogs to visit before you sleep. Is it still an Allium? Who can keep up? Nectoroscordum siculum should get you there, if you want to order some.

Buddleja globosa

Buddleja globosa

Iris 'Immortality'

Iris ‘Immortality’

Iris 'Beverly Sills'

Iris ‘Beverly Sills’

Cornus canadensis

Cornus canadensis groundcover

Cornus kousa variegata

variegated Cornus kousa

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is sponsored on the 15th of each month by May Dreams Gardens.

gbbd in a vase on monday


I fell in love with a patch of Muscari macrocarpum ‘Golden Fragrance’ at Joy Creek and quickly planted my own. The fragrance is as subtle as the coloring. I was only willing to pick one, so I needed to find other things to fill in.


These two aperetif glasses struck me as spring-like and just the right size. A few gold chocolate coins left over from Christmas stockings give an idea of scale and pick up the gold of the glasses. Both got a sprig of Stachys ‘Helen Von Stein’ and one stem of Euphorbia wulfenii. I have two kinds of Pulmonaria, both acquired at our bloggers’ swaps. The pale one went into the vase with the Muscari, while the vibrant , darker blue became the focus of the vase on the left.


All of the usual suspects are in my spring line-up, some earlier than usual. I decided to cull my photos and show you only what made it into my vase this Monday. More vases can be found every Monday at Rambling in the Garden and plenty of blooms show up at May Dreams Gardens on the 15th of every month.

gbbd early spring


I salute the pioneers. Eventually, this bed will be awash in ‘Georgia Blue’ Veronica peduncularis, but right now this brave, lone blossom is scouting the territory.


Always the first of the daffys to bloom, this Narcissus ‘Tete a Tete’ is in the vanguard.


The same can be said for a common little woodland violet.


The slugs are merciless when it comes to the primrose blooms.


Means had primroses and pansies for 99cents. I’m thinking maybe these, on longer stems, will be less susceptible to the slime brigade.


Huckleberry flowers are tiny little things, as are the berries that follow…but OH, that wild taste.

Bloom Day’s host, CAROL is waiting for your visit.

gbbd, short & sweet

Hamamelis 'Early Bright'

I bought Hamamelis ‘Early Bright’ last year about this time as a fairly small specimen. I’m surprised and delighted to see it blooming. It is Early and it is Bright. I was told it had fragrance, but have yet to detect any. I suppose if it was brought into the house I might smell it, but it needs to put on more growth before I’ll be comfortable cutting even a snippet.


Winter Jasmine does have fragrance…

Jasminum nudiflorum

But though the plant is sizable, the flowers are sparse. There are many buds, but they tend to open slowly over a long period of time.


I have complained frequently about the frostbite on Mahonia ‘Arthur Menzies’. It was easy to put mittens on the tight buds prior to our first cold snap, but they had bloomed out sufficiently to make it impossible the second time around. You may be able to see the blackened tips on the outermost blossoms. Those that were more protected, growing more toward the center of the plant, fared better. Arthur, I fear, will never be as show-offy as his cousin ‘Charity’.

Cryptomeria japonica 'Sekkan Sugi'

Once you start wondering about something, the answer is sure to reveal itself in other blogs, even if you don’t take the trouble to put the word out. The little bud-like doohickeys on the tips of Cryptomeria japonica ‘Sekkan Sugi’ are flowers. Pretty cute, if you ask me.

Aloe 'Carmine'

Coming indoors, you can see proof that my Aloes bloom reliably, sometimes more than once a year. They are pretty puny, nothing like the magnificent blooms you will see if you follow the blog Piece of Eden. Still, they make me happy, and I’ll take what I can get without moving to a climate at odds with my webfoot ways.

Don’t forget to check in with May Dreams Gardens to see January’s blooms world-wide.

bloom day in a vase on monday


I set out expecting to fill a vase with evergreens, but was surprised to find Viburnum tinus ‘Robustum’ sporting buds and even a random opened blossom or three.


Often, I will go on a foraging expedition and let the materials I find dictate the container. This time I had this little glass pitcher in mind all along. It prompted me to cut just a few short stems.


The intention was to feature the stiff bristly cuttings of Thunderhead pine, but the surprise Viburnum, with its waxy leaves, changed all that. Two sprigs became the focus, with the pine taking a supporting role. One cutting of cedar provides an additional texture and a horizontal element.


When working with a vase like this, I like to consider the stems as much as what happens topside. Here, the part of the cedar cutting below the water line is an important element. Before you hop over to Rambling in the Garden to see what Cathy and friends have found to put in their vases, let me show you a few more things for Bloom Day, sponsored by Carol.


Tis the Season, after all, so I indulged in this poinsettia found at the one-stop shopping center. Poinsettias have a habit of hanging around for a very long time, so I’m thinking this peachy colored one will feel less like leftovers as yuletide segues into springtime. R simply can NOT say goodbye to any plant that still has a breath of life in it.

Panicum ;Heavy Metal'

Panicum ‘Heavy Metal’ is another contender for the gold medal for endurance. The way the droplets of rain collect on its fading inflorescences gives it a holiday costume.


Let’s not forget the blooms of the future. It almost seems like the new buds on the Ribes pushed the leaves out of the way so they could get started.


Same story with the Forsythia. As soon as all the holiday hubbub is over, branches of these early spring bloomers will be cut and forced into bloom indoors. We’re such an impatient lot, aren’t we?

gbbd: blooms? what blooms?

mahonia 'Arthur Menzies'

Right on schedule, the Arctic blast came along to foil the plans of Mahonia ‘Arthur Menzies’ to bloom.


Do you think mittens (well, actually sox) can protect them enough to enable the showy display they had in mind?

I would pout if I were thwarted year after year, but Arthur continues to thrive. I wish I were that even-tempered.

Miscanthus 'Morning Light'

Many of the grasses have been decimated by high winds, but Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’ is blooming to beat the band.

Panicum 'Heavy Metal'

And Panicum ‘Heavy Metal’ shows off against what remains of the red foliage and stems of Euphorbia ‘Fire Charm’

Euonymous europaens

This is a first for me, and more exciting than this lonely little thing would seem to merit. After a number of years, the Euonymous europaens has finally deigned to produce a single flower (fruit?). Can this be a harbinger of greater things to come?

Rosa rugosa 'Buffalo Gals'

And in the realm of firsts: this big fat hip on Rosa rugosa ‘Buffalo Gals’ put in an appearance.


Moving indoors, the Cyclamen that bloomed all summer outside hasn’t missed a beat. It gets interesting when the weather turns and blooms are further and farther between. Why not check out May Dreams Gardens to see what others were able to come up with?

October Bloom Day: winding down


The days of bountiful bloom are past, but looking around with blooms in mind, a surprising number caught my eye. Nicotiana sylvestris fell prey to nibbling deer as it was just getting ready to bloom. I was irked, but the plant reacted by branching out and producing more flowers. Now it scents the evening air with its pristine white, dangling blossoms. I will let this go to seed in hopes of volunteers next year.


One of my favorite late season bloomers is Anemone ‘Honorine de Jobert’. Known for its aggressive ways, I am more than happy to see it increasing in number year by year. As the petals fall, they leave behind amusing balls at the top of long stems.


Staying with whites for a while, here’s another one considered invasive by some but welcome here: Queen Anne’s Lace, or Daucus carrota.

Aster 'Monte Casino White'

Aster ‘Monte Casino White’

I had an Aster that looked just like this for many years until it got shaded out. I was happy to find Aster ‘Monte Casino White’ recently at Joy Creek. It was even on sale.


Seven Sons, so called because each flowering stem has one central floret surrounded by six more, still has flowers coming on (happy bees) while older blooms are starting to leave behind the rusty colored calyxes this tree is known for.

Coreopsis 'Cruizin' Broad Street'

This pretty little Coreopsis ‘Cruizin’ Broad St’ from Jockey Hill came with some new information: shear after the first flush of bloom and it will look like this later on. I will apply this principle to ‘Moonbeam’ next year. It has been putting out the occasional flower amidst a lot of developing seedheads.

Asclepias 'Red'

This pretty ‘Red’ milkweed may not be hardy but it is producing seed. I definitely want more of this.


All of the surviving Dahlias will continue to flower until the first hard frost.

Persicaria 'Lance Corporal'

The tiny little red flowers dotting the wand-like stems of Persicaria ‘Lance Corporal’ are hard to photograph, but when they catch the light just right it is a magical scene.

Liriope is here for its grassy presence edging borders but late in the season these shy lavender flowers are a nice bonus.

Chasmanthium latifolium

Are these considered flowers? Whatever they are, the grassy leaves of Chasmanthium latifolium take on new life crowned with these oat-like whatevers.

Carpinus japonica

The flowers on the Hornbeam, Carpinus japonica, look like hops.

Hydrangea 'Limelight'

All of the Hydrangea blossoms are fading to the dusky colors that make them look like tintypes. This one is ‘Limelight’.

Rosa 'Dortmund'

At the same time that Rosa ‘Dortmund’ is concentrating on her hips, she can’t resist throwing out a last flower (the last rose of summer?). A few other lingering blooms are scattered about, but here I’ll pass you on to May Dreams Gardens to check out the world’s garden doings.

august bloom day

Romneya coulterii

August is a floriferous month around here, so I’ll get right to it with Romneya coulterii for starters.

Acanthus spinosa

Acanthus spinosa is past its prime, but holds on for a long, long time.

Acanthus mollis

Acanthus mollis comes on later, with a taller, slenderer, whiter blossom.

Crocosmia ‘Golden Fleece’

Crocosmia ‘Golden Fleece’

Crocosmia pottsii ‘Culaean Pink’

Crocosmia pottsii ‘Culzean Pink’

Dicliptera suberecta

Dicliptera suberecta, a recent purchase from Xera.

Mimulus ‘Robin’

From Dancing Oaks at the Fling, comes Mimulus ‘Robin’.

Campsis x tagliabuena ‘Madame Galen’

Finally beginning to make its presence known along the fence line is Campsis x tagliabuena ‘Madame Galen’. That’s Joe Pye Weed in the background.

Campsis close-up

Here’s Madame, posing for a close-up.

Lysimachia clethroides

I have big patches of Gooseneck Loosestrife, or Lysimachia clethroides. It always makes me smile.The big leaf in the foreground is Acanthus mollis.

Anemone ‘Honorine de Jobert’

I love Anemone ‘Honorine de Jobert’, so I don’t mind that she wants to take over the world. honor0161.jpg

See why I like her?

Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon is beyond the reach of any hose, but seems to mind not at all.

Stachys ‘Helen Von Stein’

Strictly for the bees, who adore Stachys ‘Helen Von Styne’ .

Platycodon and Hydrangea ‘Preziosa’

Balloon flowers earn their common name with the swelling buds (cute, no?). They share a front bed with Hydrangea ‘Preziosa’.

Hydrangea ‘Limelight’

That same front bed is dominated by Hydrangea ‘Limelight’, which grew much larger than I had anticipated.

‘Casa Blanca’ Oriental lily

The very last ‘Casa Blanca’ Oriental lily hung around just long enough to make it into Bloom Day.

Solidago ‘Fireworks’

At the other end of the spectrum, I’m squeezing in Solidago ‘Fireworks’ even though it is still in tight bud. I’m guessing it will be all bloomed out by September 15. Besides, I like it best at this stage.

You know the drill: Carol at May Dreams Gardens will welcome you, as always. My link doesn’t seem to be working, but go to: to join the fun.

gbbd post-fling post


I’m only part way through the photos from the Portland Fling, so not all of the gardens will be represented here. There were so many jaw-dropping blooms on the tour that I can’t resist featuring a few of them for this month’s Bloom Day. The Clematis pictured above was seen at Joy Creek on the first day out and about.


Wouldn’t you know that Danger Garden would greet the big event with something seldom seen but not soon forgotten.


Scott, of Rhone Street Gardens is our go-to guy for grasses, so a visit to his garden presented the challenge of capturing their elusive beauty: something only Scott is actually capable of doing.


Scott is also partial to lilies. This happens to be high season for lilies, so we were treated to many of them over the weekend.


Some were gigantic (note the roofline) and heavily scented, as these in the Old Germantown Gardens.


And these beauties in the Ernst Garden.


Day lilies were having their day, here again in Old Germantown Gardens.

lavender at Westwind

At the Westwind Farm Studio, the first thing you see is a sprawling field of lavender


followed by large blocks of color created by mass plantings.


McMenamin’s Kennedy School is surrounded by deep borders packed with interesting plants. This Phygelius was catching the afternoon light.


As was a single, pristine Magnolia blossom.


In the Fuller Garden, a dainty Fuchsia’s quiet presence in the shade drew me in.


The garden of JJ DeSousa was all about drama and staging. She used a lot of these flaming red begonias to reinforce her color scheme.


Crocosmias are coming into their own about now. In the Chickadee Gardens, they add a bright note to the front border.

It was fun to take a break from my own garden to wallow in the beauty wrought by others’ efforts. Thanks for coming along. Many thanks to Carol, of May Dreams Gardens for hosting Boom Day each month.

every day is bloom day in june

We all klnow what June is like, so I’ll limit myself by showing you only the photos that turned out pretty good. Which means these are not necessarily the best things blooming now, but, well, you know what I mean.


With its fluffy flowers just barely catching the light and leaves standing out against a background of Creeping Charlie, my only Astilbe made the cut.

Lecesteria formosa

A passalong plant, Lecesteria formosa is just beginning to bloom. These will later turn to dangling pagodas of purple fruit. Later still, it will make sure to keep the chain of passalongs fueled with new starts that I will dig up and share.

Rosa rugosa ‘Buffalo Gals’

The fence line is currently smothered in the blossoms of Rosa rugosa ‘Buffalo Gals’.See those buds? This will keep blooming for a long long time.


 This little Geum, another passalong, is nearly smothered by its neighbors. As you may have guessed by now, I like the look of a single blossom surrounded by foliage.

Lychnis coronaria

I’m trying to add just a few spots of color to the foliage-centric Delusional Drive. Lychnis coronaria does just that, and the silvery foliage picks up the theme established by Stachys ‘Helen Von Styne’. I tolerate Helen’s bloom stalks elsewhere because the bees love them, but here I will cut them off.

white iris

Nearby, the last iris to bloom is this NOID white one.

bleeding heart

It’s brethren long gone, one last little bleeding heart peeks through foliage (its own and that of Anemone ‘Honorine de Jobert’. Much as I like to use Latin names, “they” have changed so many of late that I’m resorting to the old, highly descriptive ‘Bleeding Heart’.

NOID Verbascum

I’ll leave you with a NOID Verbascum and a suggestion that you visit our host Carol of May Dreams Gardens to join in the fun.