Posts Tagged ‘Virginia Bluebells’

Carol of May Dreams Gardens hosts Garden Bloggers Bloom Day on the 15th of every month, giving gardeners around the world an opportunity to show what’s in bloom on their home ground. So let’s get to it! May has been a good month for color in my garden.

Tulips in Containers on the front steps.

The lily flowering tulip ‘West Point’ is now blooming, adding its cheery yellow and elegant shape to ‘Flair’ and other varieties..

Tulip 'West Point'

Tulip ‘West Point’ and ‘Flair’

And the late species tulips are showing off. The orange and white ‘Little Princess’ …

Tulip 'Little Princess'

Tulip ‘Little Princess’

And the blue and cherry red ‘Little Beauty’ …

Tulip 'Little Beauty'

Tulip ‘Little Beauty’

And Tulipa clusiana ‘Cynthia’, with petals colored red on the outside and a rich yellow on the inside.

Tulip 'Cynthia'

Tulip ‘Cynthia’

Tulipa orphanidea flava is a wonderful tulip, really interesting coloring.

Tulipa orphanidea flava

Tulipa orphanidea flava

The grape hyacinths (Muscari armeniacum) are also blooming well. I can’t wait for these to spread more to create wider clumps, but the delay is partly my fault as I keep disturbing the beds to change perennials.

Grape Hyacinths

Grape Hyacinths

This has been an incredible spring for celandine poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum), the delicate yellow flowers blooming profusely over lush blue-green foliage. They are beginning to show more aggressive tendencies, though, I’m going to have to watch these guys more carefully.

Celandine Poppies

Celandine Poppies

The clove currants (Ribes odoratum) in the sidewalk border are blooming. I planted these because they are supposed to have a strong fragrance. The fragrance is in fact very nice, but you have to put your nose right up to the flowers. This is their third spring, maybe when they are more mature … The much more modest Chartreuse flowers of wild currant (Ribes americanum) have also begun bloom.

Clove Currant

Clove Currant

The tiny blue flowers on Nepeta “Kit Kat’ have just started to open. In my garden, the various Nepeta cultivars are essential plants for edging in areas that absorb hot afternoon sun.

Nepeta 'Kit Kat'

Nepeta ‘Kit Kat’ edging the raised front walk/driveway border.

I thought the Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica)  had reached their peak last weekend, but I was wrong. The cool weather has been kind.

Virginia Bluebells

Virginia Bluebells

In the shady back garden, Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium reptans) works well as an edging plant. It also has blue flowers.

Jacob's Ladder

Jacob’s Ladder

False forget-me-not (Brunnera macrophylla) has tiny sky-blue flowers like real forget-me-nots, but this is a reliable perennial.


Brunnera flowers poking up through Allium foliage.

I devoted the last post entirely to old-fashioned bleeding hearts (Lamprocapnos spectabilis). Even so, I have to include one more picture for this post.

Bleeding Heart

Bleeding Heart with Celandine Poppy.

There are quite a few other flowers blooming now: annual stock, violas, and pansies; great merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora), starry solomon’s plume (Smilacina stellata), wild strawberry (Fragaria virginica), and probably a couple of others I can’t think of. Some of these I will include in my foliage follow-up.

In the meantime, happy Garden Blogger Bloom Day to you all!

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The old-fashioned bleeding hearts (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) in my garden are looking very happy this year, the moist cool spring must agree with them. They are bushy and robust, with many long stems lined with dangling pink and white flowers.

Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart

Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart.

The unique shape of the bleeding heart flower certainly suggests the origin the plant’s name, though it is odd that the drop of “blood” is white. However, this common name makes more sense than some others that have been used. For example: lady in a bath, Dutchman’s breeches, and lyre flower. As to lady in a bath – if the white part is the lady, then the name should be lady in a bath upside down. Now that I think of it, lyre flower is a good fit, though not as evocative as bleeding heart.

Note that the taxonomists have been at their mischief again. The botanical name was Dicentra spectabilis until recently, very suitable and appealing if you ask me. How they came up with Lamprocapnos I don’t know, but it is a very ugly genus name for a lovely flower. Lamprocapnos sounds like one of those parasitic eels that attach themselves to fish and suck out their vital juices.

Bleeding Heart with Virginia Bluebells

Bleeding Heart with Virginia Bluebells

Another reason my bleeding hearts may be looking especially nice this year is that they are just another year older. This is a plant that spreads gradually by rhizomes, the clumps becoming more and more impressive in size.

Bleeding hearts like shade and moisture. They are considered ephemeral because they die back after blooming. In my experience, though, bleeding hearts in the right sort of spot will keep their foliage looking fresh until July or August.

Bleeding Heart with False Forget-Me-Not

Bleeding Heart with False Forget-Me-Not

Blue flowers go particularly well with bleeding heart, especially Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) and false forget-me-not (Brunnera macrophyla).  A note about false forget-me-not. This is not to be confused with forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica). False forget-me-not is a longer-lived perennial  with flowers very similar to Myosotis. It also goes under the common name Siberian bugloss. Which would you rather be called? Enough said.

Bleeding Heart with Ostrich Ferns

Bleeding Heart with Ostrich Ferns

Ferns are another excellent companion for old-fashioned bleeding heart.

Do you have bleeding heart in your garden? Is it having a good year?

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This is a very stressful period for some garden bloggers (namely, me). On the one hand, we have had another glorious weekend and I am almost overwhelmed by all the wonderful blooms now returning to the garden, not to mention the new plants being installed.

Tulipa 'Flair'


I want to write posts about all these developments for this blog.  But I cannot spend too much time writing, because spring is moving fast and garden tasks are piling up, especially since I am home only two or three days a week. Moreover, everybody else has so many wonderful blooms in THEIR gardens and they are busy writing posts about it for their blogs, and I must read and maybe comment on those posts … Just thinking about it is exhausting.

'Couleur Cardinal'. This is a Jason picture, please excuse the hubcap.

‘Couleur Cardinal’. This is a Jason picture, please excuse the hubcap.

But enough self-pity. Let’s talk about the new blooms that have emerged just since last week. Well, for starters the container tulips have started to bloom! So far we have ‘Flair’, ‘Bellona’, and ‘Couleur Cardinal’.

The first of my container tulips in bloom. The yellow is 'Bellona'.

The first of my container tulips in bloom. The yellow is ‘Bellona’.

I’m afraid I did lose some of the container tulips, though. This fall I definitely want to plant tulips in containers again. However, I will use only the larger containers and provide them with extra insulation.

There is also another species tulip, Tulipa clusiana ‘Cynthia’.

Tulipa clusiana 'Cynthia'

Tulipa clusiana ‘Cynthia’

Among the native spring flowers, the celandine poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum) are blooming vigorously.

Celandine Poppies

Celandine poppies with Virginia bluebells at lower left.

And the Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are just about reaching their peak.

Virginia Bluebells

Virginia Bluebells

The dangling yellow flowers of merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora) are on display. This native wildflower should be used more in shade gardens, I think. It is interesting and beautiful, if a bit understated. In a location with sufficient moisture, it makes a good groundcover after blooming.



Serviceberry ‘Autumn Brilliance’ is showing off its pure white spring flowers.

Serviceberry 'Autumn Brilliance'

Serviceberry ‘Autumn Brilliance’

False forget-me-not (Brunnera macrophylla), a very useful and lovely non-native spring flower, is also blooming.

Brunnera macrophyla

False Forget-Me-Not

On the foliage front, the fiddleheads of the ostrich ferns (Metteucia struthiopteris) are unfurling.

Ostrich Ferns

Ostrich ferns unfurling

And the wild ginger (Asarum canadensis), a nice native groundcover for shade, has emerged.

Wild Ginger

Wild ginger grows near the gate at the far end of the path. Merrybells grow in the foreground.

Tasks this weekend included:

  • Planting a new bed in the area where I had taken down some bridalwreath shrubs (Spirea vanhouteii). I also settled some more mail order plants into the raised front walk bed. More on these activities in later posts.
  • Getting a start on weeding! Featuring dandelions already blooming, creeping charlie, and other delights.
  • Preparing my little vegetable and herb bed. This entailed setting up the tomato trellises and digging out the rest of the old plant debris. Also, I had to beat back the oregano (Oreganum vulgare), which is bent on turning my entire lot into a oregano plantation. In addition to creating thriving colonies through seeding, the oregano mother ship has a rapidly expanding root mass with the density of 3″ armor plate. I may have bent my shovel trying to slice off pats of it.

Are you having trouble keeping on top of your blog and your garden? And which new blooms are you excited about?

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So apparently the weather gods took note of my last post complaining about our torrential rains and flooding. The weather gods don’t appreciate malcontents.

Yesterday I drove home from downstate. Flooded roads and highways turned my usual four hour drive into an eight hour trek.  When I woke up at home the next morning, the ground was covered with a light blanket of snow.

Snow in April

Snow on April 20th.


I had to get up early and go to my gardening class, and the morning cold had a sharp bite. On the plus side, temperatures in the low 30s do tend to keep me awake. The sun did come out in the afternoon, and the snow melted away.

All these abnormally cold days have slowed the advance of spring, but have not stopped it entirely. The spicebush (Lindera benzoin) is finally blooming.


Spicebush by the back porch.

More people should plant spicebush. It blooms before the forsythia, though the blooms are a lot more subtle. And whereas I think of forsythia as having only one season of interest, spicebush has three. In addition to the yellow spring flowers, spicebush has ornamental red berries starting in late summer and nice golden yellow fall color.



In addition to the spicebush, the very first of the daffodils have begun blooming. I’m afraid I lost track of what variety this is.


Many plants not yet in bloom but are making good progress in that direction. The red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa L.) flower buds are already visible. Actually, they look kind of like little green cauliflowers.

Red elderberry

Red elderberry. See the flower buds? This one blooms much earlier than black elderberry (S. canadensis). 

As are the buds on these Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica).

Virginia Bluebells

Other than bulbs, what are your favorite early spring blooms – and which flower buds make you happiest when they appear?


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A Fine Weekend for Gardening

The sun was shining and the temperature was mostly pleasant. It got all the way up to 69 F (21 C) on Saturday. Today was cooler, in the mid 50s (13 C), but still darn nice. To make the weather even more perfect, we got some rain Saturday night, much needed because the soil was starting to get a bit dry. The clouds had thoughtfully excused themselves by Sunday morning, however. I got through most of my spring cleaning chores, though there are still some things that need doing, mostly in the back garden.

More Spring Blooms

More of the crocus are blooming, most notably Crocus vernus ‘Twilight’.

Crocus vernus 'Twilight'

Crocus vernus ‘Twighlight’

Also, the very first of the Siberian Squill (Scilla sibirica) is blooming. This is an advance guard, with many more to come.

Siberian Squill

Siberian Squill

On the other hand, there is very little sign of the 200 Crocus tommasinianus that I planted last fall. I hope this just means they are tardy making their first appearance, and not that they provided a feast for squirrels. To keep from brooding on this, I can always look at the Forsythia we brought inside two weeks ago,  now cheerfully blooming.

Forced Forsythia stems

Forced Forsythia stems.

Container Tulip Watch

According to Judy’s most recent count, 68 of the 90 tulips planted in containers have sent leaves up through the potting mix. A few look nibbled on or have a bit of frost damage, but generally they look good. The Great Container Tulip Experiment seems headed for success!

Other plants are also coming out of hibernation. You can see the flower buds on this Virginia Bluebell (Mertensia virginica).

Virginia Bluebells

Emerging Virginia Bluebells

And the flower buds on the Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) look just about to burst open.


Spicebush buds

New foliage can also be seen on the Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), Celandine Poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum), and several other perennials.

Coir Pot Report

There has been some discussion recently about Bluestone Perennial’s new practice of shipping their plants in coir pots. These can be planted straight into the ground, pots and all, thus reducing the amount of solid waste. However, there has been some concern that the pots do not degrade, trapping the plant roots inside.

Well, last fall I planted some Woodland Phlox (Phlox divaritica) from Bluestone. Today I had to replant several, because they had been heaved out of the ground. And what I found was this:

Coir Pot

You can see that the roots are coming through the pot.

The roots had worked their way through the coir, even though the coir had not yet broken down completely. So score one for Bluestone and their coir pots!

Did you get to have fun in the garden this weekend? (Note to Rachelle in Wisconsin: please keep away from sharp objects and loaded weapons when you consider this question. Also avoid ledges.)

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