Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day: May, 2014

On the 15th of every month, Carol at May Dreams Gardens hosts Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, which allows garden bloggers around the world to compare what is blooming in their gardens. These pictures were taken on Saturday and Sunday, but they do show that many plants seem to be racing to make up for lost time. We have reached that part of spring where there are masses of bloom in every direction, in response to which I say: hurrah.

Brick path into the back garden.
Brick path into the back garden.

Let’s start in the back garden. From the entrance you can see two of the stars of my garden in May: Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) and celandine poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum).  These are mixed with lots of wild geranium (Geranium maculatum), which is not blooming just yet.


Virginia Bluebell and Celandine Poppy
Virginia Bluebell and Celandine Poppy. The foliage on the poppy, bluish green and deeply indented, is also nice.

This corner of the back garden, set between the garage wall and the back porch, looks like a little flowery meadow at this time of year. The bluebells and poppies are great companion plants. Some people look down on celandine poppies as a weedy wildflower, but I think this is very unfair. Sure, they self-sow enthusiastically, but so do lots of other plants, and their spreading habits can be a virtue in some circumstances – and the seedlings are not hard to pull. And how can you dislike those cheerful yellow flowers? Plus the foliage is quite nice.

Close up of Virginia bluebells.
Close up of Virginia bluebells.

Here’s a close up of the Virginia bluebells. Beautiful, no? I suppose I should warn you at this point that this post is going to run long. I usually try not to use more than 10 photos or so in any one post but I’ve been so flower deprived by the long winter that I have lost almost all restraint.

False forget me not interplanted with Allium 'Purple Sensation'.
False forget-me-not interplanted with Allium ‘Purple Sensation’.

There are lots of false forget-me-not (Brunnera macrophylla) blooming now. Here I am using it as a companion for ‘Purple Sensation’ allium (Allium aflatunense), which should bloom in 1-2 weeks. I’m not sure this is a successful combination because the tall allium somewhat inhibits the Brunnera, but I’ll see how they do over the summer when the allium dies back.

White Corydallis
White Corydallis

Here’s a new purchase from this spring: Corydalis ochroleuca, or white corydallis. I used this to replace the Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra), which the rabbits had treated as the highlight of their private salad bar.

Wild Currant in bloom
Wild Currant in bloom

The back garden is full of wild currant (Ribes americanum), which is blooming now with dangling strands of Chartreuse flowers.

Lenten Rose
Lenten Rose

My new Lenten roses (Helleborus orientalis) continue to bloom sporadically. This is their first spring, I’m sure next year they will put on a pretty good show.

Wood Lily Trillium
Wood Lily Trillium

Moving along, we find these wood lily trilliums (Trillium recurvatum). At least I think that is the right species, these were in the garden when we moved here.


Jacobs Ladder
Jacobs Ladder

Elsewhere, the Jacobs ladder (Polemonium caeruleum and P. reptans) has just started to bloom. I like using this as an edging plant and for underplanting roses.

Serviceberry flowers
Serviceberry flowers

After delaying bloom for weeks, my surviving serviceberries (Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’) opened their flowers and dropped most of their petals during a one day spell of hot weather that left as quickly as it came. Just a few flowers remain, but it looks like we will have lots of berries for the birds in June.

Great merrybells along the east side of the house. Damn, I keep forgetting to move that basketball. I think it has been there since around 2008.
Great merrybells along the east side of the house. Damn, I keep forgetting to move that basketball. I think it has been there since around 2008.

OK, then, let’s head back to the front garden the way we came. You can see that the great merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora) are still blooming. I have patches of the merrybells in all parts of the garden.

Tulipa 'Little Princess'
Tulipa ‘Little Princess’

So I realize I just did a whole post about species tulips, so today all I’m going to do is show you one more picture of ‘Little Princess’, one of the late bloomers from this tribe.

Container tulips line the walk to the front door.
Container tulips line the walk to the front door.

And I intend to do a post on this soon, so I’m not going into a lot of detail regarding my hybrid tulips. I’ll just say that the early season bloomers are done, the mid-season ones are starting to get blowsy, and we are awaiting the late season tulips with eager anticipation. Plus, I will add that the container tulips did pretty well this year.

Tulips and other flowering containers on the front steps.
Tulips and other flowering containers on the front steps.

Between the hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis), stock (Matthiola incana), and sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima), you are met with a seductively sweet mix of fragrances just outside the front door.

Bleeding hearts in the front foundation bed.
Bleeding hearts in the front foundation bed.

I’m really pleased with the foundation bed I planted at the front of the house. The bleeding hearts (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) are looking very robust and are blooming their, well, hearts out.

Ostrich ferns with bleeding hearts.
Ostrich ferns with bleeding hearts.

The ostrich ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris) also seem pretty happy, as do the false forget-me-not and great merrybells. Actually, for some reason in this spot the Virginia bluebells are putting in only a tepid performance.

Grape hyacinths with celandine poppy.
Grape hyacinths with celandine poppy.

Oh, and I have to mention the grape hyacinths (Muscari armeniacum) that are blooming now. Oddly, though, there seem to be fewer this year than last. They make another good companion for the celandine poppy.

Front garden and house, May 15, 2014.
Front garden and house, May 15, 2014.

OK, I’m going to close now with a view of the front of the house. To see more blooms, check out May Dreams Gardens.

64 Comments on “Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day: May, 2014

  1. Wow, all that colour after being so long under snow. It all looks wonderful. Your tulip lined path looks fantastic.. I love that little white Corydalis.

  2. You have a beautiful display of flowers already! If I had to pick a favourite of them, it would be those Virginia Bluebells! Enjoy.

  3. It’s incredible to think all those fabulous plants survived the cold and snow! How lucky you were to already have the trillium. And the tulips are better than ever. Good show!

  4. I think one of the reasons I return to your blog is that you always have something to say. Some blogs are beautiful but kind of dull because all they show is a series of flowers. I can see that in a catalogue. I appreciate seeing your flowers in context: where they are in space and the hints of what they will look like over time. Plus there is some inspiration here. I’d like to give one stretch of the garden over to being like a meadow. If celandine poppy can grow here it might be a good addition. They look so perky alone but they seem to mingle with the blues really well.

    • I should mention that there are no grasses in this “meadow” so it isn’t as “meadowy” as it looks. But the thick mounds of foliage have that feel to them.

      • Grasses are overrated but don’t tell anyone from Texas I said so. haha

  5. You have so much blooming now! How nice for you after such a long and dreary winter. You inspired me to try tulips in containers next year, since I don’t think I’ll have a good spot for them at my new house. Yours look fabulous!

  6. Lovely potted tulips, you have many different varieties, Jason! Your Virginia bluebells are such pretty, I like bright blue color in a garden.

  7. So much goodness here Jason! I need to get some of those poppies as I love their yellow blooms! Looking awesome in every way!

  8. I really am amazed at how quickly things have come on in the garden, it was dormant not so long ago. I loved it all, especially the tulips on the steps, how they brighten everything up!xxx

  9. Mother Nature is quite brilliant, for your plants to have survived the seriously freezing weather and return and look so good, I bet you are thrilled. Your tulips are zingy, I like the colour combination.

  10. I know well the feeling of flower-deprived from our winter here in upstate New York. I pinned your bluebell on my Flower board. I have never tried tulips in containers. Now you have me wondering if I should.

  11. You have so many nice plants. That’s a great showing of wood lily trilliums. I tried Jacob’s Ladder 3 times without success, but seeing yours makes me think it could still be in the cards. Susie

  12. Beautiful! We have some plants blooming at the same time but you must be a week or two ahead of us.

  13. An old joke among gardeners is the bleeding hearts are hemorrhaging. I like your yard, and I really like the idea of potted tulips on the front steps. I’m not sure that I would have thought of that. It’s a great idea that I might steal someday.

  14. Jason your garden is just amazing and it wears its spring colors beautifully…I found 2 of my trees I thought were dead breaking dormancy very late…I hope the other three make it too.

  15. Everything looks so fresh! Except the basketball. I love all the tulips near your front walk. They feel so cheerful. Your corydalis reminds me I need to add that again to the garden. :o)

  16. This is the first time visiting your blog! We are in the same zone so we grow similar plants. What do you say: one of your white corydalis for 100 of my yellow corydalis. Also, I need to get my hands on some great merry bells. My neighbor has them in her woodland garden! I will be back for more eye treats!

  17. Your tournament of tulips in your entryway is just beautiful and welcoming. Blooming has taken over for your Spring. Same here, the gardens have tulips going wild finally.

  18. The Bluebells/Bleeding Hearts combination is great! Your garden looks fabulous, Jason! I know what you mean about being starved for blooms for so long that you just have to celebrate them! I’m amazed by your potted Tulips. I think I might try that next spring (planting them in the fall). I think you mentioned you put them in the garage or a sheltered place during the winter? They’re lovely leading up to the house!

  19. Happy Bloom Day from a midwest neighbor up in MI! Your garden is looking lovely this month. I had a few comments, but all were blown away when I read the word “serviceberry.” Ever since learning this winter how they have multi-season interest and are a buffet for pollinators and birds, I have been obsessing over getting one for the Lot. I am looking at Amelanchier alnifolia “Standing Ovation.” Do you like your serviceberry? Anything I should be aware of before purchasing one? Thank you for sharing your garden!

    • I love my serviceberries but I would recommend you give them winter protection from rabbits who will chew the bark. The only variety I have grown is ‘Autumn Brilliance’.

  20. I would say everything is doing really well and is robustly growing and even blooming. Glad to hear your garden did well in spite of last winter. Do you have acidic soil? I noticed there are many things you can grow which I cannot. Happy Bloom Day.~~Dee

    • Happy bloom day to you, Dee. Actually, our soil is quite alkaline. Which plants were you thinking of as acid-lovers?

  21. Oh these trilliums are just wonderful and how lucky you are that you can provide the right environment for them. The celandine poppy reminds me a little of Welsh poppy – I always love poppies and even if they self-seed they’re never a problem. The ferns and lamprocapnos look spectacular, also your tulip display. Horray spring!

  22. So much going on in your garden, Jason–wow! The stand of trillium is amazing; how lucky you are to have these. I love the bluebells, too; I’ve tried planting them several times with no luck. And I’m going to have to get your tips for planting tulips in containers–do you store them indoors over the winter? I hope you didn’t get the snow that fell on parts of Chicago yesterday!

    • I’m surprised you have trouble with the bluebells, though they do need some shade and prefer moist soil. As for the tulips, I find the best thing is to bury the containers, though I have also stored them in our unheated garage.

  23. What an entrance your tulips make Jason. I’ve been way behind with blogs and can’t believe the difference I see in your garden. Thanks for the wee look around.
    I’m looking for a plant to hide the foliage of those same allium, have tried Aquilegia this year but not doing it for me. We don’t see those plain green brunnera here often but you’ve given me some food for thought. Thank you.

    • It is amazing how fast things have changed. I’m wondering if ferns are the best choice for interplanting with the alliums – or maybe daylilies.

  24. Just found your blog when searching Ribes americanum, which I’m putting in this weekend. Nicely done: both garden and presentation. Love those native plants!

    • Thanks. I think you’ll like the Ribes americanum, very attractive, and the berries ripen over a long period. Then you can watch the robins and cardinals hopping from stem to stem, helping themselves.

  25. I’m glad you overdid it with the pictures, spring is not a time of year to hold back!
    … but Lamprocapnos blooming their hearts out? ugh. awful pun 🙂

  26. Hi Jason, great images for Bloomday, I read this on my iPhone when you posted it meaning to leave acomment when I got home, now realise I didn’t, sorry. Love the tulips by the front steps, they really sparkle in the sun.

  27. You are surrounded with all the colors now! I looked twice if that was a basketball, and when i looked at the caption about it, i laughed. We are really like that sometimes. I love to have coffee in your garden, even with the ball there!

  28. Hi Jason, I missed GBBD again as I am so disorganised so I am glad to share in yours. It seems that the season has finally kicked off in earnest after a late winter and slow start, things should only get bigger, brighter and blousier from now on until autumn.

  29. lovely! I too have a dream garden:-) something I can tend too without spending too much water and less time, I like to get ideas from other gardeners too. thanksfor posting1

  30. lovely! I too have a dream garden:-) something I can tend too without spending too much water and less time, I like to get ideas from other gardeners too. thanksfor posting1

  31. I must second Debra’s comment: it is wonderful how you always show your plants in context, so we can get a sense of how you’ve positioned them. Plenty of plants and combinations to admire in your garden – really lovely!

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