Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – May 2011

Silene dioica 'Ray's Golden Campion' with Viola 'Penny Orchid Frost'

Finally, I get to rejoin the celebration of Bloom Day! It’s been a long time since November, but now, there’s plenty going on and more than enough for a post. I can’t resist taking a quick trip back to the beginning of the month, to revisit some of the beauties that have come and gone since early May, starting with fox’s grape (Fritillaria uva-vulpis):

Fritillaria uva-vulpis

Fritillaria michailovskyi ‘Multiflora’

And more fritillarias: above, F. michailovskyi ‘Multiflora’; below, Persian fritillary (F. persica); and…

Fritillaria persica

…below, a windswept but still stunning yellow crown imperial (F. imperialis).

Fritillaria imperialis

Isopyrum biternatum

Among the earliest perennials were false rue anemone (Isopyrum biternatum) [above] and mukdenia (Mukdenia rossii) [below].

Mukdenia rossii

Paeonia tenuifolia

Some early species peonies too, including fernleaf peony (Paeonia tenuifolia) and what I think is a subspecies of P. officinalis.

Paeonia species

The peonies are just about past now, bringing us up to the perennials at their peak now, starting with ‘Chocolate Soldier’ columbine (Aquilegia viridiflora)…

Aquilegia viridiflora 'Chocolate Soldier'

…and a frilly-flowered seedling from ‘Touchwood Supreme Mix’.

Aquilegia 'Touchwood Supreme Mix' seedling

Euphorbia nicaeensis

Above, Euphorbia nicaeensis just coming into bloom; below, the diminutive dwarf Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum humile), in full bloom at barely 4 inches tall and spreading enthusiastically.

Polygonatum humile

Iris 'Immortality' with Symphytum 'Belsay Gold' seedling

The early irises are starting, too. Above is ‘Immortality’ with a seedling of ‘Belsay Gold’ comfrey (Symphytum); below, orris root iris (Iris ‘Florentina’).

Iris 'Florentina'

Geranium phaeum with Leucojum aestivum 'Gravetye Giant' and Poncirus trifoliata 'Flying Dragon'

A couple of hardy geraniums, including mourning widow (Geranium phaeum) with the last of the ‘Gravetye Giant’ summer snowflake (Leucojum aestivum), and ‘New Hampshire Purple’ bloody cranesbill (Geranium sanguineum) with lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis).

Geranium sanguineum 'New Hampshire Purple' with Alchemilla mollis and Veronica 'Trehane'

Allium 'Gladiator'

Allium season is starting now, with giant ‘Gladiator’ (above and below)…

Allium 'Gladiator'

Some ‘Purple Sensation’ out front:

Allium 'Purple Sensation'

Allium karataviense with Origanum vulgare 'Aureum'

Turkestan onion (Allium karataviense), above and below.

Allium karataviense

And ‘Mount Everest’, just a day or two shy of opening fully:

Allium 'Mount Everest' with Stipa tenuissima

Geranium macrorrhizum with Viburnum opulus 'Aureum'

There’s also lots of yellow, pretty much everywhere. Above is golden European cranberrybush viburnum (Viburnum opulus ‘Aureum’) with bigroot geranium (Geranium macrorrhizum).

Silene dioica 'Ray's Golden Campion' with Iris pallida 'Variegata'

Here’s a new favorite: ‘Ray’s Golden Campion’ (Silene dioica) from Plant World Seeds, above with variegated sweet iris (Iris pallida ‘Variegata’) and below with the annual blue woodruff (Asperula orientalis).

Silene dioica 'Ray's Golden Campion' with Asperula orientalis

Symphytum x uplandicum 'Axminster Gold' with Ajuga reptans 'Valfredda' (Chocolate Chip) and Tulipa 'Queen of Night'

Above, ‘Axminster Gold’ Russian comfrey (Symphytum x uplandicum) with Chocolate Chip ajuga (Ajuga reptans ‘Valfredda’) and ‘Queen of Night’ tulips. And below, the surprisingly late ‘Golden Bells’ (Narcissus bulbocodium) with ‘Angelina’ sedum.

Narcissus bulbocodium 'Golden Bells' with Sedum rupestre 'Angelina'

To finish up, some foliage action:

Veronicastrum virginicum 'Erica' with Silene dioica and Tulipa 'Queen of Night'

Above, ‘Erica’ Culver’s root (Veronicastrum virginicum); below, Allium schubertii coming up through Chocolate Chip ajuga.

Allium schubertii with Ajuga reptans 'Valfredda' (Chocolate Chip]

Fallopia baldschuanica 'Lemon Lace'

Above, ‘Lemon Lace’ silver fleece vine (Fallopia baldschuanica); below ‘Grace Barker’ Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum). (Really, the camera was straight; it’s the stems that are leaning.)

Polygonatum 'Grace Barker'

Syneilesis aconitifolia with Heuchera villosa 'Purpurea'

Above, shredded umbrella plant (Syneilesis aconitifolia); below, variegated sweet iris (Iris pallida ‘Variegata’) with ‘Espresso’ wild geranium (Geranium maculatum) and ‘Sunshine’ red-twig dogwood (Cornus sericea subsp. occidentalis).

Iris pallida 'Vareigata' with Geranium maculatum 'Espresso' and Cornus sericea subsp. occidentalis 'Sunshine'

Deutzia scabra 'Aureovariegata'

Above, ‘Aureovariegata’ rough deutzia (Deutzia scabra); below, variegated wayfaringtree (Viburnum lantana ‘Variegatum’).

Viburnum lantana 'Variegatum'

Cirsium japonicum 'White Frosted'

And last, ‘White Frosted’ Japanese thistle (Cirsium japonicum).

To enjoy more spring garden goodness, visit Carol’s Bloom Day post at May Dreams Gardens, where you’ll find links to other May gardens all over the world. Thanks for stopping by!

33 responses to this post.

  1. Your garden is simply beautiful. Absolutely LOVe the ‘Grace Barker’ Solomon’s seal. WOW!!

    Isn’t that gorgeous? Each stem has different markings. It took a few years to settle in but has spread out nicely over the last two seasons – a bonus from such a heavily variegated plant.
    -Nan

  2. Posted by brenda on May 15, 2011 at 6:20 am

    Love all your blooms! Can’t believe you are so far ahead of us in zone 5. Our peonies won’t start for a couple weeks and yours are already done.

    That shredded umbrella plant is gorgeous! Must find one. and those dwarf daffodils are so cute!

    How is it that you have SUCH a variety of plants? Do you order seeds all the time? Shop mail order nurseries? I am always introduced to something new and desirable in your blogs.

    It’ll be a while yet until the hybrid peonies bloom here, Brenda. These species kinds flower about a month earlier.

    Yep, I grow a lot of stuff from seed (which is why I sometimes don’t know exactly what the plants are), so that’s where most of the weird stuff comes from. Since I started this garden, buying the quantity of plants I need just doesn’t fit my budget. But I do still have some of the cool plants I’d collected when I had my first place.
    -Nan

  3. Your photos are like a breath of fresh spring air. Stunning shots, gorgeous gardens.

    Thanks, Joene. It’s pretty easy to find cheery color this time of year, don’t you think? Happy spring!
    -Nan

  4. Nan, Your plant combinations are beautiful as always. I can’t beleive your peonies are done. Mine haven’t even started yet. The only one in bloom is ‘Coral Fay’. Is that the cultivar in your photo?

    Hi Carolyn! My one hybrid peony isn’t anywhere near ready to bloom; the species come and go much earlier. My unknown one is a remnant of a flurry of peony-seed sowing back in the mid-90s, with species seeds from both HPS/MAG and NARGS. The labels got lost when I moved, unfortunately, so I doubt I’ll ever know what this one is for sure. It does look kind of like pictures of ‘Coral Fay’, though; thanks for the tip.
    -Nan

  5. Nan, a gorgeous, mind-boggling variety of plants. I come here to make up my wish list! Thanks for returning to bloom day!

    As always, Carol, it’s my pleasure to take part in this wonderful event you’ve created for us.
    -Nan

  6. Just gorgeous. I love PA in spring and miss it dearly each passing year. Beautiful photos too, especially the Crown Imperial. It made a more interesting image for you by adding the curves.

    The yellow crown imperials have been surprisingly resilient, putting up with being knocked askew or even partly broken and still righting themselves. I only wish the red ones has flowered too. Maybe next year!
    -Nan

  7. May is beautiful in your garden. Everything looks lush and colorful. Happy Bloom Day!

    Thanks, Marie. I’m sure it’s beautiful at your place too, seeing as how we have the same weather!
    -Nan

  8. Goodness, so much colour! Wonderful fritillaries, and I love that Aquilegia viridiflora. The drift of ‘Purple Sensaton’ looks amazing. Happy GBBD.

    Hi Janet! You picked some of my favorites too. That columbine is *so* subtle – you can hardly even tell it’s flowering unless you kneel before it, and it’s necessary to be at ground level to photograph it. But, it’s worth the effort.
    -Nan

  9. Posted by Megan on May 15, 2011 at 10:51 am

    So many beautiful blooms in action! Your photos are fantastic!

    Thanks so much for visiting, Megan. Happy Bloom Day!
    -Nan

  10. A cornucopia of pleasures. How many on your staff? Happy GBBD.

    Staff of one, with occasional construction help from Mom!
    -Nan

  11. Gorgeous photo’s and blooms!!! Stunning really! Happy GBBD!

    Happy to share the glories of May with my fellow gardeners, Jo. Happy Bloom Day to you too!
    -Nan

  12. Posted by Ruth on May 15, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Hi Nancy,
    Your garden is wonderful and I envy you all the sun. I have a question about the Syneilesis. I’ve grown mine (from seed) and planted out in ’06. It’s in a lot of shade. Keeps surviving and finally put up two stems this year! Is yours in full sun? Part sun? Maybe that’s what mine is missing.
    Many thanks in advance,
    Ruth

    It sounds like yours does need more sun, Ruth. The clump in my photo gets sun from dawn until early afternoon, and the divisions from it planted in full-day sun are even more vigorous. Congrats on getting yours going from seed. I bought mine many years ago and have gotten plenty of pieces from it, but it doesn’t seem to set viable seed.
    -Nan

  13. Posted by mattisalomaki on May 15, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Wow, your garden is ton of filled with stuff blooming…love it. Particularly love that Cirsium japonicum. We have something like that which grows down in Golden Gate Park. Matti

    Welcome, Matti! The idea of deliberately planting a thistle in the garden seems absolutely crazy, but well…it *is* a variegated one.
    -Nan

  14. Lots of extremely unusual colors in your flowers today. I’ve never seen so many fritillaries in one garden before!

    I planted even more last fall, Gayle, but some of them didn’t show up, some did but didn’t bloom, and some bloomed in unphotogenic spots. I sure did enjoy all those that flowered, though.
    -Nan

  15. I love seeing what you do in every season. The fritillaries and onions are wonderful in your garden. The viburnums, dogwoods, deutzia — incredible!

    Thanks, Denise! I don’t really think of this as a spring garden, so the abundance really surprised me this year.
    -Nan

  16. I love seeing your photos, but it’s so dangerous for me to visit your blog–I get too many ideas! :)

    I’ve never seen that chocolate columbine before, by the way. I think I’m in love.

    Ah, it’s dangerous because we have similar tastes in plants, wouldn’t you say? I think the columbine is getting a spotlight in an upcoming Three Neat Plants post. It deserves special attention.
    -Nan

  17. Oh, my, what a color explosion! It’s just fantastic. You know I love magenta & chartreuse combos. I think I’m going to have to get some Fritillaria uva-vulpis, as my daughter is in love with foxes and anything to do with them.

    There sure is a lot of purple/pink/magenta-and-chartreuse action going in this month, MMD.

    Good luck with the Fritillaria ulva-vulpis. I didn’t even know it had a common name until I looked it up for this post. From what I read, it sounds like it’s one of the easier species to succeed with. It’s doing fine here, at least, and it’s not very expensive to buy. It got it from Brent and Becky’s.
    -Nan

  18. Posted by Ilene Sternberg on May 15, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Your photographs are always exquisite!! Kudos! (Of course when you put your name and copyright on them, it’s hard for me to tell people, “Hey, look at my garden! Isn’t it great!” (Be a little more considerate, will ya?

    Sorry ’bout that, Ilene. Stupid blogging program insists on putting those nasty watermarks all over the photos!
    -Nan

  19. I really appreciate how you have mixed textures…so well done. All your blooms are gorgeous, however my favorite is that fritillaria fox’s grape…I stared at it for a few minutes just to take it all in. Happy GBBD Day!

    Kind of you to say, Sage. That’s a very cool little bulb, isn’t it?
    -Nan

  20. Woah. Beautiful pictures. I am especially in love with the Alliums which I have been missing since moving to California and that Silene is really amazing.

    Yeah, but color me jealous of all the cool things you can grow that I can’t. I’m glad to hear that you too like the Silene: it’s a pretty wild combination, that bright yellow and bright pink, but it’s certainly very cheery.
    -Nan

  21. Your gardens and photos are gorgeous. As always, they both inspire me and bum me out a little, knowing how far I am from ever having a garden that looks so good.

    Always happy to inspire, but not so happy to bum you out. Think of it this way: how great would your garden look if it was basically your full-time job?
    -Nan

  22. What a nice collection of Fritillarias…. I also enjoy the Allium karataviense… I allow them to self-seed and the foliage is a nice touch in my gardens. Your gardens are very inviting and I love the variety! Larry

    I’ll be so thrilled if my Allium karataviense self-sow some day. You’re right: the foliage is really splendid.
    -Nan

  23. Posted by garden337 on May 16, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    What lovely gardens you have!! Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos and Bloom Day.

    Thanks for taking the spring tour. Happy Bloom Day!
    -Nan

  24. Posted by Lisa at Greenbow on May 16, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    When I come to your blog I always know I will have a WOW experience. Love all the frits and all of that yellow foliage. I have the common Comfrey but when I see those yellow varities I want to get another one. Actually I want one of each that is shown here. tee hee. Happy GBBD.

    The “yellow” Symphytum grandiflorum and yellow-leaved ‘Belsay Gold’ are both pretty scary spreaders (the first as a creeper and the second as a self-sower), but they’re still very pretty in spring.
    -Nan

  25. Nan, you have so many interesting varieties of plants! I could look at them all night. Your mastery of color combinations is amazing, of course. I can only imagine how busy you are this time of year!

    Thanks so much, Jean. I’m as busy as all other gardeners in our hemisphere, I imagine!
    -Nan

  26. I love your colour combinations, especially all with yellow leaves and also the purple alliums. Which I also have all over the garden. But – your spring seams to have translate to summer and ours have just started. My tulips are just opening and I´m still waiting for several bushes to show there leaves.
    But – it´s the best time of the year now when we have the whole spring and summer in front of us!

    Wasn’t it just six weeks or so ago that your garden was still covered with snow? You sure have a lot to look forward to. Enjoy!
    -Nan

  27. Posted by Kate Patrick on May 17, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Nan, I am new to your blog and am so enjoying getting to know your garden. Your May is my April here in Tennessee… I love all the gold stuff! Lemon Lace fleece vine and the golden cranberry bush along with Ray’s golden campion were favorites. I really liked the red stems of the fleece vine in contrast to the leaves. And then all the dark purple things like the tulips and the culver’s root foliage just make wonderful foils for all the gold. The mysterious columbine viridiflora was awesome! Thanks for sharing!

    Welcome, Kate – super to have you as a reader. If you love colorful leaves, as you obviously do, you’ve come to the right place. Have a great spring!
    -Nan

  28. It’s all so beautiful – such fantastic combinations of color and texture.

    You’re very kind, Ginny. I hope spring is treating you well this year!
    -Nan

  29. I always enjoy your photos as I learn so much from how you use your plants in the different vignettes.

    You do have a lot of blooms…I was merrily reading along and suddenly, I saw the foliage of your veronicastrum! I recently purchased what is supposed to be solidago ‘Fireworks’ from a reputable local nursery, but the foliage of what I bought looks a lot like veronicastrum! I need to go find photos that show the solidago when it is not in bloom!

    I dashed out between storms today, and sure enough, the foliage of ‘Fireworks’ looks more like that of Culver’s root than I remembered. Best of luck with yours: ‘Fireworks’ is amazing in bloom, and pretty good-looking in other seasons too.
    -Nan

  30. Nancy, what a wonderful visit through your garden! You are weeks ahead of us and you are making me so eager for our blooms to start! (Our magnolias are still peaking, lilacs are finally blooming, and azalea blooms are just opening but the peonies are budded, although still weeks away from blooming.)

    Thanks so much for the truly delicious eye candy!

    Cathy in MA

    Thanks for checking in, Cathy. Think of how much fun you have to look forward to yet. And we’re just getting started, really.
    -Nan

  31. As always Nan, you’ve got me on google searching for sellers of all these beauties! is the coloring on that Veronicastrum typical…mine (Fascination and Alba) don’t seem to have that sort of lovely tinged foliage. Love the Golden Fleece Vine…is it very aggressive??? I’ve actually been considering putting some along a new fence. I think that might be the loveliest Syneilesis I’ve ever seen…it looks so happy!

    I’m not surprised that the foliage of ‘Erica’ caught your eye, Scott. Yes, it really is that color – has been since it came up a few weeks ago, and it’ll keep a touch of red even when it turns deep green in a few more weeks. Plus, the flowers are pink: a rather pale pink, but more pink than white. The plant is so handsome that I’d consider it worthwhile even without the flowers.

    The ‘Lemon Lace’ silver fleece vine has been in that spot for about 8 years now and has shown no signs of being aggressive; in fact, I’d hoped it would be stronger, because it has a big arbor to fill.
    -Nan

  32. Posted by Deborah Garrett on May 26, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Dear Nancy:

    I too am trying to purchase more seeds than plants nowadays, however I am having difficulty finding seeds. I have tried Chiltern Seeds, and Plant-World-Seeds, but could you recommend any other sources? Thank you, and truly your gardens are breathtakingly lovely! I so look forward to your posts because they open up my gardening world to so many new ideas that simply would not have occurred to me. Thank you!

    Hi Deborah – A few other seed sources I depend on include Summer Hill Seeds, Pinetree Garden Seeds, and the Seed Exchange of the Hardy Plant Society/Mid-Atlantic Group. It’s worth joining HPS/MAG no matter where you live to have access to the yearly exchange list! This year’s exchange is over now, but you can get an idea of the offerings here: 2010-2011 Seed Exchange Catalog.
    -Nan

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