Posted on 12 Comments

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – May 2021

Tiarella cordifolia, Lathyrus vernus 'Filifolius', and Barnhaven Polyanthus primroses at Hayefield in early May [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

Welcome to May at Hayefield, friends! I still have a long way to go in making the most of spring plants here, but as seedlings started years ago are reaching flowering size, I’m gradually making progress. Let’s take a bit of a walkaround to see what’s popping.

At this time of year, the indoor action is starting to wind down, but it’s been a tremendous seed-starting season. I treated myself to a “grow tent” setup a few months ago and have been thrilled with it. It fit perfectly over my 4-shelf Origami folding shelf rack, which was an unexpected bonus.

Seedlings in grow tent over Origami shelves [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

The enhanced brightness from the reflective interior produced very stocky seedlings, and the zippered door helped to keep them very warm too. Once I had more than one light fixture turned on, I turned off the heat mats and it still got up to nearly 80°F on the top shelf. That turned out to be too warm for some seeds, actually, which I never had a problem with before. I ended up moving those pots to the middle or bottom shelf, where the temperature was more like 65° to 70°.

Frame over seedlings in greenhouse [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

The tent came with a bunch of interlocking pipes meant to be assembled into a frame hold it up, but as I didn’t need them, I repurposed them into a frame for the seedlings in my unheated greenhouse. On chilly nights, I draped a blanket over the frame to give the seedlings some extra protection. I recently reconfigured the pieces into a smaller frame to drape with row cover over one of my nursery beds.

The Seed Frm at Hayefield [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

Over the last year, I’ve put a lot of work into what was formerly my vegetable garden and is currently my “seed farm.” Now that I grow and collect well over 300 kinds of seeds for sale, I’ve had to become a lot more organized to keep track of when and where everything is planted, and growing as many things as possible in one area is making that more manageable. I’m very excited about what will be happening in this area as the growing season progresses. But right now, I’m enjoying the rest of the garden.

It’s a bit early for most annuals, but there are two lovely ones flowering now.

Collinsia verna [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

Blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia verna), above, native to parts of eastern and central North America, is considered a “winter annual,” because it drops its seed in summer, germinates in fall, overwinters as small seedlings, and flowers in spring. Its charm is immediately evident.

Streptanthus farnsworthianus [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

Farnsworth’s jewel flower (Streptanthus farnsworthianus), above, native to a small part of California, looks pretty cool up close, but the flowers are actually very small. Its key feature is the bracts behind the blooms, which haven’t yet colored up.

Mostly, its perennials and woody plants that are showing off right now. Over the last few years, I’ve been growing spring vetchling (Lathyrus vernus) from seed, and the seedlings are starting to fill out and bloom.

Lathyrus vernus [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

Above is the typical species form; below is a softer pink, usually known as ‘Alboroseus’ or ‘Albo-roseus’.

Lathyrus vernus 'Alboroseus' [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

I also have a narrow-leaved form from seed acquired as ‘Filicifolius’, though it is usually known as ‘Filifolius’ or ‘Gracilis’.

The foliage width of the seedlings is variable—sometimes almost needle-like—but usually much more slender than the leaflets of the species. The flowers start out magenta-purple and age to blue before dropping.

While we’re here, let’s enjoy the primroses too. Several years ago, a generous fellow gardener shared several packets of polyanthus seed that she imported from Barnhaven Primroses in France, and they are now coming into their full glory. Below is the full view of the plant you can see just a bit of above, from the Harvest Yellows Group.

Primula Barnhaven Polyanthus Harvest Yellows Group [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

Primula Barnhaven Polyanthus Chartreuse Group

Above is one from the Chartreuse Group; below are two from the Striped Victorians Group.

Primula Barnhaven Striped Victorians Group

Some more pretty spring blues in the garden include…

Sisyrinchium angustifolium [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

…a self-sown blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium), above; a woodland forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica), below…

Myosotis sylvatica [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

…and dwarf comfrey (Symphytum grandiflorum), below, which was pale yellow to creamy white for many years…

Symphytum grandiflorum [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

Symphytum grandiflorum in blue [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

…but has produced some nice blue seedlings as well.

Symphytum grandiflorum in blue [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

Camassia quamash [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

Common camas (Camassia quamash) is always good for spring blue. And for purples…well, the violets have really outdone themselves this year.

Viola sororia, I think [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

There were so many that I had a go at making violet syrup.

Preparing violet flowers for making syrup [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

I can tell you from experience that it takes around 400 violet flowers to end up with about a cup of petals, once you remove the green parts. The result was very pretty and definitely violet (once I added a few drops of lemon juice).

Violet syrup [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

Anyway, back to the garden. There are lots of elegant whites now too, such as …

Viburnum plicatum [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

…doublefile viburnum (Viburnum plicatum), above; red chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia), below…

Aronia arbutifolia [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

Abelia mosanensis [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

…fragrant abelia (Abelia mosanensis), above; snowy barrenwort (Epimedium × youngianum ‘Niveum’), below…

Epimedium x youngianum 'Niveum' [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

Amsonia hubrichtii white form [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

…a white form of Arkansas bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii), above, and cruel plant (Cynanchum [or Vincetoxicum] ascyrifolium), below, just coming into bloom.

Cynanchum ascyrifolium [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

The main daffodil (Narcissus) season has been over for several weeks, but ‘Actaea’ poeticus daffodil opened just about a week ago and is still looking fresh, thanks to the cool weather.

Narcissus 'Actaea' [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

Pink is always a springy color, as in…

Glandularia canadensis [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

…rose verbena (Glandularia [Verbena] canadensis), which has been flowering for over three weeks already), above; ‘Espresso’ wild geranium (Geranium maculatum), below…

Geranium maculatum 'Espresso' [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

Geum triflorum [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

…the sepals of prairie smoke (Geum triflorum), above; the blooms and buds of robin’s plantain (Erigeron pulchellus), below…

Erigeron pulchellus [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

…and the flowers of ‘Ray’s Golden Campion’ red campion (Silene dioica), below, which has the bonus of bright yellow leaves.

Silene dioica 'Ray's Golden' [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

Speaking of yellows, there is…

Packera aurea [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

…our native golden ragwort (Packera aurea), above, and the decidedly non-native dyer’s woad (Isatis tinctoria), below.

Isatis tinctoria [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

Euphorbia palustris [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

Above is marsh spurge (Euphorbia palustris), just one of several spurges that show off this time of year. Spring is also prime time for various corydalis, including…

Pseudofumaria lutea [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

…yellow corydalis (Pseudofumaria lutea), above, and Japanese fernleaf corydalis (C. heterocarpa), below.

Corydalis heterocarpa [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

Silene virginica [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

Red isn’t a typical spring color, other than from tulips, but the fire pink (Silene virginica)—above—is really outdoing itself right now. While the species peony (Paeonia tenuifolia, possibly, but seed-grown with lost label) clumps aren’t particularly floriferous, their big, bold blooms are certainly hard to miss.

Paeonia species [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

Hand-pollinating Asimina triloba flower [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

The red flowers of pawpaw (Asimina triloba) are just about finished, but after doing over a dozen cross-pollination sessions while they were open, the generous fruit set is making a harvest look probable in the fall.

Asimina triloba developing fruits [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

The green-and-blooms of chocolate solider columbine (Aquilegia viridiflora) aren’t particularly showy, but they are worth kneeling for to get a closer look.

Aquilegia viridiflora [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

The garden is also filled with lots of colorful foliage right now. Just a few highlights include…

Penstemon digitalis 'Gold Foil' [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

…’Gold Foil’ foxglove penstemon (Penstemon digitalis), above; ‘Golden Jubilee’ anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), below…

Agastache foeniculum 'Golden Jubilee' [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

Anthriscus sylvestris 'Golden Fleece' [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

…’Golden Fleece’ cow parsely (Anthriscus sylvestris), above; ‘Little Honey’ oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia), below…

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Little Honey' [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

Maackia amurensis [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

…the silvery new foliage of Amur maackia (Maackia amurensis), above; the speckled glory of ‘Takeda Nishiki’ Japanese clethra (Clethra barbinervis), below…

Clethra barbinervis 'Takeda Nishiki' [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

Gillenia trifoliata [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

…red-tinged Bowman’s root (Gillenia trifoliata) shoots, above, and red-veined leaves on this Cardiocrinum cordatum

Cardiocrinum cordatum [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

Astilbe 'Chocolate Shogun' [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

…’Chocolate Shogun’ astilbe, above; and below, one of two deliciously dark seedlings from the last batch of American filbert (Corylus americana) I started from seed a couple years ago.

Corylus americana seedling with purple foliage [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

To finish, a few combinations I quite like.

Spring combination at Hayefield [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

Above, golden ragwort (Packera aurea) coming up through Japanese painted fern (Anisocampium [Athyrium] niponicum var. pictum).

Below, red campion (Silene dioica) and ‘Espresso’ wild geranium (Geranium maculatum) in front of ‘Mostly Ghostly’ hosta (Hosta).

Geranium maculatum 'Espresso' and Silene dioica [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

Myosotis sylvatica with Filipendula ulmaria 'Aurea'

Above. woodland forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica) with golden meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria ‘Aurea).

And below, shredded umbrella plant (Syneilesis aconitifolia) with variegated Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum odoratum var. plurifolium ‘Variegatum’) and hybrid Lenten rose (Helleborus x hybridus).

Syneilesis aconitifolia with Polygonatum odoratum var. plurifolium 'Variegatum' and Helleborus x hybridus [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

I see that new things are already coming into flower as I write this, so there will be many more blooms to enjoy by next month’s Bloom Day. For now, I have lots of plants to get into the ground, and then lots of watering to do (ugh), and even (already) seeds to collect. I wish you all a lovely spring in your own garden, with rain if you need it or sunshine if you’re tired of clouds. See you next month!

Eranthis hyemalis in seed [©Nancy J. Ondra/]

Posted on 12 Comments

12 thoughts on “Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – May 2021

  1. Nan, your garden is oh so lovely! What a treat to see all those plants in bloom. Late cold snaps have not been kind to some of my plants, Japanese maples and woodland hydrangeas here in the mountains, but i am hopeful that all will recover.
    I’m looking forward to your next bloom day installment and wishing you a beautiful Spring and Summer.

    Thank you so much, Jean. You’ll notice there aren’t too many garden shots, just closeups, because there is still much weeding to do. We’ve escaped late frosts but the nights have been consistently cool, and very dry overall. It’s always something. Well, if gardening were easy, it would be rather boring!

  2. Such an inspiration Thanks Nan !
    May your Spring and Summer continue be abundant and fulfilling . Such a pleasure to read your blog

    Hey there, Priscilla–thanks so much for visiting today. I hope your gardening season is going well so far. We could sure use some rain!

  3. Seriously, wow! Spring is looking fantastic for you, and what a range of exciting colors and form you’ve grown there, all perfectly photographed. All that and you still have time to pick hundreds of violets for a batch of syrup. Isn’t this an awesome time of year?
    Since I can’t and won’t tie you up with questions on every single plant you’ve shown I’ll just stick to one word, maackia… cool… and then ask if you’re expecting or seeing cicada yet. Sadly we never seem to get many around here but they do seem to be generating a bunch of excitement for some people.
    Happy May!

    Hi Frank! Oh yes, isn’t the maackia cool? The foliage eventually goes green and looks quite different than the spring unfurling. Somehow I missed the first flowering two years ago, and it didn’t bloom last year, but this year looks promising.

    No sign of cicadas here yet. The ground is so dry–maybe they can’t get out. Or maybe it’s just been too cool. That looks to change soon.

  4. Nan, beautiful as always! That golden meadowsweet with forget me not is so……sweet! Golden foliage just draws you in, doesn’t it? I would take some good soaking rains here, thank you. Thanks for sharing, and enjoy these precious spring days.

    Happy Bloom Day, Donna! Gosh, yes, I just love that combination of golden meadowsweet and forget-me-nots: it’s so easy and looks great for weeks. May you get your needed rain very soon!

  5. I always look forward to your blog posts! Inspiring, informative and gorgeous photos. I come away with a LONG plant wish list. Wishing you a fantastic garden season.

    Thank you so much, Esme! I’m happy to hear that your wish list has expanded–always a sign of a good post, I think.

  6. Your “bit of a walkaround” was fascinating–from the seed, to leaves and blooms, even the cross-pollination! Thank you for the virtual walk.

    Thank you for visiting the garden on this glorious spring day, Mrs. Colliver. I hope you are fully enjoying this beautiful May day.

  7. Good morning Nan! Your garden always makes me sigh, wish you were my neighbour, love all the experimenting you do with new plants, especially the colour combinations. I am so excited as I have lots of seedlings overwinter in my gardens, now if I could just get rid of the black flies to enjoy them! I tried a new layhyrus(aureus) and it is coming up, probably not going to bloom this year just a few small plants but always something to look forward too.And I was shocked that St Bernard’s lily seedlings are up, they look like a blade of grass, scary as you always want to pull grass! I think I might have pulled up some Kiss me over the garden gate, I had forgotten they look like maple trees till I had some new seeds started just in case, yikes. I also started a few different kinds of primula, they are tiny but they made it! Good luck with the seedfarm! Your posts always make me happy! TTFN…Sue

    Good morning, Sue! I’m so happy for your seed successes. Watching plants grow from seed to bloom really adds another dimension to the gardening experience, doesn’t it? How fun! I hope the black flies give you a break so you can enjoy everything.

  8. Very impressive seed-growing operation! So many improvements you’ve been making. I did try that Farnsworth’s Jewel Flower this year and transplanted a couple but kept them too dry. Corydalis heterocarpa is a huge reseeder for me in SoCal! I haven’t grown it in years, but this spring a few plants appeared in areas that were reworked. Happy May Bloom Day, Nan!

    I really appreciate the warning about the corydalis, Denise. It’s funny how plants can show again years later when the soil gets turned; I’ve had that happen too. I’m still waiting for the jewel flower to hit its stride: the plants look great but only the one flowering stem so far. It’s still early, I guess.

  9. It’s wonderful to see a full-blown post from you, Nan. I was admiring the Corydalis in particular and, noting Denise’s mention above, I’m definitely going to check out C. heterocarpus. If it reseeds nearby for her, then maybe there’s a chance here despite my very dry conditions.

    Hi there, Kris! My Corydalis heterocarpa is setting seed from its first blooms now (while producing new blooms too), so I should have some seed available soon.

  10. Hi Nan, Happy Spring to you. So many lovely treasures in your beautiful garden, thank you for sharing them with us. . I always think of you at this time of year, when I see the Silene Ray’s Golden Campion, in flower, as it was you who first brought the plant to my attention. I notice you have silene virginica, is that as easy to grow as the dioica?

    Greeting, Allan! Wonderful to hear from you this spring; thank you for visiting. I’m honored to be even tangentially associated with ‘Ray’s Golden Campion’–what a pretty thing it is. I have had the Silene virginica only 2 or 3 years and collected every seed, so it hasn’t had a chance to self-sow. It did germinate well this spring from a December sowing, though, and I have several dozen new plants coming along. I plan to try them in different sites to see what the species likes best here.

    1. Sorry for late response Nan. For some reason your response to my Q didnt come through. I dont seem to be able to find a supplier of Silene virginica in UK. I have bought many different plants this spring, so wouldnt have room anyway lol.

      Hi again, Allan! Sounds like you have plenty of planting to keep you busy this spring. Hope you have good weather for it!

  11. Beautiful post, as always! I often trial a new perennial in a pot, which I did with Sisyrinchium angustifolium a couple of years ago. Liked it so much that I’ve overwintered it in a pot in my leaf mulch the past couple of years so that I can keep it where I can see it often. It looks like a fireworks display of shooting blue stars this year, which makes me very happy.

    Now if we could just get some rain….

    Oh, I’d never thought of growing it in a pot. I had been pulling it out of the garden for years but now appreciate it being there, as well as in the meadow.


Comments are closed.