Hooray for the return of Bloom Day to Hayefield! I almost missed this one, as the weather finally turned perfect for planting this week, and getting hundreds of annuals in the ground for this year’s seed crop was top priority. But now, everything’s done but the containers, and sitting still to put a post together for today has been a very welcome break. I didn’t have time to grab photos of everything that looks good right now, so I tried to focus on things that I don’t usually show for this month. (Above is an abundance of wild columbine [
Aquilegia canadensis], flowering here for the first time.)
Some of the fastest-growing annuals are already in full bloom, including…
Mache (Valerianella locusta), also known as corn salad or lamb’s lettuce: a yummy edible and also charming in bloom. I let it self-sow from year to year.
Fivespot (Nemophila maculata): This California native will self-sow too, but I usually direct-sow some seeds in March as a backup.
A new-to-me celosia that’s already starting to flower: ‘Spring Green’ cockscomb (Celosia argentea var. cristata)
Yellow fumewort (Corydalis flavula) is native to parts of the eastern half of the US. It’s a winter annual, meaning that you need to sow the seed in early to midsummer; seedlings appear in fall and start flowering in early to mid spring.
Blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia verna): another native winter annual
A celebration of spring in a single plant: biennial ‘Variegated Winter Cream’ winter cress (Barbarea vulgaris)
Woodland forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica), started from seed last summer
The caraway (Carum carvi) patch is just coming into bloom
Many early-rising perennials are also showing off right now, including…
Spring fumewort (Corydalis solida): One of the very first flowers to bloom here (besides the usual spring bulbs), and nearly the first seed ready for harvest (second only to winter aconite [Eranthis hyemalis])
‘Ray’s Golden Campion’ red campion (Silene dioica): a rather short-lived perennial. I’ve found it very difficult to keep this strain going, as it really wants to revert to the green-leaved species form, but I keep working with it because it’s lovely in flower (well, unless you’re one of those people who hates pink and yellow together).
Absolutely exquisite Corydalis nobilis: around for only a month or so, and very shy about setting seed, unfortunately
Japanese fern-leaved corydalis (Corydalis heterocarpa): gorgeous blooms and elegant gray-blue foliage, but definitely NOT reluctant to set seed
‘Winky Double Red-White’ columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris): I generally prefer columbines that have a looser form, but this little cutie always gets my attention. Its tightly packed stems look like a bouquet right in the garden.
The simply lovely green columbine (Aquilegia viridiflora)
Dwarf comfrey (Symphytum grandiflorum): a scorpiod cyme of red buds opening to near-white blooms. It can also produce blue-flowered seedlings.
Primroses (Primula) are a sure sign of spring. I adore these seed-grown plants of Barnhaven Primroses’ Harvest Yellows Group.
Another polyanthus from Barnhaven (and possibly my favorite): Striped Victorians Group
Spring vetchling (Lathyrus vernus) has become a new obsession for me. The plants keep getting better each year.
This light pink version of spring vetchling (Lathyrus vernus) is usually known as ‘Alboroseus’.
I started my original spring vetchling (Lathyrus vernus) seeds from a few different sources, and they have been blooming together for several years now. The most recent batch of seedlings produced a wonderful range of bloom colors and leaf forms, including this blue one with very slender foliage.
‘Florentina’ iris: one of the sources of the fragrance fixative known as orris root
‘Ravenswing’ cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) with golden Hakone grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’)
Snowy barrenwort (Epimedium x youngianum ‘Niveum’)
Marsh spurge (Euphorbia palustris)
Variegated Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’) is getting to be a somewhat aggressive spreader, but I’m ok with that (for now)
It took me many years to finally get sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata) started from seed, so it’s exciting to see it flower for the first time. Yay!
Pink Panda strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa ‘Frel’) was slow to settle in here, but now it is starting to pop up in surprising places.
The subtle but beautiful blooms of mourning widow (Geranium phaeum), also known as dusky cranesbill
This is also prime time for a number of natives and selections thereof, including…
The “ordinary” spotted or wild geranium (Geranium maculatum)
A dark-leaved strain of spotted or wild geranium (Geranium maculatum): originally ‘Espresso’, but it seeds around, and most of the seedlings have equally dark leaves
Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea) is a distinctive sight this time of year
The well-named ‘Freckles’, a strain of woolly violet (Viola sororia) that comes true from seed
Marvelous merrybells (Uvularia perfoliata)
Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia) is just now coming into bloom
Just wow, right? I’m so glad I started a bunch more fire pink (Silene virginica) from seed last year. You sure don’t see many reds like this in spring!
Dainty woodland stonecrop (Sedum ternatum): wonderful for filling around ferns and hellebores
I have mixed feelings about Philadelphia fleabane (Erigeron philadelphicus): It’s cute and sturdy and makes a nice filler for tough spots, but it quite likes to spread and reseeds too
A few woody plants are also looking great right now, including…
Yellowroot (Xanthorrhiza simplicissima) has persistent, woody stems but usually grows more like a groundcover. Though it flowers early, it is one of the last seeds to ripen in fall.
Sweetly scented dwarf fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii)
Pollinating my pawpaws (Asimina triloba) is a daily task for about 2 weeks in early May. It’s worth the time, because I generally get very good fruit set. Even though there are a number of damaged stems from last year’s cicada invasion (on many woody plants here, not just the pawpaws), there are still plenty of blooms to work with on two of my three trees.
The flame-like buds of ‘Klondyke’ Exbury azalea (Rhododendron)
A favorite of mine for fragrance, and beloved by the hummingbirds who recently arrived: fragrant abelia. Good grief: I just double-checked the botanical name for this and found out that it is now Zabelia tyaihyonii. There is NO way I am ever going to remember that, so as far as I am concerned, it is still Abelia mosanensis.
Though it’s technically Bloom Day, it could just as well be Foliage Day, as so many leaves are lush and lovely right now, including…
Glorious ‘Golden Fleece’ cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) against a seedling lungwort (Pulmonaria saccharata)
Not colorful or variegated, but the leaves of Boehmeria tricuspis are still worthy of admiration for their interesting form and texture
The early foliage of Cardiocrinum cordatum. The veining is already fading, but it’s looking promising for flowers again this year.
Delightfully dark Serious Black bush clematis (Clematis recta ‘Lime Close’)
An outstanding purple-leaved seedling that came up in a batch of American hazelnut (Corylus americana) seeds I sowed from my green-leaved plants a few years ago. I finally moved it from a nursery bed into the garden and hope it thrives in its new spot.
American dittany (Cunila origanoides): nice detail on the spring foliage, and a marvelous oregano scent
Brilliantly bright ‘Little Honey’ oak-leaved hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)
The purple-blushed spring leaves of eastern beebalm (Monarda bradburiana)
Not a great photo, but something I am very excited about: a gold-leaved form of spotted-touch-me-not (Impatiens capensis), also known as jewelweed. It comes maybe 50 percent true from seed.
Variegated Indian tobacco (Lobelia inflata ‘Variegata’): Its foliage is nice when grown as an annual, but these second-year rosettes are spectacular
The detailed foliage of ‘Dali Marble’ burnet (Sanguisorba) deserves a close look
A tapestry of shredded umbrella plant (Syneilesis aconitifolia), variegated Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’), and hybrid Lenten rose (Helleborus x hybridus)
Not a bad showing for so early in the growing season. We can never know what’s going to happen over the coming months, weather- and critter-wise, but I have great hopes for a very busy and productive seed-collecting season with some exciting new plants coming along. Thanks so much for stopping by today, and best wishes for a wonderful May in your own garden!
May 15, 2022 May 14, 2022