Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – May 2022

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!

19 Comments on “Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – May 2022

  1. You’ve done it again, Nan: one swoon-worthy plant after another! Thank you.

    Thank YOU for stopping by, Sandy. Happy Bloom Day to you!
    -Nan

  2. Hi, Nancy – wonderful post. Comforting to hear you have trouble starting sweet cicely. I gather a few seeds every year but have yet to have it germinate. Any tips?

    The one I finally had luck with, I sowed in fall of 2019 and didn’t get sprouts until spring of 2021. When results like that happen, it indicates to me that the seeds need a warm period before cold. That may be why some sources insist that fresh seed is necessary, as the seeds ripen while there is still time for a warm period. Hanging on to them for sowing in October or November won’t give them the warmth first. This experience was also a good reminder to me to keep pots (or milk jugs) of sown seeds for at least 2 years.
    -Nan

  3. Thanks for the tour of your garden!

    I appreciate you checking in today, Tom. Happy Bloom Day!
    -Nan

  4. Oh my Nan!! How beautiful these are. I am envious because here in the PNW we still wait for warmer temps and for the rain to stop! Thank you for this uplifting and inspiring post. I can hardly wait for seed time!

    Ah, I did hear that you are experiencing a dreary spell out there. We were still in the 40s until Tuesday night, and my seedlings were very unhappy about being stuck in pots so long. It was worth waiting, though, as just a day or two in the warmer ground has made a big difference. Here’s hoping you get some more cooperative weather soon!
    -Nan

  5. What a beautiful way to start my day! (And, yes, my Abelia mosanensis will continue to be called that!)

    Hi Kem! Yeah, I’m normally ok with keeping up with current nomenclature, but I just know this one is not going to stick in my brain. I’m going to hope that it changes back to Abelia eventually. Arrrgh!
    -Nan

  6. That was fun & lovely! Happy spring – almost Summer! Thanks for the tour

    Good morning, Rebecca. Thanks for taking the time to visit today!
    -Nan

  7. The Silene and the Corylus stopped me in my tracks. Another post that has me writing notes..

    Thanks Nan

    Hi Nick! There was another nice hazelnut seedling in that batch, with green leaves that have a purple center blotch, but the solid purple one was a real gift. I can’t wait to see how its seedlings will turn out, though that will take a few years. And the Silene–I’m assuming you mean the S. virginica–yes, that is a WOW plant for sure, and pretty easy from seed. There’s some variation in the seedlings, as far as height and plant form, but the flowers are consistently fantastic.
    -Nan

  8. Wonderful photos and love your commentary! Thx!

    I really appreciate you saying that, Phyllis. Thank you!
    -Nan

  9. Amazing almost overwhelming display of your gorgeous abundance!! Wow….for a walk in your gardens 🙏🏼💃🏻

    Thanks, Blanche! I’m actually pretty pleased with how the garden as a whole looks right now, which isn’t something I can normally say this time of year. If it hadn’t been so glaringly sunny this week, I would have included some overview pictures as well as all of the closeups. Best wishes for a glorious May in your own garden!
    -Nan

  10. Oh, too many! You know, I have never seen fivespot in the wild. Although it is not native here, it is native nearby, and in Santa Barbara County down south. Forget-me-not is naturalized here though. It looks like it is native.

    Hi Tony! I’m trying out a bunch of other native annuals from your part of the world this year, with seeds from Seedhunt (an excellent source): several kinds of Clarkia, and Phacelia distans, and Diplacus pictus. They are doing beautifully here so far, despite the big difference in soil and climate.
    -Nan

  11. Ok, the little woodland sedum has stolen my heart. Your plant growth is weeks ahead of MN..but I’m enjoying the slower rate of bloom while it lasts here! Thanks as ever for the May lovelies!

    Well spotted, Donna; that one is a real little charmer. I’m happy that you’re enjoying a lovely spring. On the whole, it’s been a pretty good one here too.
    -Nan

  12. Exquisite as usual. All the seeds I ordered from you last winter are coming along well… except the Tinantia erects. However, I held back a few seeds just in case I needed to try again. What is your secret to growing Primrose… like the Barnhaven series? I can never even get the seeds to germinate…much less grow them along. Have tried several techniques. Any hints??

    Hey there, Scott. Thanks for letting me know about the Tinantia. I usually just let mine seed itself, so I haven’t tried an indoor sowing for years, but I do recall that working in the past. I’ll have to do a test sowing. I’d suggest setting the pot outside and the seeds should germinate when conditions are to their liking. Once they get going, they grow quickly. As far as primroses, I generally use the winter-sowing technique (in milk jugs, set outside) with great results. But, according to my sowing records from 2019, I sowed the Barnhaven seeds in pots on January 4 and set them in my basement, which is around 45F in winter, and they began sprouting around March 8 (at which point, the basement was probably up to the low 50s).
    -Nan

  13. Thank you, Nan, for the special walk through your garden. The little bouquet Columbine stole my heart and the golden Cow Parsley. As always, loved it.

    A very good (albeit dreary) morning to you, Sandy. You picked out two of my own favorites. Thanks so much for visiting!
    -Nan

  14. I always find something new and inspiring to add to my “plants to get” list whenever you post. Those gold-leaved jewel weeds are really exciting! And I’m pleased to see “Freckles” violet get some love. It’s one of my favorites and just oozes charm!

    Agreed! Viola sororia thrives here, and it’s nice to have this one for some variety. And the golden jewelweed–isn’t it glorious? The seed was shared with me a couple years ago, and I ended up with one seedling that I nearly killed. (Note to self: Do NOT use a metal container for frost protection in a site that gets morning sun.) Despite almost getting fried, it ended up reaching maybe 18 inches tall. It didn’t have all that many flowers, but it sure did a great job reproducing! I hope to have seeds available this fall, if I get the ok from the person who shared it with me.
    -Nan

  15. Hi Nan! Wow – wow – wow! That was a fun trip through your garden!!
    I thought for sure when I saw the picture of ‘caraway (Carum carvi) patch’ that it was Orlaya – it’s taken 2 years since getting the Orlaya seed from you but I now have 2 big patches of beautiful blooms! Can’t wait to spread those seeds throughout my garden!!!
    All your plants are beautiful!! I had never seen “Little Honey” oakleaf hydrangea – that really caught my eye!!!
    Happy Spring!!
    Gayle

    Happy spring to you, Gayle! I’m so happy that you now have the Orlaya of your dreams. The caraway…well, it was an experiment a couple years ago, and it self sowed prolifically, but it was just feathery green foliage last year. It’s finally coming into bloom again, and I’m leaving it for the pollinators.
    -Nan

  16. Nan, all of your photos are a treat to see, but there are some I could instantly picture on your postcards (or a calendar? hint hint), like the tapestry of umbrella plant & Solomon’s seal, the ‘Little Honey” hydrangea, the Boehmeria tricuspis, the fleabane…in addition to being an amazing gardener, you are a talented photographer, in how you light & frame each shot. Thank you for the spring eye candy!

    That’s very kind of you, Vicki. I really appreciate your comments. Hope the growing season is treating you well so far!
    -Nan

  17. You do have quite a bit to show for this early in the season. How exciting!
    Add me to the list of people in love with the hazelnut. I can imagine it in spring as the new foliage bursts out. Wow.
    So many goodies to look forward to on your seed list.

    Happy spring, Frank–though it is feeling decidedly summery today. Interestingly about the hazelnut…I just found some tiny purple-leaved seedlings in the meadow too. Hmmm. Thanks for checking in today!
    -Nan

  18. Hi Nan, What amazing pics of beautiful plants, I always get inspiration from you. My garden this year is better than it has ever been. We had a very mild Winter here in NW England, so plants got an early start this Spring. Having followed your blog for several years now, my garden isn’t just about flowers, the foliage contrasts I have copied from you, look amazing, thank you. When it comes to flowers, I love hot colours, my favourite are red and orange, with that I mind I am growing the Silene Laciniata (which you featured) from seed, I was fortunate to get a free packet of seed, with my Garden News Magazine last week. Thanks again, for this blog, take care.

    Lovely to hear from you, Allan! It’s good to hear that your garden is treating you kindly this spring. I hope the Silene laciniata does well for you. As far as I know, it is native to our West Coast, while the Silene virginica I have is from the eastern part of the US. The flowers of both species are definitely red, though!
    -Nan

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