Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Bloom Day - May 2018

People who regularly read my Bloom Day posts are probably used to a glut of flowers.  Well, May usually represents the floral peak in my garden and, despite the return of drought conditions, this year is no exception.  So consider yourself warned.

I'm going to start with a photo of a relatively ordinary plant that I caught in extraordinary light, just because I'm thrilled with the photograph.

Cerinthe major purpurascens backlit by the sun


Next up are the Leucospermum blooms (aka pincushion flowers).  I've admired this genus of South African plants for many years and repeatedly failed in my attempts to grow them.  My luck finally seems to have turned.  I've got 4 plants and every one of them currently has blooms.

Planted in March 2016, Leucospermum 'Brandi' has finally produced her first blooms

I photographed Leucospermum 'Goldie' last month but she's still blooming and even has new foliage growth

The plant on the left, a relatively recent acquisition currently in a pot, is Leucospermum 'Spider Hybrid'.  The plant on the right, purchased last year, is L. 'Spider', which looks identical in all but its foliage color.


April was a floriferous month but a large number of shrubs, perennials, annuals and even some bulbs have joined the chorus of blooms in May.

Achillea 'Moonshine' is just beginning to get its bloom on.  It's a bit late this year.

I've never had much luck with Alliums but I planted 3 different species this year.  Two of these don't appear to be doing well at all but Allium rosenbachianum is a star.  I wish I'd planted more than 3!

This is Dorycnium hirsutum (aka Hairy Canary Clover).  It self-seeds freely and I've got a lot of it, which is fine as it's a good ground cover and attractive in and out of bloom.

Gaura lindheimeri 'Snow Fountain' also self-seeds freely but it's easy to pull out where you don't want it.  My only problem with it is that the aphids like it too.

Daylilies don't like drought but Hemerocallis 'Elizabeth Salter' (left) and 'For Pete's Sake' (right) have thrown up a handful of blooms.  'Spanish Harlem' is apparently holding out until after Bloom Day to show its stuff.

Hymenolepis parviflora (aka Golden Coulter Bush), planted in April 2016, is blooming for the first time

I didn't think my annual sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus) were going to bloom this year as something kept nibbling them but they came through.  If the bunnies are here to stay, I'm going to need new barriers to protect my seedlings next year.

Leucadendron 'Pisa' is now sporting its luminous yellow flower-like bracts

Some people think I'm crazy to allow Oenothera speciosa (Mexican Evening Primrose) to take hold in my garden.  I admit it spreads freely but our dry conditions seem to keep it under control and the cheerful pink blooms are a welcome presence in the driest areas of my garden.

Ozothamnus diosmifolius (aka Rice Flower) looked terrible after it finished flowering last year and I was tempted to pull it out.  Instead I cut it back hard.  It's back to its shapely shrub self this spring.

I inherited several Phlomis fruticosa (Jerusalem sage) with the garden, all of which were a woody mess last year.  I took one or 2 out and cut the rest back hard.  It seems to have done them good.

I purchased this plant, simply labeled Plectranthus species, from my local botanic garden a year or 2 ago.  I suspect it's a variegated form of P. neochilus.  It's a tough plant and it's spread out nicely but it does have a somewhat unpleasant skunky odor.

This interesting plant with its alien-looking terracotta-colored blooms is Salvia africana-lutea (aka Beach Sage).  I picked up the plant in a sale at my local botanic garden, which features several large specimens of this plant.

Like Salvia africana, this Salvia lanceolata (aka Rocky Mountain Sage) also hails from South Africa.  It has velvety soft gray foliage.

This is a succulent, Senecio fulgens (aka Coral Senecio)

After a hard pruning following its winter bloom cycle, Tagetes lemmonii (aka Copper Canyon Daisy) is back in flower 


Meanwhile, some plants I featured last month are continuing to put on a good show.

Echium webbii still dominates the back garden.  Hummingbirds fight over the plant in the early morning before ceding control over to the bees in the afternoon.

After a light trim, Lantana 'Lucky White' is back in top form

Leptospermum scoparium 'Pink Pearl' has more room to spread now that we took out the guava tree that had been crowding it

Limonium perezii (Sea Lavender) is blooming in earnest now

I cut back Lotus berthelotii 'Amazon Sunset' by at least a third after April's Bloom Day but it's already back to flowering

Osteospermum '4D Silver' could use a trimming too but it continues to pump out flowers


I'll end this post as has been my practice with collages of other flowers currently in bloom in the garden.  I'd like to say this is a complete wrap-up but that wouldn't be entirely true - I've omitted some.  Even I get tired to taking photos of flowers after a while.

Clockwise from the upper left are: Sisyrinchium 'Devon Skies' (new), Campanula portenschlagiana, noID Ceanothus, Aquilegia 'Spring Magic', Consolida ajacis, Euphorbia characias 'Black Pearl', Felicia aethiopica, Geranium 'Tiny Monster', Lavandula stoechas 'Double Anouk', Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy', Osteospermum 'Violet Ice', Polygala fruticosa 'Petite Butterfly', Scabiosa 'Fama Blue', and, in the center, Convolvulus sabatius 'Moroccan Beauty'

Top row: Abutilon 'Talini's Pink', noID Alstroemeria, and Argyranthemum frutescens
Middle row: Cistus 'Grayswood Pink', Cistus 'Sunset', and Hebe 'Wiri Blush'
Bottom row: Pelargonium citroenellum, P. 'Oldbury Duet', and P. peltatum 'Pink Blizzard'

Clockwise from the upper left: Anagallis 'Wildcat Mandarin' (reseeding far from its original location), Cotula lineariloba, Fuchsia 'Gartenmeister Bonstedt', Gaillardia 'Arizona Sun', Graptoveria 'Fred Ives', Grevillea 'Scarlet Sprite', Grevillea 'Superb', Hunnemannia fumariifolia, Lantana camara 'Irene', Lobelia laxiflora, Pelargonium peltatum, Pelargonium 'Tweedle Dee', Ornithogalum dubium, and, in the center, Alstroemeria 'Indian Summer'

Top row: noID white Agapanthus (one of the first to flower this season), Alstroemeria 'Claire', and Argyranthemum frutescens
Middle row: Centranthus ruber 'Albus', Coriandrum sativum, and Digitalis purpurea (with African Blue Basil)
Bottom row: Lagurus ovatus, Myoporum parvifolium, and Orlaya grandiflora (the only bloom since the bunny invasion)


That's it for this month!  For more Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day posts, visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens.


All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

36 comments:

  1. Incredible! And so glad your luck with the pincushions has turned. I wonder if those alliums will return!? They are such an expensive experiment, I think I'll watch how they do in your garden. 'Pisa' is so beautiful...may need to give that one another go. Happy BD, Kris.

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    1. I invested more in the Alliums that haven't shown promise than the 3 A. rosenbachianum that realized their potential, at least in round one. They didn't get any winter chill this year so I'm guessing they should come back but we'll see.

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  2. I hope those Alliums do well for you, if they return you may have to buy more. It's also possible they might reseed. Mine do like gangbusters. I took Achillea 'Moonshine' out this spring, the plants got huge and woody and never produced more than a couple of flowers. Yours is spectacular.

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    1. My Achillea 'Moonshine'is actually a couple of weeks late this year based on my wide shots for the last 2 years. The crazy flip-flopping from warm-hot weather back to cool weather may be throwing it off.

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  3. That's all? Only a gazillion different flowers? ;^)

    Amazed at your Allium success, brava!! I never got a flower from the ones I tried. Congrats also on the Leucospermums and the beautiful Cerithe photo. Well done.

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    1. One gazillion is still not enough for me ;)

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  4. I always like to scroll through your photos. So many plants I have never even heard of or seen. It is like a walking through a botanic garden.

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    1. A very small botanic garden maybe...

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  5. What a magical shot of the Cerinthe! One for the book. Or for a nursery that wants to sell out of its stock...

    Maybe it's a truck of the light, and purple is hard to capture in any case, but the dark red-purple color, bloom shape, and late date of bloom make me suspect that those alliums are actually A. atropurpureum. Is that a possibility?

    You are very patient indeed to share as many of your May blooms with us as you've done here. The bees at al. must be delirious. And you must be a bit so, too, after all the Flinging and photographing!

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    1. Allium atropurpureum wasn't one of the 3 types of Allium I purchased, Nell, but I suppose the seller could have provided the wrong bulbs - it's not like that hasn't happened before. I don't have enough personal experience with Alliums to make the distinction myself. Between the Alliums, the Echiums and everything else, I think the bees are happy.

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  6. So many pretties to see at your place. You are right about daylilies. Drought has curtailed bloom here and I couldn't/didn't water.

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    1. Jean, it's wonderful to see you pop up again! I'm sorry to hear that you're also experiencing drought conditions, though.

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  7. Such an abundance of beauty! Your garden really is phenomenal!

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  8. You Socal folk are killing me with all those Leucospermums! Looks like no shortage of Vase on Monday fodder at your house. Happy Bloom Day !

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    1. No, I haven't come up short for IaVoM recently. The cutting garden has been a major boon there, Kathy.

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  9. No words to explain the beauty of the Leucospermum. You have many unique varieties of flowers. Love the color of the Allium...

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  10. Damn that’s a lot of flowers! I think I’m most jealous of the Leucospermum. We always want what we cannot have, right?

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    1. Despite my floral bounty, as I still covet peonies and a host of other plants that don't want to grow here, I can confirm that, yes, we all do want what we don't have!

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  11. There’s a lot of glorious colour in your garden, Kris. Even though you’re lacking a decent rainfall, everything looks very healthy and fulsome.

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    1. Thank goodness for irrigation, Jane!

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  12. That is a great photo of the Cerinthe major purpurascens--lovely Kris. Your garden continues to amaze me. each thing you mention becomes my very favorite.

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    1. It's the best time of year in the garden, Susie!

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  13. A fabulous photo of the cerinthe Kris. Are my eyes deceiving me or is it adorned with raindrops?

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    1. Sadly, Anna, those are dried water spots, presumably left by the irrigation system. We've received a teeny-tiny but of rain in May, though - a total of 0.05.inch over the span of 2 separate days. As we don't usually get any rain after April, even that little touch was appreciated.

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  14. I always enjoy your bloom day posts; so much to love. I am green with envy when I see your gorgeous leucospermums. The salvias are both new to me. I was interested to see your Echium webbi it is rarely seen here. A friend gave me a seedling of hers which I am cherishing. And that senecio us unususal, very pretty. So many beauties.

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    1. I'm very happy to have some success with the Leucospermums at last!

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  15. It must be an amazing experience to walk around your garden Kris; I am finding it hard to pick out one or two flowers to comment on! A word about the Alliums. I have been astounded this year that many of the Alliums I've planted in the past and not seen for a year or two are all up and flowering this year - they need more water than is ever indicated! I think one of the outstanding things in your garden is the gorgeous groundcover plants you use, you have inspired me to look for others that might survive here.

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    1. I've come to appreciate groundcovers more and more, Christina. In addition to shading the soil and helping hold moisture, a thick mat discourages the raccoons from digging!

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  16. Phlethora of burst of colors in your garden that are breathtaking ,pincushion flowers are eyecatchy never heard of them before ,white lantana seems to be annual in our region ,red and yellow lantana could thrive our hot summer easily,There is yet another month for day lilies to bring blooms ,sweet peas have passed away with entrance of scorching summer.

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    1. Sweet peas don't last long here once the summer heat arrives. Mine were off to a late start so I don't think I'll get a long bloom period out of them this year.

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  17. One of my favorite months in the garden, May is such a joy. Once again, a floral feast from your garden filled with beautiful wonders in your incredible garden. Happy belated GBBD!

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    1. Mat's one of my favorite months too, Peter! I hope you're enjoying your time in the garden (even if you're busy with pre-tour preparations).

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  18. So many gorgeous flowers, and each time you post about your Dorycnium hirsutum, I end up wanting one! I don't know why I pick that one (as opposed to those gorgeous Leucospermums, for example) but there's just something about a plant called Hairy Clover that makes me smile!

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    1. Off-hand, I don't know how much winter cold the Hairy Canary Clover can take but it's definitely worth a try, Renee. I can collect some seed for you in a month or so if you're interested in trying to grow it from seed. My local Armstrong Garden Center also occasionally offers the plants.

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