Friday, May 13, 2022

May 2022 Bloom Day (2 days early)

I knew I wasn't going to have time to work on my May Bloom Day post over the weekend so I put it together ahead of schedule.  Rather than hold it until Sunday, May 15th, I also decided to go ahead and publish it on my regular post timetable.  So here you are.  It's another long one.  It's still spring after all, even if summer is showing signs of mounting a takeover sooner rather than later.

Plants making the biggest splash include the following:

Years ago, I planted Achillea 'Moonshine' on both sides of the flagstone path that bisects the main level of my back garden.  Regardless of what the calendar says, the bright yellow blooms signify the arrival of summer in my view.

Centranthus ruber has been blooming on a small scale in the north side garden for over 2 months but the flowers on the back slope took longer to take off this year

I inherited this Distictis buccinatoria (red trumpet vine) with the garden.  It was planted decades ago by a neighbor when she gardened our back slope area (before a previous owner of our property clarified the property line).  It's a thug but it became an integral part of the gardens of 2 of our neighbors so I live with it.

Gaura lindheimeri moves around on its own in my front garden

Pandorea jasminoides blooms most of the year but this month it's been joined by Trachelospermum jasminoides

Psoralea pinnata (aka Kool-aid bush because of its scent) always manages to surprise me with its blooms.  Unfortunately, it doesn't photograph all that well.

Despite a hard pruning in late winter, Salvia canariensis var candidissima is taller than ever

Based on comparisons with my 2019-2021 posts, it appears that Salvia clevelandii 'Winnifred Gilman' is a full month ahead of schedule this year


There are a host of other plants providing floral color on a smaller scale.

Alstroemeria, clockwise from the upper left: 'Claire', 'Inca Sundance', 'Indian Summer', noID, and 'Inca Vienna'

Perennial favorite Arctotis Pink Sugar'

Argyranthemum frutescens 'White Butterfly' and 'Yellow Butterfly'

Dorycnium hirsutum, aka hairy Canary clover (syn Lotus hirsutus)

Globularia x indubia, aka globe daisy

Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream' and G. 'Superb' (top row) bloom year-round.  Grevillea 'Scarlet Sprite' and G. sericea (bottom row) bloom for months but not quite year-round.

 Here are some of the newest arrivals.

Although their numbers are somewhat reduced since a mass of Agapanthus bulbs in the back garden were pulled when the dying mimosa tree was cut down, the flowers will still make a good showing over the next month

The graceful stems of Arthropodium cirratum (aka Renga lily) are popping up in dry shade areas throughout my garden

This new plant, Helichrysum amorginum 'Ruby Cluster', deserves an honorable mention.  If it does well this summer, I'll plant more.

Hemerocallis 'Spanish Harlem' is the first of my daylilies to bloom

Lilium 'Royal Sunset', a recent gift, is the first of my Asiatic lily hybrids to bloom but I'm hopeful that those I planted last year are on their way

Other flowering plants that played starring roles in prior months are preparing to exit the stage.

Aeonium haworthii 'Kiwi Verde' over-achieved again this year, flowering all over the garden.  The heavy flower stalks tend to flop over neighboring plants and the rosettes that produce the flowers die back as the flowers fade so they're a mixed blessing.

Prompted by a series of brief heat spells, Callistemon 'Cane's Hybrid' bloomed ahead of schedule and the flowers all too quickly turned from peachy-pink to a buff color

Echium webbii is usually at its peak in May but warmer-than-usual temperatures have faded the flowers.  That hasn't put off the bees, though.

The Hippeastrum bulbs I grew in pots bloomed from February through April but some of those I planted in the ground last year produced flowers in May.  'Aphrodite' may be the last of these but we'll see.

The Leucospermum ('Royal Hawaiian Brandi', 'Goldie', and 'Sunrise') flowers are fading but they haven't dropped yet - and the squirrels haven't eaten any of 'Goldie's' flowers this year either

Osteospermum prefers cooler temperatures so those shown here may disappear soon, hopefully to return in the fall.  Clockwise from the upper left are '4D Pink', '4D Silver', 'Berry White', and 'Violet Ice'.

After a slow start, the cutting garden has lots of flowers but most of these are cool season blooms.  Warmer temperatures are likely to put an end to most of these within the next month.

Clockwise from the upper left: Antirrhinum majus, Consolida ajacis, Delphinium elatum 'Morning Light' Digitalis purpurea, Nigella papillosa, and Orlaya grandiflora

Lathyrus odoratus, most of which I can't identify by cultivar name as they were grown from seed mixes

 I'll end with the best of the rest collected in collages organized by color.

Top: Gaillardia 'Copper Sun' and Lobelia laxiflora
Middle: Lotus berthelotii 'Amazon Sunset', Melinus nerviglumis, and Penstemon mexicali 'Mini-bells Red'
Bottom: Pelargonium peltatum and Salvia lanceolata

Top: Abelia grandiflora 'Edward Goucher', Arbutus 'Marina', and Cuphea 'Starfire Pink'
Middle: Callistemon 'Hot Pink', Cistus 'Sunset', and Hebe 'Wiri Blush'
Bottom: Oenothera speciosa and Rosa 'Pink Meidiland'

Top: Allium Violet Beauty', Polygala fruticosa, and Verbena bonariensis
Middle: Felicia aethiopica, Scabiosa columbaria 'Deep Blue', and Teucrium aroanium
Bottom: Limonium perezii, Nierembergia caerulea, and Trichostemma 'Midnight Magic'

Top: Eustoma grandiflorum, Fuchsia magellanica 'Hawkshead', and Nandina domestica
Middle: Arctotis 'Large Marge', Didelta 'Silver Strand', and mixed Gazania
Bottom: Hymenolepis crithmifolia, Phlomis fruticosa, and Tagetes lemmonii

Clockwise from upper left: Aloe striata x maculata, Anagallis 'Wildcat Mandarin', Cuphea 'Vermillionaire', noID Gazania, Lantana camara 'Irene', and Leonotis leonurus

Visit Carol of May Dreams Gardens for more Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post on May 15th.  Meanwhile, best wishes for a pleasant weekend.

All material © 2012-2022 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party


  1. The number and variety of your blooms just blows my mind. I probably would just spend the whole day walking around your garden. One day soon, when we head to the coast, I hope to beg a visit.

    1. Jenny, you would certainly be welcome! Given our deepening drought and the more severe water restrictions we're facing, I'd love your input as I focus on changes I need to make to make my garden even more drought resistant.

  2. An amazing plethora of blooms!
    I don't recall seeing the Kool-aid bush before; the blooms are surprising (to me) in shape and color and look beautiful with the green, needle like leafs. An exotic combination.

    1. The Kool-aid bush is unusual, Chavli, with its pine-like foliage (which is actually soft, unlike that of a real pine). It's scent is nice too, at least if the smell of grape Kool-aid doesn't bother you! It's another plant native to South Africa and moderately drought-tolerant.

  3. You're posting early this month, and I think I'm going to post late. It's all good right? I love that Globularia x indubia, it's so cute!

    1. Yes, it's all good! I'd guessed that you would post on Monday, Loree, and, if I didn't usually do my floral arrangement thing on Monday, I'd have done so too ;) I call the Globularia my hairy blue-eye plant. It was a good find, and the bees love it.

  4. Thought of you when I noticed established osteospermum blooming up north the past couple weeks -- forgot that it works in zone 8 too!

    1. It's probably happier in zone 8, Denise! It likes cooler temperatures and a little humidity.

  5. Always a thrill to see your garden in current bloom, Kris. The Salvias are noteworthy, esp. S.canariensis and lanceolata. Bet the pollinators agree! Eliza

    1. I've already seen monarch butterflies, not that I've managed to capture a photo!

  6. Hi Kris and wow ! to your gardens and photos .. almost an alien world to me because they look so exotic compared to my 5b zone . I lost out on a blue agapanthus .. I will be more diligent next time that opportunity arises ! LOL
    I have a soft spot for alstroemeria .. and the sweet pea plants . I should have done those as well .. but now that we have been drop kicked into summer it is a huge challenge to just keep what I have, growing and doing well . It is a city inspection of our sprinkler system that has to happen every year .. a royal pain but that is just the way it is done here.
    I feel your emotions of seeing the girls, especially Gracie being a Lynx Point. I also feel the pain of Sophie's absence in fits and starts when I look at Gracie .. but we have been so lucky to have such sweet characters in our lives .. I'm very grateful .

    1. Agapanthus is under-appreciated here as it's so common. Fortunately, they're relatively effortless in our climate, although they really should be divided periodically.

      I hope you get that sprinkler inspection soon! And I always appreciate the cat photos. My elderly tortoiseshell tabby cat shows up at periodic intervals on my blog too.

  7. That in an insane number of flowers Kris! Just wow! And in every shape and colour of the rainbow. The local nectar eating birds must flock to your place. Gorgeous!

    1. Hummingbirds are year-round residents here, Horticat. I saw what must have been an oriole earlier this week but they seem shy. I should probably put out some cut oranges for them.

  8. So beautiful and wonderful! Your garden is looking fantastic! :)

  9. Fabulous, as usual! Great that the squirrels are not molesting your Leucospermum flowers. Your Echium is huge.

    What do you think of Teucrium aroanium?

    1. Holding off on filling my bird feeders has dramatically reduced the amount of squirrel activity this year. That Teucrium struggled the previous time I tried it but I planted 3 more in different spots this past fall and, thus far, they're doing better. It hasn't spread as widely as advertised, though.

  10. Wow! What a wonderful collection of flowers!
    Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!

  11. So many spectacular blooms. You garden is a wonderland of beauty.

    1. Thanks Dorothy. April and May are generally the most floriferous months here.

  12. Your garden looks amazing! I would love to smell that Salvia clevelandii. I had a plant once (it died over winter), and still remember (and miss) that smell to this day. I'm surprised how good the Echium looks after flowering, still very impressive and dramatic.

    1. Salvia clevelandii is a Southern California native and it does VERY well here, LL. In addition to 'Winnifred Gilman' I have others with related parentage, all strongly scented but none quite as exuberant. Echium webbii is my favorite species in that genus but it does get woody over time so I start it over periodically.


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