Basking In The May Flower Garden

The weekend weather has been ideal—sunny with low humidity and slight breezes. With a high of 81°F. today it would have been an enjoyable day to garden.  Instead the garden provided perfect surroundings for lunching on the back porch and later, for sitting on the patio in the warm sun, being very still and watching the birds.

Among the species at the two feeders today were Eastern Towhee, Northern Cardinal, Tufted Titmouse, Mourning Dove, House Finch, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Eastern Bluebird, Common Grackle, American Goldfinch, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Brown Thrasher and some other little ones I could not identify. Spotted a rabbit in the middle of the western border. No hummingbirds yet. That should change when the Monarda, now three feet tall in some places, opens its red flowers.

Monarda didyma (scarlet beebalm)

Gladioli and zinnias are coming up in several places around the garden (although that rabbit may explain why there are not more zinnias).  They were planted just a couple of weeks ago to fill in some of the bare spots: around the foundation of the house where shrubs were removed last year that had become too overgrown and in the northwest corner where a Carolina Sapphire Arizona Cypress died. Yesterday I transplanted some self-sown cleome into these same bare areas to add more height and texture later in the summer.

Cleome (Spider Flower)

The garden has never seemed so full of bees as it is this year. The Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) in the meditation circle is attracting them, and along the southern path so is Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion) and Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear). Bees also enjoy Tradescantia (Spiderwort) but I am currently battling its pushy encroachment.  The delight at seeing its first blooms has worn off and I am cutting down large cart loads of it to make room for other emerging perennials. My skin has become very sensitive to its sap and breaks out into a rash if in contact for very long.

Bee enjoying Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

This year I remembered to prune back the Buddleia in early February. That, plus the good rains we have had, encouraged it to a height of five feet and it soon will be providing some color in the western border.  Buddleia is now on a watch list for invasive plants in my area.  If it does not put on a much better show than last year, it will be easier for me to choose to remove it.

Buddleia (butterfly bush). [Maybe Buddleja davidii ‘Black Knight’]

I intend someday to locate the tag for this Coreopsis. It is a dwarf variety with lovely, strong color.


In front of a long row of Shasta Daisies, which grow along a sidewalk, is a tall spire of Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ (Butterfly Gaura). In its first year the gaura has not filled out very much and it is hard to tell if it is just in its sleep year or really does not like its location.

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ (Butterfly Gaura), Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Several Shasta Daisy buds are slowly, slowly unfolding.

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Achillea x ‘Appleblossom’ (Yarrow) is very floppy, especially in one area where the soil is heavy from clay and though amended, may not drain well enough. The flowers are cheerful anyway and are long-lasting when used in indoor arrangements.

Achillea x ‘Appleblossom’ (Yarrow)

Another plant with a lost tag, this Clematis is still forming a few flowers but has not been very showy this year.


Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) is starting to bloom around the garden and should provide color and flowers for cutting all summer.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

A Perennial Sweet Pea is entwined among salvia, chrysanthemums, yarrow and daylilies in the southern border. Unlike annual sweet peas, this is not fragrant but I enjoy its old-fashioned appeal.

Perennial Sweet Pea

8 thoughts on “Basking In The May Flower Garden

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Things bloomed so early this year I wasn’t sure what would be the flowers left to shine May, but nature worked it all out. Thanks for your comment.

  1. Cathy

    I’m constantly amazed at your garden! So many blooms already! I will have to wait a while for most of these plants to flower here. The funny thing is, I also sowed some Cleome and have been reluctant to plant them out yet as I know the mice will love them… they already ate most of my sweet pea seedlings! 😀 (Must put them in soon though, they’re bursting their pots!)
    Thanks again for showing all your lovely flowers!

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      This has been a fortunate gardening year in my area. Hope it lasts a bit longer. Then I’ll look forward to seeing pictures of your blooms. Good luck with the cleome and sweet peas. Hope they get a chance to grow up! I think cleome is a really interesting plant.

  2. Janet at Planticru Notes

    May is a lovely time of year in the garden, although your May is very different to our May! Until a week ago it was only a high of about 8C and low of about 2C. This week it’s more seasonally normal at about 20C. No wonder the plants are confused! I would love to see humming birds on our Monarda…

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Here also the weather has been unseasonal, warm in our case, so many things bloomed very early. No hummingbirds yet, but friends have reported them nearby at feeders, which I no longer bother with.


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