A Few May Highlights

Even with my normal blinders on I have noticed some rather brash weeds, one standing as tall as the iris the other day. Despite that, the garden this spring has been enchanting—a peaceful and meditative place that also is happily filled with flowers.

A peony novice, I appreciate them more every year. The first I planted several years ago was  Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ and it has just bloomed in the last two days. The cold winter was good for it I guess, as it is loaded with blooms. Last year, just when Pink Parfait’s flowers opened, severe rainstorms turned them into a soggy mess. This spring is different. In the last three weeks we have had heavy, heavy rain, but all coming in a single day—not ideal for the garden in general, but the peonies are lasting better.

Paeonia 'Pink Parfait' (Peony)

Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Peony)

Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint) makes a nice companion plant for the peony.

Paeonia 'Pink Parfait' (Peony)

Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Peony)

And the Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint) has also worked great with my passalong phlox.

Nepeta 'Walker's Low' (Catmint), Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint), Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

The Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William) in the northern border continues to add rich texture and color (and as a bonus it holds up well in a vase). One of the nearly black bearded iris is still blooming nearby.

Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William)

Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William)

Last year I had the idea to create a red border (and it could still happen, but I am not actively working on it). With that in mind though last April I planted Digitalis purpurea ‘Pam’s Choice’ in the southern border to accompany a new white peony and a new dark red one. None of them bloomed last year and the dark red peony seems not to have survived, but Pam’s Choice is looking great.

Digitalis purpurea 'Pam's Choice' (Pam's Choice Foxglove)

Digitalis purpurea ‘Pam’s Choice’ (Pam’s Choice Foxglove)

Forming part of the walls of the labyrinth, a large planting of Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) has been flowering for 4 or 5 days. These evergreen plants have seeded generously and I have been able to establish them in several other parts of the garden as well.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue) in the Meditation Circle

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) in the Meditation Circle

The penstemon in the meditation circle need to be divided and the pansies are overdue for removal.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

A potted Hippeastrum (Amaryllis), kept over the winter in the garage, bloomed successfully this spring. Now there are two blooming outdoors in the southern border, which I find more exciting. They have been growing outside for a number of years but do not always flower well.

Hippeastrum (Amaryllis)

Hippeastrum (Amaryllis)

A little ground cover planted last year looked just ok during the winter but it has filled out with lots of dainty blue flowers and is creeping between the stepping stones near the north gate. Its name is Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper).

Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper)

Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper)

Another addition to the garden last spring was this dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea, now sporting a lone flower. Named ‘Ruby Slippers,’ it is supposed to have beautiful red fall color, both leaves and flowers. Although this has become a rather shady location, Phlox paniculata still seems perfectly happy, as seen in the background.

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers'  (Lil' Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

A garden club friend gave me some yellow Primrose this spring with the warning it spreads like crazy.  Last year I refused the same plant for that very reason. If anyone recognizes it and can give me some details on it I would appreciate it.

Primrose

Primrose

This was a tag-along plant from the primrose. Does anyone recognize it?

Tag along from the yellow primrose

There are three Baptisias in the garden, none of which perform well to my dismay. The deer stripped every flower off the stems of one that lives outside the fenced area just as I began to hold high hopes for it this year. The other two are underachievers, though to be fair, both are perhaps a bit crowded. I love the blue color of the flowers.

Baptisia australis (blue false indigo)

Baptisia australis (blue false indigo)

Along the southern side path plants often decide for themselves where they like to sit. Some years I make suggestions, but this year they have had free rein and I actually love the loose, effusive effect of letting them have their own way. (Self-seeded cleome will have to be removed from the path itself.) The very first bearded iris to bloom were these yellow ones and they are still putting on a show.

Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear) Along Southern Path

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) Along Southern Path

Along this path Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) and white Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion) began blooming about a week ago. The red Lychnis did not make it this year.

Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear) and Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) and Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)

This tall verbena took hold along the path last year and seems content as the evening approaches.

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

25 thoughts on “A Few May Highlights

  1. Chloris

    You have some beautiful plants in bloom. I love your peony., it’s such a soft pink. Digitalis Pam’s Choice is lovely and I wish I could grow Phlox like that.
    I think your Evening Primrose is Oenothera fruticosa.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Chloris thanks the nice comments and for the ID of Oenothera fruticosa. Just looked it up and Oenothera fruticosa is native here and to much of eastern North America. Susie

      Reply
  2. Julie

    Your plants are all looking very healthy and lovely. I think I have been given a cutting of the oak leaf hydrangea, I shall be delighted if it turns out like yours. I do not recognise the mystery tag along plant, the markings are very striking though.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Julie, hope your oak leaf hydrangea does well for you. This one is a dwarf variety. I have seen them grow very large otherwise but they’re quite beautiful if you have the room.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      I will take heed Marian. It does look like persicaria. No need to take a chance. (Hope it’s not too late to get rid of it. Ha!)

      Reply
  3. johnvic8

    I think Marian is correct. I’m about 98% sure it is persicaria. The stripes are a dead giveaway. Look for my post later this week about a weekend in the NC mountains. I will include a picture of what I believe is persicaria that I found in the woods there. It was a return trip for me, and I wrote about an earlier visit (including mistaking persicaria for trillium) in my Guess What’s in My Garden! Your garden is a blessing…what lovely color, backed by the thoughtfulness you have obviously put into it. Thanks and keep it coming.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks very much John for the nice comments about my garden. Also, thanks for helping out to identify persicaria. I went out and dug it up (bringing one of the primroses with it, but why take chances). Look forward to seeing your future post. Susie

      Reply
  4. Born To Organize

    What a beautiful, healthy garden. I love purples and whites together with a touch of pink. It’s my favorite combination.

    I’m so glad spring arrived in your neck of the woods.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Alys. Sometimes I’m surprised by how much pink I ended up with, but it works with the blue/purples and white. It is nice to have spring and with the temperatures rising, it is starting to feel like summer. Susie

      Reply
  5. P&B

    Lovely! Your Sweet Williams and Woodland phlox are so beautiful. They make you stay in the garden, aren’t they? Their scent! It seems like you are a month ahead of us here in the Northeast.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Pris. Those Sweet William and phlox are my favorites. The garden has had a nice fragrance drifting all around us this spring, even wafting in through the windows. Everyone in your area must be feeling such relief after coming through the past winter. Hope your garden rewards you well.

      Reply
  6. Cathy

    Your plats are all looking very happy and healthy Susie. The weather seems to have suited them. I also tried to grow Blue Star Creeper, but I think the snails have eaten it! The peony looks beautiful with the catmint as a backdrop – lovely colour combination!

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Cathy. Too bad about your Blue Star Creeper. Snails really seem to be problematic for you (my nemesis right now: moles!). Spring here has been wonderful, but too dry. That catmint has been a great plant and I plan to move some to some different areas.

      Reply
  7. Pauline

    That was a wonderful stroll through your lovely garden, so many beautiful flowers. I liked all your Penstemnon Husker Red and your beautiful foxglove!, I suppose these two are similar in flower, just different sizes!

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Hi Pauline, glad you enjoyed the look around. I noticed through the pictures the stem of the husker red is the exact color of the red accent on the foxglove. Susie

      Reply
  8. Christina

    What an enjoyable walk through your May garden Susie. I liked the pathway with Stachys byzantina and Lychnis coronaria, they work very well together, both plants I have but not together. The peony with nepeta is another good combination, lovely.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Christina, I have to be ruthless with the Stachys at times, but I do enjoy it with the Lychnis. I am really missing the red Lychnis this spring and will have to get some seeds. Don’t know why the red would be harder to retain. Nepeta has proven to be a valuable addition to the garden.

      Reply
      1. Christina

        Usually it is the white variety of a plant that is the weaker and rarer so it is strange that your red has died. Nepeta are great hard working plants that form a lovely backdrop to many other plants.

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