Vibrant Blooms At Mid-May

Paeonia 'Festiva Maxima'

Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’

At mid-May there is a profusion of flowers as the garden launches a noticeable shift toward summer. Several very hot days last week signaled it was time, and although the temperatures quickly moderated, the transition was underway.

The days are dry, clear and sunshiny. After the luxury of ample rains throughout winter and early spring, I am having to water some of the new shrubs and other recent purchases.

I am fairly new to the world of peonies and I wonder what took me so long to understand their allure. Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’ was at its best this past week. Meanwhile Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ is just getting started with its display.

Paeonia 'Festiva Maxima'

Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’

Paeonia 'Festiva Maxima'

Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’

Paeonia 'Pink Parfait' (Peony)

Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Peony)

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ has been reliable for years while other clematis have come and gone. I added two new ones this spring. It has been blooming for a full month and continues to add new flowers.

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

I love having white plants in the garden and have long admired white clematis. This new Clematis ‘Henryi’ is tucked into a corner against the house where the fence begins.

Clematis 'Henryi'

Clematis ‘Henryi’

Also new this spring, Clematis ‘Niobe’ is promised as one that will bloom all summer and I hope eventually it will add interest along the stark white fence at the northern boundary.

Clematis 'Niobe'

Clematis ‘Niobe’

A pass-along yarrow opened up this week in the southern border. Echinacea is opening in the southern side path as well in many parts of the main garden.

Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow)

Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

After a beautiful season many of the bearded irises are looking tired, just as the Siberian iris are gaining strength. These Siberians were, guess what, pass-alongs! A Chapel Hill friend rescued for me from her neighbor’s divisions one year.

Iris sibirica (Siberian Iris)

Iris sibirica (Siberian Iris)

I pulled out the blue pansies on one side of the meditation circle last weekend and added white angelonia. Already the tamer color scheme appeals to me.

Angelonia ’Serena White’

Angelonia ’Serena White’

Even without the meditation circle remains vivid this week as the red snapdragons continue to thrive, making it a difficult choice to remove them. I have more of the angelonia waiting to replace the snapdragons though so I must be disciplined and discard them soon. Adding to the energy in this area are two dozen Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue). I like the rich foliage topped with delicate white flowers.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)-2

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)-2

The original planting in the labyrinth started with about 3 Husker Reds and many Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple.’ Only one Pike’s Peak Purple remains but Husker Red has been increasing. I have been encouraging every visitor to the garden to take some home. It is valuable for it evergreen foliage.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)-2

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)-2

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Penstemon  mexicali 'Pike's Peak Purple' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue)

I added several new Penstemon x mexicali ‘Red Rocks’ to the garden this year, though not in the meditation circle. Having either purple or red in the name of a plant does not always mean red.

Penstemon x mexicali (Red Rocks Penstemon)

Penstemon x mexicali (Red Rocks Penstemon)

The view from the garden bench is filled with blooms. Soft breezes stir the chimes. Towhees, robins, cardinals and an especially persistent Carolina Wren add to the pleasure.

Meditation Circle

Meditation Circle

24 thoughts on “Vibrant Blooms At Mid-May

  1. rickii

    The white clematis looks so great against the white fence. I bought my first Clematis (other than Armandii) the other day. Don’t know what’s taken me so long.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      I wonder which one you bought? I’ll check your blog. I’ve had several that didn’t last more than a year–probably not ideal locations. Hoping these will be happy.

      Reply
  2. Julie

    Your Peonies are gorgeous Susie – we are much further behind you, Bearded Irises have only just opened although I have a couple of Siberian Irises just opening too. I planted Echinacea and an Achillea millefolium ‘Cerise Queen’ yesterday as small plants and hoping they catch up quick and flower this Summer.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Julie. I definitely am enjoying the peonies this year more than ever before. You have many nice things to look forward to. From the pictures I found online ‘Cerise Queen’ looks similar to the one I have.

      Reply
  3. mattb325

    The peonies are such a lovely selection and the circle still looks fantastic in its bright red coat – the flowers are all very beautiful, and I especially like the clematis – their flowers are always so relaxing to admire 🙂

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Hi Matt. The circle’s red coat must soon go but I have enjoyed the richness it adds to the garden. Really am excited about the new clematis.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      I’ve spent more time photographing the garden this week than working in it. Must get some serious cleanup done soon. Overall this spring has been ideal. The flowers seem very content. Thanks Stepheny.

      Reply
  4. gardeninacity

    I love ‘Husker Red’ and have quite a lot of it, but it won’t bloom for at least three weeks. Also love Clematis ‘Henryi’ and ‘Niobe’ – great color!

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      You’re still in tulip season there. They’ve been gone a while here. Husker Red is so reliable. I’m really hoping the clematis like it in my garden this time.

      Reply
  5. Cathy

    I don’t know why I am always surprised, as I have followed your garden long enough, but the fact that you have Echinacea and Achillea in flower in May is amazing! I have also planted a pink yarrow (a few actually) and seeing yours I am so glad…. my other one is yellow, and a little brash. Your snapdragons are still looking so pretty and it would be a shame to pull them out. Any space for them in a different spot? I can see the Angelonia goes much better with the Penstemon though. The contrasting tall stems are lovely. It must be so nice to sit on the bench and look at that lovely view and dream about what to plant next in your circle! 🙂

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Cathy, I tried sitting on that bench this morning with a cup of coffee and before I was halfway through I was up pulling at grass and weeds! The Echinacea took me a bit by surprise too this year. I’m not ready to let spring go.

      Reply
      1. Cathy

        I’m just the same – can’t sit still in the garden for 5 minutes… unless it is in someone else’s garden! LOL!

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Judy, I’ve always heard peonies do better in a cold area so your must be getting ready to be spectacular. We had a cold winter here and the peonies, rhododendrons and a number of other things seem to be blooming better than ever.

      Reply
  6. lindachilton

    Your peonies are exotically beautiful. I love that tiny touch of raspberry in the white one. Penstemon Huskers Red has a great form, I think, with that straight red stem. But no Penstemon lives long here. They can’t take the cold winter winds. I love the white planting round your circle.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Linda. I keep trying different things in the labyrinth and always come back to white as my favorite color. It adds serenity.

      Reply
  7. Christina

    Niobe is a lovely clematis and should reward you with its blooms for long periods in summer; your whole garden is awash with colour! May really is the month for all the plants to bloom. I hope I will be able to sit on that bench with you and enjoy this view of your garden.

    Reply
  8. P&B

    Lovely peonies you have, and such a beautiful color ‘Niobe’. Let us know if it blooms through summer. It’s hard to find clematis that will bloom that long; the ‘Betty Corning’ is one of them. The flower is much smaller though.

    Reply

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