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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bloom Day - May 2012

GBBD May Header
Another Bloom Day...they seem to always sneak up on me, for some strange reason. I swore this month I'd work ahead and get lots of pics ready for the post...but I somehow managed to catch a cold during the hottest weekend of the year. We've had 4 days in a row where we almost hit 90°...ouch! We don't typically expect hot, dry weather until almost July...and I have to say, after more than a week without rain, I'm missing it (as does the newly-planted parking strip). Usually we can count on cool, wet weather until at least the middle of June...but this has been an odd year, weather-wise, hasn't it!

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Allium 'Purple Sensation' and Amsonia hubrichtii
Enough of my whining, you came here for blooms...so let's get on with the show! May is an awesome time in the garden...bare earth is disappearing fast and the floral display is just ramping up. Here is the path into the backyard, framed by Allium 'Purple Sensation' and Amsonia hubrichtii. Right after I took this pic I cut the Muhlenbergia capillaris back...which I'd somehow forgotten to do yet...oops.

Knautia melton pastelsKnautia macedonica
Knautia 'Melton Pastels'Knautia macedonica
The Knautia on the left, 'Melton Pastels' is one of the few plants I've grown intentionally from seed (in other words, not counting self-seeding plants). I have to say, there is something unbelievably gratifying about seeing it bloom this year. Last year, they grew substantial rosettes of foliage, but never flowered. This year, they've exploded upward...surpassing even the straight Knautia macedonica in height. These are at least 4' tall...can't wait to see what colors they are. The Knautia on the right is one of 3 I got from Joy Creek Nursery a few years ago. I had them planted in one of the worst spots in my garden, unfortunately, and moved them right before frost last fall. I'm never sure if plants moved so late will recover, but they are tough and all 3 made it to see another summer.

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Purple Bearded Iris
The purple Iris I inherited with the house are still going strong...I keep popping them randomly in the garden whenever I have to dig up a spot they are already in...and I'm digging the diffuse display of the scattered purple blooms.

Geranium Katherine Adele
Geranium 'Katerine Adele'
I moved this Geranium to the north hell strip last fall, not knowing how it would respond to the indignity of such a late move...it rewarded me by staying green all winter long (granted, we didn't really have winter this year) and is bigger than ever before now. It does tend to look pretty ratty after it's done blooming...at which time I'll cut it to the ground so it can re-sprout fresh, new foliage.

Allium Gladiator
Allium
Although I could have swore I planted 2 different types of Allium last fall ('Purple Sensation' and A. atropurpureum), I'm pretty sure they are all 'Purple Sensation'...or they are just the only ones that came up. I do have a few of these lighter pink ones, however, which I'm pretty sure are 'Gladiator'. Oh well...who cares what they are called...they are still beautiful.

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Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve'Geranium macrorrhizum
The Erysimum is one of several plants that suffered in the front garden (which, sadly, has THE WORST SOIL on my site) for years. Last summer, I finally decided to move them...and if they died, they died...I was just sick of looking at sick plants everytime I walked up to the house. Amazingly, even though I plopped them in a spot which is un-irrigated and in less-than-optimal sun, they have done well...better than they ever did in front! Geranium macrorrhizum is another plant great for problem areas...beautiful and fragrant.

Centranthus ruber
Centranthus ruber
I moved a few of these last year after they flopped all over...and they seem much happier here in the north parking strip, where the soil is better-drained and they get dappled all-day shade.

Columbine Tequila Sunrise
Columbine 'Tequila Sunrise'
I can't help but love Columbines...even if I know that when summer's heat arrives, they'll crisp and disappear...oh well...I can't imagine not seeing their cheerful blooms in the spring garden. As a bonus, this year I'm finally seeing lots of little Columbine seedlings around the adult plants!

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Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster'
The perennials aren't the only ones blooming...the cool-season grasses are starting to bloom as well...here is a Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster', newly-planted this spring in the front garden.

Stipa giganteaDeschampsia Tatra Gold
Stipa giganteaDeschampsia 'Tatra Gold'
I have to say, I'm SUPER-excited about my Stipa gigantea blooming! Granted, at the moment, they blooms are only a few feet tall...nowhere near the 8'-10' they could be in a few years, but still...it's awesome to know the plant is happy enough in this spot to bloom. I had considered moving it this spring to the front parking strip, worrying that it would compete visually with the Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster' nearby. I decided, eventually, that the effects of them were different enough that they should be fine...but time will tell. The Deschampsia was a total impulse buy this spring...I just saw that amazing golden foliage and had to have it.

Verbena Homstead Purple
Verbena 'Homestead Purple'
I'm happy to say this year 'Homestead Purple' is finally living up to its reputation for floriferousness. The past few years, it has struggled to do much, but it seems very happy at the moment.

Picotee Iris
I couldn't for the life of me figure out where this Iris came from, they remembered my dad had sent me a bunch of Iris seeds a few years ago (when we first bought the house). I planted them in pots in the (then-trashed) backyard and forgot about them. I found the pots last year, couldn't remember what they were exactly and just planted them randomly in whatever space I had. Amazingly, they are blooming this year...and are so pretty! This one is much shorter than the Iris I inherited with the house, topping out at around 18' tall...just love that picotee edge!

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It seems that with our non-winter and recent warm spell, things are fast-tracking it this year. I'm pretty sure the Astrantia are at least 2 weeks (or more) ahead of schedule this year. I've been wanting to divide and move all the hundreds of seedlings to some bare spots in the garden...but the warm, dry weather has kept me from attempting it. If we get a few days of cool, rainy weather soon, I'll hope to it!

astrintia ruby wedding  1652Anthriscus and Allium 2
Astrantia 'Ruby Wedding'Anthriscus sylvestris 'Ravenswing'
'Ruby Wedding' is the first of the backyard Astrantias to bloom...love that rich, ruby color. I've always been lustful of Anthriscus when I've seen it in other people's gardens...and when I found some for sale at Joy Creek last year, I knew it was time to have some of my own. I know that I should probably cut the flowers back to preserve the lovely, dark foliage...but I really love the frothy, white umbels...especially in contrast to the surrounding Alliums.

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The Amsonia on the east side of the house is really coming into its own this year...it's WAY ahead of schedule and is already blooming. While the flowers are nice...the best part about this plant is the amazing fall coloring.

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Allium 'Purple Sensation'
Since I just did a whole post on them, I won't go on and on about Alliums...let's just enjoy the photo ;-)

Corydalis Bronze Beauty
I got 2 of these plants as seedlings, started by Ryan Miller...they look amazing all year long...with their wonderful, ferny foliage...and they are blooming machines right now!

Bicolor Irispersicaria bistorta  1660
Bicolor IrisPersicaria bistorta 'Superba'
On the left is another of the Iris seedlings my dad sent me...this one is bicolored...and TALL! It's over 4' tall right now...and towers over the other iris. 'Superba' is the first of the Persicarias to bloom! It's shorter than most of the others (only about 18" tall), but spreads by underground runners to form colonies over time.

North Border
As we wrap up this Bloom Day Post...I leave you with a wide view of the North Border looking east, toward 17th street. You may notice some feathered invaders...those are our neighbor's chickens, which greatly enjoy roaming around the garden, looking for tasty morsels. If I could train them to NOT trample young spround and feast on the dastardly cutworms, I'd be a happy man.

Front Yard
The front yard is filling in nicely this spring...and the 'Tiger Eyes' Sumac is poised to become the focal point of this border. I'm so pleased that it finally seems happy. I'm equally happy to report that (knock on wood) it hasn't produced any runners so far.

Back yard
The back yard is so full already, it's hard to believe it's only May! I look back at pictures from only a month ago and can't believe how much growth can happen in a months' time.

Bicolor Iris
For more Bloom Day goodness, visit Carol and May Dreams Garden!

57 comments:

  1. Lovely post. I enjoy reading your thoughts, although your photos are so beautiful they don't need words. Are you a professional photographer? I also cannot believe how fast your back area has filled in....love your feathered friends.

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    1. Awww...thanks, Darla...nope, just a hobbyist photographer here...but wouldn't it be nice to get paid for it!

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  2. Everything is looking beautiful! I love your parking strips in the front.Your neighborhood is lucky that they get to enjoy them, as well. And of course, your photography, as always, is stunning. Heather

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    1. Thank, Heather! Yeah...I'm pretty happy with how the parking strips have turned out so far :-)

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  3. Hi Scott,

    I know exactly how you feel about having the posts ready before the day... Normally I aim for the same but this time I've had to throw something together tonight and as a result there's barely anything because I don't have the energy :D

    Beautiful photos though and I love the Alliums. I can't wait until all mine are out -beginning to open now - and it's always a happy time when I can get snap happy!

    Your garden is looking wonderful, and definitely it's amazing how much things can grow in just a few weeks.

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    1. OMG...that's exactly it...I either end up throwing together something totally uninspiring quickly...or spending more time than I should...but being late, as a result! I'm so excited for your Alliums...mine are just about done right now...pity :-(

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  4. Very exceptional Scott! Thanks for sharing your time.

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    1. Thanks, Greggo...glad you enjoyed it!

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  5. Scott,

    Love your blooms. The alliums are exceptional.

    My irises only started, but Schreiners had free Mother's Day bouquets for moms who visited; and that is a welcome addition to my kitchen.

    And the persicaria... I just bought Red Dragon at a plant sale, and wish I had bought more. Then my house mate dug up Superba by mistake. I will have to replace that one.

    This is such a pretty time of year. I love all the blooms.

    Yael

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    1. OMG...I just went to Schreiner's this past weekend (I just did a post on it) and it was AMAZING!!!!! The good thing about 'Red Dragon' is that you can take cuttings, root them in water and plant them in the garden for new plants. I have one that I did that with 2 years ago and it's already a good-sized clump :-)

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  6. Hey, if you can't whine about the weather on your own blog...besides, whining is a good contrast for the reader to those fricking amazing plants you're growing. Looks like Ryan gave you a mystery cordyalis. I agree, so exciting when Stipa gigantea blooms! I wasn't sure how it'd like zone 10, so I share you relief. If only astrantia liked it here!

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    1. Hahahahaha...you're totally right! Oops...that's right...I think it's Corydalis 'Bronze Beauty'...isn't it lovely! Glad to hear your Stipa is doing well...you just never know, do you!

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  7. Absolutely beautiful! In a strange way, I'm kinda jealous of your neighbours chickens. Almost has a key west kind of feel.

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    1. I have a total love/hate relationship with them. I think they are so cute, and it's very charming to see them walking around the area...but they do tend to trample things and dig things up :-(

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  8. Your blooms are wonderful!! Love the combo of Alliums and Amsonia. That photo of the allium closeup with the shadows on it is REALLLLLLYYYY nice. I like it! That picture with the chickens just made me laugh.

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    1. I just love Alliums in just about every situation...and yes, the chickens are pretty adorable ;-)

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  9. I look forward to seeing what you'll post on Bloom Day. I'm still writing mine. My Jupiter's beard is just starting to open up. I'm surprised we can grow some of the same things since our climates are so different.

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    1. I know...it's amazing just how adaptable some plants are, right?!?

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  10. Looking great. I am so envious of your Alliums. Next year add some A. christophii and A. scubertii to the mix.

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    1. I totally will...do you have a preferred source for them?

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  11. Things certainly are filling up fast all we need is a bit more rain and a bit more sun and we're away !

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    1. Luckily, we seem to be getting a decent amount of both this year...but that could all change, I suppose...fingers crossed for nice weather!

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  12. Splendid photos Scott ! I planted P. superba last fall, purchased at Digging Dogs Oct. plant sale. Not doing much at this point, so I am waiting for 'second year leap'.
    The chicken action shot..love it !

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    1. Mine definitely slept the first year too...I thought for sure it was just going to go belly-up and die on me...but it seems better this year...hopefully next year I get the "Leap"!

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  13. Your garden is looking great! Your flowers are ahead of mine, although many of my same flowers aren't far off. I planted sever 'Karl's last fall and had no idea when they bloomed. I'll have to check mine.
    The weather has been amazing! We've been in the low 80's but it's supposed to cool down tomorrow. Is it bad that I'm already sick of watering? :)

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    1. OMG...I was so sick of watering too! It seems like I'm a little spoiled, not having to usually even think of watering until almost July!

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  14. Beautiful blooms. I am surprised though that you have a neighbor in the city with chickens. Usually they are not permitted in areas that aren't agriculture.

    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Portland allows hens...just not roosters (the noise issue)!

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  15. Your shots are gorgeous, as always. You really know how to use light to best advantage! The irises and alliums are especially beautiful.

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    1. Awww...thanks, Jennifer...light can be our best friend, or our worst enemy...that's for sure !

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  16. Scott your garden is looking SO GOOD! Hope you're feeling better so now that the weather is cooling down a bit you'll be able to get back out and enjoy it.

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    1. Totally...those few hot days kind of did me in, I think...but I'm better now...although that rain storm on Monday wasn't my fave.

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  17. This year I decided to give up with memes to follow: I was always late and as I'm pretty apprehensive about deadlines this caused me a lot of stress. But I cannot be late on your always belated GBBD, can I? B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L plants, blooms and pictures! I don't know what else to say! You tricked me with that muhly grass, when I saw the picture I thought 'what is that pretty muhly grass like grass he has in flower now?' Then I got it! :)
    Knautia is a plant that scares me, with no why really, I need to face my fears and give it a try this year! Never too late to plant some stuff!
    I like your Geranium 'Katerine Adele', I have a similar one. It looks as if someone wiped a dirty pan with its leaves, doesn't it?

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    1. You're probably smarter than me on that count, Alberto! Hahahahahaha...I know, I felt so silly for not cutting it back yet...I don't know what I was waiting for...I cut everything else back months ago! Knautia is totally great...you should give it a try...it reseeds around, but no worse than Verbena bonariensis :-)

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  18. I miss the rain too--I wasn't expecting to be hand-watering new plants at this point in the year. Your garden looks GORGEOUS.

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    1. OMG...I know! It probably wouldn't be so bad if I hadn't JUST planted the front parking strip the previous week...oops!

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  19. I always enjoy your beautiful photos. I am sure you intentionally created a heaven for eyes with your front yard, but probably were not expecting to also have created a heaven for chickens!

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    1. Hahahahahaha...isn't that the truth...darn chickens...at least they're cute ;-)

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  20. The iris with the edge might be 'Going My Way'. It's a classic.

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  21. The lesson I am taking away from this post is: don't hesitate to keep moving things around until they are happy. It sure works for you!

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    1. FOR SURE! I used to be hesitant about moving things...now I just do it. I figure I might as well move them and get it over with ;-)

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  22. Great look at what's blooming in your garden. I have Centranthus Alba and it consistently falls over until this year, I put a circle support around them. It looks great and you do not see the supports.

    Eileen

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    1. Mine too, actually...they always tend to flop over by the time they bloom...I always forget about it though, until it's too late...I'll learn eventually, right?

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  23. So many beautiful plants. The photo with the neighbours chickens is very quaint. I hope they don't ruin too much.

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    1. They aren't too bad, really...I'm just a bit anal about my garden...so tend to pace nervously about when I see them out there ;-)

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  24. okay...that picture with the chickens roaming is HILARIOUS! I like the black pea gravel (???) y'all have in the path to the little table. Looks really modern. Great pictures!

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    1. Hahahaha...glad you like it :-) The gravel is actually just quarter-ten...the cheapest stuff there is...it just happend to be wet from rain...but I agree...I love it when it's dark like that...the contrast with all the green foliage is wonderful!

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  25. The Knautias and Astrantias are luscious. Your photos make me want to run out and get those plants right now! And the Columbine photo is so mystical! Hope you're feeling better!

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    1. Thanks...I'm on the mend, for sure...and you should definitely try both the Knautias and Astrantias...given the right conditions, they are easy as pie!

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  26. Love, love, love looking at your photos! The alium photo is absolutely beautiful. Geranium 'Katerine Adele' is so pretty, as well as Astrantia. As for your irises with the pretty edges... they came from our Lot. I do not know what they are either, so I looked up the iris Hoover Boo suggested and I think that's correct. The Centranthus ruber on the Lot is going to flop over into a walkway. Any secrets for dividing or transferring it to another site? Last but not least, happy belated Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day!

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    1. Thanks Jane! You know, the only thing that seems to be keeping my Centranthus from flopping this year is that I moved it to one of our parking strips, where I'm not watering it...and the soil is well-drained (well, more so than other places on our property)!

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  27. I love your centranthus. It doesn't do well in our humid climate. The picture of the chickens cracked me up. You need a Chicken Crossing sign! I don't blame them for loving your garden. :o)

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    1. I can believe it...we had a few humid days last summer and it positively wilted into nothingness...it was totally surprising, as it had looked so good right up until that point!

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  28. I love Columbine 'Tequila Sunrise' in front of the dark foliage! Brilliant pairing. I just saw Anthriscus sylvestris 'Ravenswing' for the first time this week. It is so perfect for growing with the Allium, which I totally agree - there are never enough Allium! Everything looks so beautiful in your garden, Scott! Looking forward to seeing more of your new back garden this summer!
    Julie

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    1. Glad you like that combo...it's one I'm fond of as well...the dark foliage is Clematis recta 'Purpurea', which is just now starting to green up...but for the few months the foliage is purple, it's so worth it!

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  29. What a treat this post has been! The photography is breathless, as always; but of course, you had such photogenic subjects.

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