Wildflowers Of May*


The month of May has many highlights in the blooming department. Many are native to our area, including Spiderwort, Tradescantia virginiana. This is a bit of an overexuberant self sower, but the blue and sometimes purple flowers add spice to the shady areas.


Blue eyed grass, Sisyringium montanum a passalong from our mailman Claude is the sweetest of flowers. It does not spread at all except with division by the gardener. Claude is now retired, but his gifts for the garden are a constant reminder of our friendship. I do hope he is now spending all day every day in his own beloved garden. I know that was his plan.


Another gift from Claude, Spigelia marilandica is just beginning its show.


Growing nearby is the clumping grass that has been allowed to naturalize for the sprays of delicate dotted wands are captivating. Can anyone identify it?


Most of the wild geraniums here other than G. maculatum have insignificant flowers. That is my index finger holding this still for the photo shoot to give you some perspective of size of the bloom on Geranium carolinianum. Most have whitish to very light pink flowers, but a couple of spots in the Fairegarden hold colonies of this darker bloom.


It is not the flowers that are prized of these geraniums, but rather the later leaf color and seedpod. The common name of Cranesbill comes from the shape of the black seeds, quite artistic. The red leaf plant is Lysimachia ciliata, a thug but useful in hard to grow places.


Not really a wildflower but a native nonetheless is the Southern Northern Maidenhair Fern, Adiatum pedatum. (Thanks Sandra for the correct identification!) It has outlived most all of the other plantings in the first hypertufa trough that was made several years ago. In fact, it has increased in size to have taken over nearly the entire growing area, which is fine by us.


Like so many of the inherited wildflowers here, the red clover, Trifolium pratense was once considered a weed and was pulled. No more, since the enlightment.


Last year several Culver’s Root, Veronicastrum virginicum plants were added after noticing that our favorite local nursery Mouse Creek had them. This was a plant used extensively in gardens as seen in the books and articles written by and about Dutch plantsman and designer Piet Oudolf. I was hoping for a more upright plant, but the bud formation is intriguing. Stakes are at the ready.


Oakleaf Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Alison’ has grown by leaps and bounds. ‘Alison’ grows 8′- 10′ high and is a clone discovered and named about the same time as ‘Alice’. It is also broader spreading than ‘Alice’. Found by Michael A. Dirr, on the Geogia campus and named after Alison Arnold, one of his master of science students. It is going to be a banner year for all the hydrangeas from the looks of the bud formations, some have never ever bloomed, always zapped by late frosts and/or drought.


The naturally occuring Ox Eye Daisy, Leucanthemum vulgare is blooming in abundance. Most get pulled, for it can smother less vigorous neighbors and self sows rampantly, but we love the cottage look it gives and it is nearly indestructible.


Another wildflower that has popped up everywhere is some type of Euphorbia. It has yellow blooms and green leaves. I know this photo doesn’t give a clear enough image for identification, but I love the vibe of it.

We wish to thank dear friend and fellow traveler Gail of Clay And Limestone for hosting Wildflower Wednesday, the fourth Wednesday of each month.

Frances

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28 Responses to Wildflowers Of May*

  1. gardeningasylum says:

    That maidenhair fern is such a delicate beauty – the native maidenhair up here isn’t quite as nice. Glad someone else likes the l.ciliata – it grows here in the woods with hesperis where nothing else will work. Lovely images!

    Thanks Cyndy. The southern version is so delicate on the black stems, yet very tough and hardy. As for the Lysimachia, I was alarmed at the spreading, but as you say, it will grow under the worst conditions. It is amongst the running Kerria in very dry shade. I pull what comes into the path, it does come up easily, thank goodness. :-)
    Frances

  2. lotusleaf says:

    We have a similar dotted grass which is loved by children. The little ones cover the ‘dot’ with thin foil and lo! there is a silver spray!

    Oh that sounds enchanting, Lotusleaf. It really is a fun grasss, and pops up all over in the shadier parts of the yard. Wish I knew the name. :-)
    Frances

  3. Liisa says:

    Frances, what a beautiful post for Wildflower Wednesday. The Sisyringium montanum and Spigelia marilandica are just beautiful. I am wondering if your Euphorbia is the species palustris? Regardless, it is lovely. And, I love your whimsical garden bench. What a treasure!

    Thanks Liisa. I looked up that Euphorbie and it looks just like the one here, except ours never gets above three feet tall. But it is in dry soil, not constant moisture that the fine gardening article said it needed. Maybe with those conditions it would get that high? Thanks for helping. :-)
    Frances

  4. Valerie says:

    Frances: You have some lovely plants in your garden which are new to me. I love to see what grows in other gardens in places that are warmer than me. Valerie

    Thanks Valerie. I have learned about a lot of plants from reading books, magazine and especially seeing them on blogs. What is nice about the blogs is that questions can be asked about them. :-)
    Frances

  5. Darla says:

    Perhaps you, Gail and Tina will continue to enlighten me on the importance of natives. I am actually leaving ‘something’ alone to see what it does this year, I have plucked it for years…we will see.

    We’re workin’ in ya, Darla! lol It does tell us something when plants keep returning after we keep pulling them. Working WITH nature rather than against her is so much easier. :-)
    Frances

  6. Gail says:

    Frances, A wonderful Wildflower Wednesday post~You honor and celebrate them beautifully! I have to admit you have me stumped on the Euphorbia~We have a native, E corollata, but I cannot tell! Thank you for joining in. gail I would be glad to share a bit of Lysimachia quadrifolia (Whorled Loosestife)~just a bit is all you need!
    PS I forgot to say xxxoo

    Thank Gail. The Euphorbia shown has bright yellow flowers, in fact it is so close to habit and form as Chameleon, only green. Lysimachia does a little TOO well here, so I will have to decline your generous offer.
    xo,
    Frances

  7. What lovely flowers! The passalong plants are great–what wonderful gifts from your friend.

    Thanks Cameron. Claude was a good friend, took good care of our mail always and the plant exchange we shared was delightful. I hope he is enjoying being retired.
    Frances

  8. Janet says:

    Love the collection of natives blooming in your garden for May. Aren’t the fuzzy anthers of the Spiderwort wonderful?
    The bunnies ate all of my Blue-eyed Grass.
    :-(
    Hoping to have time to go back through some of your older posts to read about your trip.

    Thanks Janet. To be honest, I hadn’t noticed the fuzzies until looking at the macro shot, it happens like that often! lol So sorry about your blue eyed grass. Ours was moved to a less accessible spot to prevent the exact same thing from happening. It benefits from division for better bloom, too.
    Frances

  9. tina says:

    Good morning! Wildflowers are looking great in your garden. I now have hope my Indian pinks will bloom now that I’ve seen yours. You are so right about those hydrangeas. It is an incredible year! One I’ve only dreamed about since I moved to Tennessee since hydrangeas are my favorite shrub. Some are native too so I’m thinking a good subject for next months post. Have a great day!

    Hi Tina, thanks. My Spigelia just began to open. It is so late to emerge in the spring, I always worry that something has happened to it since the hellebores are trying to eat it. As for the hydrangeas, when we first moved here, we were told that one year out of six will have blooms. This must be the sixth. Hooray! :-)
    Frances

  10. wiseace says:

    Blue eyed grasses are really making the rounds these days. They just started blooming up here and I couldn’t resist posting a couple pics of them either.

    They are sweet, aren’t they? I will come visit to check your out. These have been open for a while but are still blooming. A good thing. :-)
    Frances

  11. Sweet Bay says:

    Blue-Eyed Grass grows wild here, but I have not been successful in transplanting it into the garden. (Oh well.) It is lovely and the cultivars really seem to be the hot new thing.

    I love the look of Maidenhair Fern but haven’t even attempted it, figuring I’ll kill it. Yet I saw your response to Cyndy; perhaps it’s tougher than it looks.

    I love Indian Pink. Such an unusual wildflower.

    Thanks Sweet Bay. The clump that Claude gave me was gigantic. It was so hot and dry then, I planted the whole thing by the faucet. It was split up and replanted in late winter which I believe to be the best time for moving it. Whenever I move or divide the Maidenhair, it looks like it’s dead but I keep watering until new growth appears. It does resent being disturbed but I would like to spread it around more. Water is key, like it is with so many things. :-)
    Frances

  12. Jenny B says:

    The red clover is very prevalent on the roadsides in Missouri. It is very showy en masse. Daisies always make me smile–and yours were no exception. Lovely wildflowers, Frances. Such a wide variety.

    Thanks Jenny. I am a bit afraid of the red clover, letting it only be down by the street in the middle wild island. My daughter Semi has huge swaths of it and it is delightful. I love the daisies as well, then pull them. :-)
    Frances

  13. All looking good!

    Thanks Dave.
    Frances

  14. Anna says:

    Enjoyed seeing what grows wild in your part of the world Frances. Hope that Claude is enjoying his retirement – he certainly left his mark in your garden.

    Thanks Anna. Claude’s gifts were the best of the best in the way of wildflowers and even a Mahonia that I cannot ID. He told me I had to know what it was to get it as he was holding the pot. I guessed right, but have never found the species. So Far. :-)
    Frances

  15. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Hi Frances, I just wrote a long comment then forgot to put in my name and email. It was all deleted. I hope two comments now pop up. Sorry if they do. They will be similar. grrrrr Anyway…lets see what did I say. Oh yes, I love seeing your wilds blooming. I don’t know grasses very well, can’t help you there. I have tried growing that fern several times without luck. Maybe I need to put it into a pot. They must not do well around here you rarely see them for sale. That should tell me something. Our hydrangeas look to be about to put on a magnificent show too. This year we didn’t have a late frost or freeze. Hopefully they will get enough water now to finish opening. Cheers.

    So sorry about the comment, Lisa. Thanks for trying again. Sometimes, lots of times blogger hates my wordpress open ID and I have to keep trying over and over again. Then it disappears. Hooray for your hydrangeas, we love them so and the flowers last so long, attractive dry as well. That fern was a passalong, I have never seen it for sale here. It might be on an endangered list actually. A little tricky to move or divide, but obviously needs excellent drainage. The soil less mix in the troughs is cactus mix. We could use some water from the sky too, didn’t get those rains that Nashville did, thank goodness.
    Frances

  16. nancybond says:

    All beauties, Frances. I like the fern very much; they grow like crazy in these parts. But I’m most partial to the daisies, I think. There’s something about them that speaks of innocence and simplicity. ;)

    Thanks Nancy. Glad to hear you have that fern, especially after others have had trouble with it. The daisies are sweet thugs. They make the other flowers look prettier as well. :-)
    Frances

  17. VW says:

    The bench in the last shot is so distinctive and pretty! And I just noticed the pictures in your sidebar of your steps in different seasons – stunning. It’s so hard to get wide view shots with great composition, but those look very good.

    Hi VW, thanks so much. While not very comfortable, I need to make a cushion for it, the bench is a nice accent in the garden. Thanks too for noticing the steps photos. It is nearly impossible to get a good shot of that spot, either too light or too dark, not at all how it looks to the human eye. I appreciate your kind words. :-)
    Frances

  18. Joanne says:

    Frances your photos make them all look quite exotic.

    Thanks Joanne. One woman’s weed is another’s wildflower. Most of these are quite common, so much so that they used to be pulled up because they were not planted by me. What a wrong headed way to garden! :-)
    Frances

  19. Sandra Jonas says:

    Hi Frances,
    Hate to do this but I’m sure you will appreciate the correction. The Maidenhair fern is Adiantum pedatum the Northern Naidenhair.
    Enjoy your blog very much.

    Hi Sandra, don’t hate to correct me! I do very much appreciate it, we want to have the right names for the plants and sometimes do not, whether by ignorance or misinformation from the generous folks who pass things along. I wondered how folks in Canada could see large swaths of this fern and felt since we live in the south that Southern it was, never questioned it. Now we know and have you to thank for it! I have corrected the post with a link to your lovely blog. :-)
    Frances

  20. Barbarapc says:

    I thought you’d risked life and limb again on a ladder for yet another spectacular photo when I saw the Veronicastrum – visions of you tethered in with your lavender coat hanging from your toes, when I read further and discovered that IT was doing the death defying tricks and not you. Have a patch in my garden – they were supposed to be pink but are white and every year they decide how and where they’re going to send their wands. A good plant.

    Oh gosh, Barbara, that makes me dizzy just reading about it! No need for raincoats here, we can’t seem to buy rain and it is nearly ninety degrees every day. I do hope some day to have to look up at this plant, but so far the flower stalk is well below my eye level. The flower seems to be a light blue violet, no species or cultivar name is known. There is another type with a slightly different leaf that is sending up buds now that might be different, we shall see. It is a good plant and difficult to find at nurseries here except my favorite Mouse Creek where all of these were purchased. :-)
    Frances

  21. Rose says:

    The Culver’s root is such an interesting looking plant; it’s a native here, too. And I love the spiderwort–I’m hoping I can get a free start one of these days from the Idea Garden. Thanks for all the info, Frances, and the great photos. I’m learning more and more about wildflowers through this meme.

    Hi Rose, thanks. It is good to learn about the wildflowers. I am a true novice about them, but with help from Gail and the book she so generously gave me, we are working on knowing and using them more. I strongly encourage you to add some to your lovely space. :-)
    Frances

  22. sequoiagardens says:

    Lovely last shot especially… looks like the same euphorbia that makes itself at home in my garden each spring. Hmmm. every 4th Wed = Wildflower Wed? I better diarise that, since I seem always to be writing about my wild flowers! Loved this post!

    Thanks Jack. I wonder about the euphorbia also being in your garden. That seems unlikely that it is a true native here then. It is soooo rampant that it could easily be an introduction from Africa or elsewhere. Do join in the wildflower Wednesday meme, I would love to see and learn more about yours. :-)
    Frances

  23. With all the rain we have had here in the Pacific NW I must say this post was like a glimpse at a sunny spring day…thanks so much it was much needed! Kim

    Hi Kim, so nice to see you here, thanks for droppin by. We are long on sun, short on rain here, let’s trade! :-)
    Frances

  24. Town Mouse says:

    What a fun tour. That photo of the daisy is spectacular!

    Thanks Ms. Mouse. Glad you liked the tour and the daisy shot, taken with the newer camera. It makes the perspective positively surreal on the 20x. :-)
    Frances

  25. Love this post about all your wild flowers. I’ve tried Maidenhair a couple of times now and had no luck but I love the look of it so I’ll keep trying. As for the clover, looks good, and I have to admit that I leave all the english daisy and buttercup and clover in our lawn and let it all be.

    Thanks Helen. The fern can be difficult to get going, lots of water in the beginning then quite drought tolerant once established. I would love to have those Bellis as a wildflower here, but we are just too hot and dry.
    Frances

  26. Rosie says:

    Frances there is so much I could comment on here but there is one thing in particular I would love some advice on. I had a trifolium plant in my hand last night at the garden centre unsure whether to buy it or not – I convinced myself (now that was quite hard!) that it looked too much like a clover and put it down again….. but now after seeing its blooms here I think I might just find a spot for it. Is it a rampant grower or clump forming and how long would the flowers last for?

    Many thanks Rosie :)

    Hi Rosie, thanks. The red clover can be aggressive, but nothing like the running white flowered type. It does get taller than the white, more upright and somewhat floppy. It needs strong neighbors, like a good Pennisetum or Miscanthus to lean on and not smother. It is clumpish and the flowers last, um, I don’t really know the answer to that one. It seems they bloom all summer but I could be mistaken. Hope that helps somewhat. :-)
    Frances

  27. Frances, you have a lovely selection of wildflowers there. I do hope you find out what that grass is as I have something very similar. Is yours relatively small? I frequently leave them be since they don’t seem too aggressive and I like how they look. Shoot me an email if you find out what they are!

    Hi Jean, thanks. I think I remember that you said you had that shorter one, I featured it in a post last summer when it was growing in the gravel. This flower looks similar but the plant is much larger. It might be a Panicum of some sort. No one has come forth with and ID yet, but if and when they do, or I figure it out, I will contact you. :-)
    Frances

  28. Catherine says:

    You have so many pretty wildflowers in your garden. The red clover looks like the flowers that the Littlest Gardener has been picking in the lawn of her preschool for me.

    Hi Catherine, thanks. It most likely is the same clover, it has a wide range, loved by some, not appreciated by others. Glad to hear your Littlest has heightened awareness of true beauty. :-)
    Frances

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