Bloom Days April 2008

Time once again for the big show of blooms across the greater blogdom, sponsored by the delightful Carol at
May Dreams Garden . This time around, the weather has been trying to prevent high quality photos of the showier flowers with high winds and lack of good light. The little ground covers have been up to the task, however, with strong stems and tiny blooms, the better to macro on. Please feel free to click on any or all of these photos to see more details. Shown above, ajuga reptans ‘Silver Bells’, growing in the trough planter. It is barely hardy and has barely spread, unlike the other ajugas, but what a looker!
A group shot of regular ajuga reptans, some lavender pansies, a young hellebore, cerastium and a smidge of dianthus in the background. This grouping of plants lines both sides of the first set of steps going up to the knot garden, along with some creeping jenny, among many others, not in the shot. They do a good job of keeping the weeds down and provide year around interest with their colorful foliage. The spring bloom is an added bonus.

Another group shot, this time from the front of the stoop in a shady bed. Bleeding hearts are just beginning to bloom, the new fronds of the many japanese painted ferns, and a weedy background of the myriad dog violets in blue and white add some texture to this mix. The violets are blooming more than they normally do, is there meaning in that?

These seed grown primula veris have way more flowers and buds than any of the others in any of the beds. Do you suppose their roots have found some wonderful decaying matter on which to feed? This bed under the deck steps has had our home made compost added several times, maybe a nice banana peel is under this particular primrose.

Looking like a king in this close up is the lamium ‘Hermann’s Pride’. Hardly showy in bloom, this groundcover has variegated leaves larger than most lamiums. It too is a wonderful weed suppressor, it is planted around the base of the multi trunk silver maple tree.

Our dear wild columbine, aquilegia canadensis. Our climate is a little warm for these to do really well, but we are hoping for them to take hold and seed about, maybe mixing with some of the larger flowered columbines for some new color combinations.

We will now move on to the flowering shrub portion of our presentation.
The fothergillas planted on the steepest part of the shady hillside are opening. The honey scented flowers look like brushes that could give the tidy bowl man a help. ( Sorry for that, couldn’t be helped.) The cultivar of these is unknown, but they get a little taller than we wish, so must be hard pruned every now and then.

The earliest bloomers of the many decidous azaleas we have here, R. Admiral Semmes. The cooler temps and cloudy days have prevented the buds from unfurling, probably a good thing with the danger of frost ever present. There seems to be an abundance of buds on the azaleas this year after being zapped dead in their tracks with last year’s
dogwood winter.

A couple of flowers decided to grace us with their opening. They are highly fragrant and a good stong dark yellow that blends well with all other flower colors. This shrub is usually finished blooming before the other exburys and natives begin to open.

Another azalea, one of the PJMs. Out of five planted, only this one looks anywhere near decent after last summer’s drought. Two died outright and have been removed. Two are hanging on with only a smattering of leaves, no flowers. We shall see if they need replacing. Luckily they are located behind some junipers that hide their scraggly looks from the gardener with the shovel at the ready.

Trying to figure out the name of this viburnum, the waxy flowers, crinkly leaves, sweet perfume and time of bloom point to V. carlesii. It stands about five feet tall and wide and is doing well in the dry shade of the large pine trees. More would be added if we knew what it was.

Spanish lavender, lavandula stoechas, with its interesting flower form. A new purchase, this is planted in a ceramic pot and has been brought into the greenhouse/sunroom until the weather has warmed. It is not known how to winter this over, the greenhouse is too humid for it to be happy. Maybe the unheated stairwell with the skylight would make a good home for it during the cold months. There is a ledge that is out of the way of the step users for it to sit upon. That will be the plan.

The patches of candytuft, iberis, in front and back seem to have a more dense flowering than is usual also. No complaints about that here.

The knot garden with spring green tulips in bloom. This is not the best photo, wind and improper light prevented the capture of how captivating this looks in person. The callunas in the center are in the process of turning from pink to yellow, showing up here as a muddy tan, but in reality are more a soft apricot. The boxwood is looking a little wooly, it will be trimmed up after ALL danger of frost is safely behind us.

Last month
there was a beauty pageant held for the violas. From the same plant as the winner, Miss Margaret, this flower lacks the yellow tinge to the center that she had. Still a beauty though.

Showing specks of the yellow dust of the pine pollen swirling about now, this volunteer viola in the gravel has been blooming for several months.

From the same four pack as Miss Margaret, there are more whiskers to this plant, it may be a male.

Now on to the bulbs. A few tulips are at their peak now, this is tulipa ‘Queen of the Night’.

A mixed bag from WalMart, all forty bulbs planted in one hole, making it easier on the gardener, are now opening. It shall be seen who returns from this batch. They do provide a good show from the street, located as they are under the pine trees. There are three groups of these.

Our latest blooming daffodil, narcissus ‘Sinopel’. This is deliciously fragrant and so sweet with the tiny green center of its small trumpet. These seem to bloom at the exact time of the dogwood winter each year and get burnt. This is the best they have ever performed, they had been figured to be duds.

We will close with the lone blooming orchid, Mtdm. Bartley Schwarz ‘Highland’, a gift from a dear friend, thanks Laurie!


Hope you enjoyed the flower show. There are so many more things blooming now, but good photos were not able to be taken, for various reasons. When calmer times are upon us, there will be posts with the spring wildflowers and azaleas featured. The above pics will have to suffice for now.


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56 Responses to Bloom Days April 2008

  1. Meems says:

    Hi Frances, WOW, what a difference a month makes in TN! You are blooming everywhere … must make you a very happy April gardener. It all looks so lovely.

    That yellow primrose is a treat for me to see and the fothergilla pom-pom is very nice. In all my life I don’t believe I’ve seen a yellow azalea… is this possible or am I having a memory lapse? Yours is just about to burst forth it appears.

    Really hope you avoid frost and freeze surprises over the next few weeks. You should be out of danger after that and well on your way to a very exciting May!

    I should be working on my GBBD post since my (2 yr old) grandson will be here all day today and I won’t get much done. It’s just too exciting to see what everyone else has blooming. Hopefully I will get to mine later…
    Meems @Hoe&Shovel

  2. Frances, says:

    Meems, thanks. Have fun with your grandson, we have one that age and he is a riot, in all meanings of the term. The yellow azaleas are derived from the native deciduous ones, I’m not good with the species names, only our hybrid names. They are my favorite flower, hope this cold doesn’t get them, it is 28 degrees right now.

  3. Nan Ondra says:

    Your Bloom Day photos are especially stunning this month, Frances, particularly the Primula veris shot. How neat to see ajuga and yellow archangel close up. I never bothered to take the time to really look at them before. And your knot garden is simply splendid!

  4. Sue Swift says:

    Super photos. Love the aquilegia. You have a really beautiful garden.

  5. Nancy J. Bond says:

    Oh, oh, oh! Those Silver Bells are exquisite! Every day that I stroll through the gardens on Blotanical, I find something I’ve never seen before. (And much that I put on my Wish List!) Those are simply handsome, as are all your other blooms. Silver Bells…now all you need are the Cockle Shells. 🙂

  6. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Frances, your garden is fully awakened. Such fun. I always really look forward to the blooming of our native columbines. This means that the hummingbirds soon to appear.

  7. tina says:


  8. pigbook1 says:

    I want that tulip! That is what i wanted in my wedding and noone could get it for me (i only had a bouquet, no extras) oy it is GORGEOUS!!!

  9. Frances, says:

    Nan, thanks. It is funny how those smaller flowers are the stars this month, it was always windy and the larger flower shots were not sharp, but little low to the ground ones didn’t move as much. I wish you could see the knot garden, this is the best it has ever looked, not reflected in the photo at all.

    Oh Lisa, we saw a brilliant ruby throated male last week when it was warm. He was at the daffodils! Hope they don’t catch a cold with this spell we are having now.

    Tina, thanks.

    pigbook1, thanks and welcome. The Queen of the Night tulips are fairly easy to come by here, available at Lowe’s in the fall. They have returned as well as most also. Good luck with them.

  10. Annie in Austin says:

    All this floral action and 28°F? That’s pretty chilly, Frances – hope everything is okay.

    You have such lovely flowering trees and shrubs so I love to see your garden in large sweeps but today’s macros are fun… the ajuga/pansy photo looks like an enchanted little meadow, Water Reeddancer!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  11. Frances, says:

    Sue, thanks. Sorry the reply is out of order, these get mixed up regularly it seems. There is something wonderful about the little columbine, I agree.

    Nancy J., thanks and sorry your reply is out of sequence also. Arghh. The little ajuga is very sweet, I wish it would spread a little, but should be glad it even is alive after several years.

  12. Frances, says:

    Gossamer Moonshimmer: thanks so much. I was out once already to check for damage, sometimes it doesn’t show up right away. If the leaves on the maples stay limp,even after the day warms, we are supposed to get to 62 today, that is a very bad sign. The macro shots are more eyecatching, I wish I could take a full garden shot that looked as good as the real thing.

  13. Benjamin Vogt says:

    I’m waiting for my ‘Queen of the Night’ to come up–grrr, I wanted to be first! (shouldn’t live in zone 5 Nebraska then, huh?) The viola looks lovely–def wan to snag some violas this year, esp ‘irish molly.’

  14. Susan says:

    Wow, you have a lot blooming in Tennessee. Beautiful pics. Love the knot garden – that is extra special!

  15. brokenbeat says:

    i find it fitting that the little ajugas and easily overlooked flowerers were given their due respect today. the Gardener loves every flower. the grouping near the steps leading to the knot garden is an inspiration. yes, i said outloud, “hmm. group plantings, that’s an interesting concept. i might have to try that. today. no. right now. *turning to boss(wo)man* i’m out. catch ya after lunch. i must do some group plantings!” to which boss(wo)man replied, “but what about the depart-mental meeting? uber-bosswoman is gonna be very angry with you.” to which i replied, “didn’t you hear me? i said group plantings. this changes everything. i’ll see you after lunch.”

    forgetting to grab my coat, i sprint out of the office, drive home, grab a shovel, and, while eagerly chewing on the inside of my cheek, i group plant.

    thank you, frances.

  16. patientgardener says:

    I love your photos – the clarity and quality is amazing. If only it would stop raining here I might get to take some photos

  17. Gail says:

    Had to stop by…beatiful blooms…


  18. Frances, says:

    Benjamin, so sorry, but your zone may prevent you from having a first flower when competing against TN. Now for us, Austin will always beat us out for first. I agree, more violas. Ours dry up during the hot months, but are for sale again in fall. We do have some volunteers that are just beginning, we have a beauty contest for them in May.

    Susan, thanks for stopping by. I wish you could see the knot garden, the picture does not portray it well.

    Brokenbeat, hope you don’t get in trouble at work. ;-> Have fun

    patient gardener, thanks and welcome. Your sweet pea seedlings are amazing, I must try those root trainers.

    Gail, thanks. Hope you have a safe trip.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I can’t decide which is my favorite. Of course the viola’s are on top of my list, but I think I am loving the columbine the most. My yellow birthday columbine has many buds. I can’t wait for the blooms. Much Love, CP

  20. Entangled says:

    You just might turn me into an Ajuga convert – that first picture is really nice! Just barely hardy though?

    Your viburnum looks very similar to my V. x burkwoodii (V. carlesii is one of its parents).

    Gorgeous flowers all around!

  21. Melanie says:

    Frances, your garden shot has me convinced. I need to replace the crushed seashells in my thyme garden and I’m going to use gravel. What color stones are you using? They look just wonderful.

  22. Pam/Digging says:

    Lovely flowers indeed. But I’m most enchanted with the photo of your knot garden. It looks lovely in all seasons, but with tulips…ahh.

  23. Frances, says:

    Chickenpoet, thanks. There is something special about the columbines, I agree. And the violas, and all of them. love.

    Entangled, thanks. The ajuga is a great ground cover here, spreading nicely without being a thug, the evergreen dark foliage looks good all year and the flowers are a bonus. Are you sold yet? The silver bells is precious, very difficult to keep going, for some reason. The trouble with the viburnum ID is that so many look similar. I will check out the burkwoodii.

    Melanie, we do love our gravel. It is called brown 57 here, like the steak sauce, because it is a mixture. We should have gotten the brown pea gravel, it is easier to walk on. The 57 was cheaper. I love thyme as a ground cover too. Sometimes it dies off a little, but pruning seems to help, or just spread some more in the area. The fragrance when it is walked upon is heady. Ours is the lemon thyme.

  24. Mr. McGregor's Daughter says:

    Around here, the violets blooming more than usual means the rabbits have been eating something else. You could propagate your Viburnum, they grow pretty fast don’t they? Your flowers are all so beautiful, but it’s the ones I can’t grow that I admire most – the Azaleas. Their color just glows!

  25. Frances, says:

    Pam, thanks, the knot garden when the tulips are in their prime is the best. I hope this year to fill the quadrants with coral celosia from the free seeds from Chilterns. That should give it more summer interest.

    MMD, Thanks for the idea of propagating the viburnum. I haven’t had much luck with shrubs of that type though, and don’t see any suckers, the easiest way. There are new azaleas developed in MN called the ‘Lights’ series that are supposed to be hardier. I have several, Mandarin Lights, Northern Lights, Golden Lights, that have been wonderful. Maybe you can find some in your area.

  26. Cinj says:

    What a contrast to my garden. Too bad that cyber gardens can’t be smelled. What a wonderful array of flowers. I keep thinking about planting some azaleas, they’re SO pretty!

  27. Frances, says:

    Cinj, thanks. Your garden’s time will come, soon, we hope. There is something wonderful about the azaleas, a mature specimen is a wonder to behold.

  28. Carol says:

    Hi,Frances, as they say, “you’ve got it going on!” Lots of blooms in your garden, similar to mine so I have a lot to look forward to. And congrats on your nomination for a “Mousie” for best new blog!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  29. rusty in miami says:

    It sure looks like spring has arrived in your garden. I like the mix of flowers you have growing everywhere.

  30. mike in ft pierce fl says:

    Just saying hello! You have some fantastic photos of your blooms for this month.

  31. Kay says:

    I am constantly amazed at how incredible your garden is. Your April blooms are wonderful. It looks like the late cold snap didn’t bother too much, thankfully. The primula is lovely – I started some seed here, but I am not sure they will tolerate our south Arkansas climate. You are only a zone north, though, so I hold out some hope!

  32. kate smudges says:

    The Primula veris just jumped out at me. They are beautiful. I love the bench in the knot garden. Tis lovely.

  33. Blackswamp_Girl says:

    WOW! It’s so interesting to see the differences in our springs. I have ‘Queen of Night’ tulips, too, but the foliage on mine is about 3 inches out of the ground–that gives you an idea of what’s going on around here!

    I love your green tulips, though, and that viburnum… I can almost smell it from here… 🙂

  34. Tyra in Vaxholm says:

    Franses your garden looks wonderful and your pics are great, that Spanish Lavendel…..and the knot garden, it must be lovely just to sit down there and rest for a while.

  35. Yolanda Elizabet says:

    I certainly enjoyed your wonderful flower show Frances. There is such a lot in bloom in your garden. Love those azaleas, especially the yellow fragrant one.

    Your knotgarden is looking great, the pic is not so bad and I have enough imagination to figure out how lovely it actually is. My box is in need of a haircut too but it will have to wait until all danger of frost is over.

    You’re ahead of me now, my Queen of Night tulips haven’t opened yet. Love that mix of tulips from Walmart, a very cheerful bunch!

    Hope you get some calmer weather soon Frances!

  36. artistsgarden says:

    Lovely blooms. I find your knot garden particularly enchanting.

  37. Frances, says:

    Carol, thanks, but I think it’s my garden, not me, that’s got it going’ on, you are too funny! Stacy’s mom… that will be stuck in my brain, brokenbeat, where are you to save me? Congrats back at ya for the Mousie nominations, it is very exciting, isn’t it?

    Rusty, thanks. The flowers have their own agenda here, they spread and self sow with no interference from me, I just edit a little, in the older beds that is. The newer portions still need lots of tweaking, they are rarely featured here yet.

    Mike, hello back at ya and thanks.

    Kay, thanks so much. The p. veris are by far the most enthusiastic growers of the primulas here, they are in shade and get a little extra water.

  38. Frances, says:

    Kate, thanks, I need to sit on the bench more and take a weeding break, but those weeds are setting seeds now, duty calls! What is it about that wild primrose, it is captivating, I need to spread it more,…see, no rest for the weary right now.

    Kim, thanks. It is interesting how many of us are growing the same plants, or maybe that similarity is what drives the comments. Your garden will be fresh with flowers soon it sounds like.

    Tyra, welcome and thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed the show. I need to sit on that bench TODAY!

    YE, thanks, last night was the last of our freeze danger, so they are saying. I am chomping at the bit to get out there and plant some of the chard and leeks started in the greenhouse. You are an inspiration with your pretty potager. Congrats on your mousie nomination and hope your mother is feeling better every day.

    Karen, thanks so much, glad you enjoyed it.

  39. Layanee says:

    Oh Frances…that knot garden is pretty captivating just as it is in that picture. I sat myself down on your bench and breathed in the perfumed air of your garden! Fabulous! Thanks and all the other shots are great as well.

  40. Frances, says:

    Layanee, how sweet of you. I will imagine you next to me the next time I am on the bench.

  41. mss @ Zanthan Gardens says:

    The primulas are enchanting. And, of course, I have a deep envy of your tulips, especially the ‘Queen of the Night’. (Just my color!).

    But what impresses me most is your lovely knot garden. I need an ordered space like that. I find it very enticing. If it were in my garden I don’t think I’d ever move from that bench.

  42. Frances, says:

    MSS, thanks. The knot garden is very different than the rest of my area. The rest is more free form, cottage style, like your lovely space. I have always wanted a knot garden like you see in the fancy european gardens, but it is hard to achieve. The plants do not want to stay in a pattern, or even live in a pattern, or even live period, it is very dry up there at the top of the hill. Talk about a work in progress, the tulips are great though, as are the callunas in the center. The thyme ground cover has some die back every year and has to be replaced. The blue violas planted in the fall worked out well and will be replaced with coral celosia for summer. Hope it lives.

  43. Kerri says:

    I feel like I’ve had a leisurely stroll around your gardens with you Frances. Thank you for these lovely photos.
    You have some beautiful blooms! The ajuga and lavender pansies looks like a place for fairies…so soft and pretty 🙂 And your knot garden is gorgeous with the tulips blooming gaily.

  44. Salix Tree says:

    I love the knot garden! So cozy. The cowslip is beautiful! I’ve never seen one like that! What a lot of flowers you have in bloom now!

  45. Frances, says:

    kerri, thanks for the nice thoughts, I imagine other gardeners walking with me as I write about the garden. The fairies are happy here we hope, the effort has been made to woo them.

    Salixtree, thanks. There are lots of things blooming right now, not all cooperated for the camera that day. That particular cowslip is different from the rest with that ball shape. Not sure how that happened.

  46. gintoino says:

    And what a show it is!Your garden is looking wonderful Frances! I specially like the knot garden.
    Aquilegia canadensis is one of my favourite columbines too, but my weather is too hot to even consider trying it.

  47. Katarina i Kullavik says:

    Oh yes, I really enjoyed the flower show! Thanks! I found the wild columbine a real beauty – and the orchid…wow!

  48. Frances, says:

    Gintoino, thanks. The knot garden seems to be a big hit. We can just barely grow the A. canadensis, it needs shade and extra care, water but not too much. Rocks on the roots seem to help keep it cool.

    Katarina, thanks. The wild columbine is one of our favorite flowers. Glad you enjoyed the tour.

  49. Phillip says:

    Frances, your photos are outstanding. So colorful! The one of the wild columbine is especially nice. Those blues are spectacular too.

  50. Frances, says:

    Phillip, thanks. Glad you enjoyed them. I think the little columbine was a crowd pleaser.

  51. chey says:

    Frances, thanks so much for sharing all of your beautiful blooms! I also love your knot garden with it’s welcoming wooden bench.Very nice.

  52. Frances, says:

    Chey, thanks and congrats on the story Stuart wrote about your hard work on Blotanical!

  53. Sarah Laurence Blog says:

    What gorgeous blooms! I loved the violas especially. I like these close ups of flowers. It’s amazing to see such diversity in one garden.

  54. Frances, says:

    Sarah, thanks for visiting. I see my photo of the blue viola group looks similar to a photo on your post about your trip to France. What a fantastic description of what sounds to be breathtaking gardens. One thing we do have here is diversity!

  55. Lin in 9a says:

    Gorgeous photos! Lots to look at! How large is your property/garden?

    Happy Spring!

  56. Frances, says:

    Lin in 9a, welcome and thanks for visiting. We have one third of an acre, three city lots, here. The whole thing is a steep slope so it photographs and seems in person to be larger.

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