May Bloom Day-This And That

Returning home after being away from the garden during the month of May is a nearly traumatic experience…

…for this is the time of year when the blooming shifts into overdrive. (Shown above Campanula persicifolia.)

The passalong herbaceous peonies always show off for Mother’s Day each year.

We would hate to miss their brief shining moment.

Roses too are a Mother’s Day favorite. (Shown above Rosa ‘Touch Of Class’.)

Clematis such as this C. ‘Multi Blue’ on the post down by the street are the perfect compliment to May roses in bloom.

Directly behind the clemmies on the mailbox/newspaper box posts is a plant that is not used nearly enough in perennial gardens, Filipendula vulgaris aka Dropwort.

Joining roses and peonies in the triad of Mother’s Day, which was last weekend in the USA, are the bearded iris. This is a favorite, Tennessee Vol, another passalong from dear departed neighbor Mae who was a solid fan of the University of Tennessee’s Big Orange sports teams for which this iris was no doubt named. As a side note, it took some figuring to finally come to the understanding that the flower is hanging upside down, broken at the stem in this image. We knew the beard should be facing upward yet the background azalea foliage was right side up.

Speaking of volunteers, Nigella and lamb’s ear, Stachys byzantina make a smashing pair in the island bed bordered by the driveway and the street. Self sowing for more than ten years, all that is required of the gardener is oohs and aahs.

Just beyond the driveway resides the Fairelurie, click here-Faireluriegarden-Someday if you need to learn what that term is all about. It seems that the planned sea of blue Salvias, ‘May Night’, ‘Blue Hill’ and ‘Caradonna’ are meeting the vision.

The same scene taken from the other side of the bed features the fall planted Camassia leichtlinii ‘Semiplena’ giving structure and contrast. A big thumbs up to this variety from the Fairegarden is in order. And more will be ordered of these.

It is heartening to see that not too much was missed in our absence. Some things are finished, such as the deciduous azaleas, but they were enjoyed immensely before we left. The array of various Penstemons and their offspring of mixed parentage is just beginning.

Seeing the welcoming front garden was a sight for homesick eyes.

But it’s not as though there weren’t some flower sightings on our travels, since it was the Malvern Spring Garden Show Blogger Meet that was visited among many other fine British gardens. This is just a tiny taste of what is to come in future posts about that trip.

As always, a sweeping bow and curtsy to the royal Carol of May Dreams for the idea of Bloom Day.


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35 Responses to May Bloom Day-This And That

  1. Sylvia (England) says:

    Frances, Welcome home. I really want a ‘Fairelurie’ but my salvia May Night is not happy. I planted two, one is okay-ish, flowering but not expanding and the other was rescued from disappearing. It is in a pot now and it is looking better. I don’t think they liked were I planted them – time for a re-think.

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

    Thanks Sylvia. Perhaps there is another blue flowering plant, nepeta? that would give the same effect. After being in England I understand how different the climate is from ours, so wet and cool while we are hot and dry. It’s a wonder we can grow any of the same plants at all, and yet we do. πŸ™‚

  2. Wonderful to meet you, Frances. With flowers that beautiful, it’s a wonder you would want to travel across the Atlantic, away from them – the brief flowering of a peony is so special, and needs to be made the most of.

    Thanks Happy, it was a joy to meet you and everyone, something I will never ever forget. My garden did look pretty good to me when I got home, but so many tasks to catch up on as well, not to mention moving and rearranging things after the inspiration seen in the UK. It was the peonies that I didn’t want to miss. They are having a good year I am happy to report. πŸ™‚

  3. Lynne says:

    Your garden is so stunning that I wonder why you go and look at other peoples’ πŸ˜‰

    That is very sweet of you, Lynne, thanks. In any garden, even those famous ones we saw in England, there is always room for improvement. I look at all gardens for inspiration, and always get it! πŸ™‚

  4. gardeningasylum says:

    Looks like you didn’t miss much and your garden welcomed you back in style πŸ™‚

    Thanks Cyndy. It is true that little was missed altogether even though the azaleas were in peak bloom when we left and are now finished. We look forward to next year for them, but also to the progression of blooms still to come this year. Next up, lilies and daylilies! πŸ™‚

  5. Gail says:

    Frances, Your garden is looking wonderful…I have to own that I am feeling full sun envy right now thinking about those beautiful English gardens and now looking at yours! Fairelurie is a beautiful sight~I love the massed effect you are creating. The front garden is especially lovely as it welcomes its gardener home. gailxxx

    Thanks Gail. One thing we do have here is full sun, sort of a problem for growing those creekside ferns and orchids. The gardens were certainly a welcome sight when we returned, as I am sure yours were to you. πŸ™‚

  6. Barbara H. says:

    So glad you had a good trip and so glad to have you back home! I, too, love the dropwort and will have to be on the lookout for that. But thanks especially for reminding me of the nigella – I’m off to write it down to look for seeds the next time I’m out.

    That is sweet, Barbara, thanks. Nigella has been growing here since the girls lived here, self sowing with wild abandon. Some gets pulled, but some is always left to continue the tradition of the blue misty look. It goes very nicely with the dropwort, blooming at the same time too. πŸ™‚

  7. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Funny, since you have been to England some of us have become Royals. πŸ™‚ I can’t wait to hear about your trip. Your Lurie swath of blue is beautiful.

    Some of the customs and speech patterns may have rubbed off on us, Lisa! As ever, you are astute in noticing. Thanks! πŸ™‚

  8. Welcome home Frances. I am sure you and Gail had a smashing good time in the grand gardens of England.

    Thanks Christopher, smashing indeed! πŸ™‚

  9. Frances your last photo leaves me thirsting for more! It is so wonderful you and Gail were able to make that trip! Looking forward but meanwhile your home garden looks stunning. It must have been so good to come home to. Such vivid colors! I love your ‘Persian Jewels’ and your Penstemon photo is just gorgeous! Somehow your clematis photo is cut off??

    Thanks Carol. The nigella and penstemon, along with so many more were a real welcome home. Sometimes the feed readers don’t take kindly to left or right photos, so sorry about that, but it is out of my control. πŸ™‚

  10. Liz says:

    I love your Salvia’s, it is what I’m aiming for… Only mine was killed in the heavy snows this winter and all I have left are small seedling plants!!!

    One day maybe πŸ™‚

    Thanks, Liz. I am so sorry about your salvias. Ours were mulched quite heavily in the late fall, good protection from snow and ice, although they are quite hardy.

  11. Nicole says:

    Blooming overdrive! I love your “fearless” use of color, so many people in the US seem to stick to pale, muted tones. What a lovely welcome home sight and I certainly look forward to reading about your trip.

    Thanks Nicole. It is true that we do not fear any color combination, something we learned from dear neighbor Mae who was a floral designer, as well as Christopher Lloyd whose Great Dixter we were lucky enough to tour last week. All colors go together, the brighter the better! πŸ™‚

  12. Ah, Frances. I’m way, way behind in visiting blogs right now, stressed with too much work, travel and garden things to do (and weather that won’t cooperate.) Just seeing the jewels of your garden made me feel better. And I’m now going to play hooky for the afternoon and go out to tend my neglected gardens. Welcome home from your travels. πŸ™‚

    Thanks Jodi, for finding the time to visit. I know how it is with travel added to the already full plate. We just do what we can when we can. The nice thing about the blogs, they are up there for a long long time, if not forever. They will wait to be read. Have fun in your garden, I am sure it misses you. πŸ™‚

  13. Racquel says:

    Looks like your garden is showing off just in time for your return. πŸ™‚

    Thanks Racquel, it did seem that way. πŸ™‚

  14. VW says:

    The lewisia at the end are so pretty! I just brought some home from the nursery and they turned from coral-pink to pure hot pink. Hmm. So interesting that your iris, roses and peonies bloom concurrently. My roses don’t start until a couple of weeks after the other two.

    Hi VW, thanks for the ID. That is what I thought they were but wasn’t sure. I have tried to grow them several times without success. They need something that we cannot offer apparently. Funny about your roses, the only later one is Veilchenblau and he is half open even now. The iris are nearly done but many things are in the wings, lilies and daylilies in particular. Onward! πŸ™‚

  15. Like you I find it hard to leave my own garden – and a joy to return. I am glad you got back safely – and what a glorious homecoming; your bloom day post is, as ever mouth watering.

    It was a delight to see you smiling face, dear Karen. I regret we did not get to chat as much as I would have liked, but Gail did her share in that department, so I am glad for that. Going through the photos, scenes are remembered with such fondness it is hard to describe. But we were so happy to see our own garden again. πŸ™‚

  16. goodtogrow says:

    Wow – your garden is so inspiring!

    Thanks Liza, glad you liked it. πŸ™‚

  17. Bonnie says:



  18. linda says:

    Glad you made it safely back home Frances. After enjoying those beautiful gardens across the pond, how wonderful to return home to such May beauty and bounty!

    Thanks Linda. It was good to see my gardens, and especially my own bed and pillow! πŸ™‚

  19. Les says:

    I am glad your garden greeted you in appropriately royal style. You have quite the show right now. I enjoyed seeing the shot of the front garden.

    I can’t wait for you to start doling your England posts!

    Hi Les, thanks. The front garden never looked better, must be that rain last summer and winter. I have been worried a little about boring people with the travel pictures, for there are so many things to show it will take several posts to even mention them all. Coming soon. πŸ™‚

  20. Rose says:

    So glad you didn’t get to miss any blooms, Frances–looks like your garden gave you the royal welcome home. The Faire Lurie is looking quite grand! I want to add more irises to my garden, and although I’m not a big fan of orange, Tennessee Vol looks like a great candidate. I wonder if I could re-name it “Illini Orange” and get away with it:)

    Thanks Rose, a royal welcome it was. The salvias have provided that sea, or make it a puddle of blue in the Fairelurie. As they form seeds, the notes must be found telling when they are cut down for a second flush at the real Lurie. The orange iris is one of the prettiest ones we grow, tall and stately. Name it whatever you like. πŸ™‚

  21. Cameron says:

    Frances–you have such a beautiful garden that i am not surprised that you were homesick. Nigella is a fave of mine and I think I scheduled a post for tomorrow. Yes, I am reading blogs from France as we do have wifi in the apartment.

    Thanks Cameron. I am envious of your being in France, glad to hear you have the internet there.

  22. Town Mouse says:

    Frances, it all looks stunning and I’m glad you weren’t held up by vulcanoes or other calamities.

    Happy bloom day!

    Thanks Town Mouse. We were affected by the volcano, we had to fly north of it, adding hours to the flight and messing with our connection in Atlanta, but otherwise we made it home safe and sound. πŸ™‚

  23. Ewa says:

    And the winners are Salvia and Filipendula!
    Oh Frances… BTW.. don’t you need a safety belt?

    Good choices, Ewa. And yes, everytime I buckle the seat belt I think of you, with fondness. πŸ™‚

  24. Welcome home Frances

    I love that ‘returning home’ feeling, everything seems to change so much in just a few days and oh so nice.

    Well I guess that ash cloud didn’t divert you this way. Ne’er mind, I’ll turn the juke box down and hide the schnapps!!!

    Dear Rob, I am sorry we didn’t get diverted to France so we could visit you. Thanks for the preparations though, they sound wonderful! The ash added hours to our flight home is all. It was a pleasure to see my own garden again. πŸ™‚

  25. Valerie says:

    It seems that the plants in your garden out did themselves to welcome you home. Beautiful garden. Valerie

    Thanks Valerie and welcome. The garden never looked better as when we arrived back. I was so glad to see it even though the gardens in England were spectacular.

  26. Dreamybee says:

    Beautiful! I love the little bit of red that is tucked into your sea of blue salvias.

    Thanks Dreamybee. The annual red dianthus that sometimes is perennial for a couple of years is just the splash, I agree. Even at the real Lurie, there was a single red poppy in that sea of blue that made the whole thing pop. πŸ™‚

  27. teresa says:

    Wow, everything is so pretty and healthy looking. Your weather must be getting really good. We are a bit behind yours. As always it’s a pleasure to visit your garden. Can’t wait to see the trip photos.

    Thanks Teresa. The garden did not seem to suffer at all from my absence. It is like summer here, highs in the mid to upper 80s F each day. Quite a change from near freezing England, but the plants there did not seem to mind the wet and cold. In fact the plants there were….. well you will see soon. πŸ™‚

  28. commonweeder says:

    wow! how can a garden still look so tidy after time away. We went away to visit relatives in april one year and said never again. I never caught up. On the other hand – Malvern – bloggers – England. That is too much to resist.

    Thanks Pat. It was too much to resist the trip to England, even though it was way out of the realm of possibility. We went anyway and are so glad for it. πŸ™‚

  29. Lola says:

    Welcome home Frances. You were sorely missed. I’m glad you arrived home safe & your garden is lovely as usual. That Tn Vol iris is a must for me to obtain—being I’m a Tn. Hillbilly. lol I find it beautiful.

    Thanks Lola. The orange iris is a beauty. It was wonderful to see my own garden again after viewing the amazing ones in England. There’s no place like home. πŸ™‚

  30. It’s so funny remembering you humming and haaing over your camera and trying new settings . . . and now I’m bowled over (and jealous) every time I visit.


    Hi Esther, thanks. I still haven’t mastered the new zoom camera, grabbing the old stand by most of the time for the garden shots. But the garden is the type of model that knows how to work the camera, thank goodness. πŸ™‚

  31. Happy Bloom Day Frances. Glad you had a wonderful time in Malvern and I’m also glad you’re home.~~Dee

    Hi Dee, thanks so much. It is good to be home, but the people and places we met and saw are sorely missed. πŸ™‚

  32. debsgarden says:

    The sea of blue salvias is wonderful and worth copying in my own garden! Thanks, and welcome home. I look forward to your posts on Malvern.

    Thanks Deb. Do use a swath of salvias, it was easy and turned out great. I am going to cut them down in June, as they do at the Lurie in Chicago for a rebloom, hopefully. The first England post is now up. πŸ™‚

  33. Little Wing says:

    I love the Dropwort~ I’ve never known what Filipendula if any would grow here in the SouthEast.

    Hi Little Wing, thanks for visiting. The dropwort is super easy and due to a long taproot, whenever it is moved a piece is always left behind to regrow in the original spot. It should be used more often, IMHO. πŸ™‚

  34. Jen says:

    Omigosh – the dropwort!! Totally enchanting and the lambs ear combo- wow. So glad you didn’t miss the peonies.

    Thanks Jen. Even though the herbaceous peonies are not a favorite here, I like seeing those huge pom poms every year around Mother’s Day for sentimental reasons. πŸ™‚

  35. Joey says:

    Amazing how life goes on when we are away, Frances. Your eyes must have popped seeing the beauty that you created waiting for your return. The May garden changes from morn to dusk …

    Hi Joey, thanks so much. It was a glad sight to see the garden showing off upon our return. It was missed and never forgotten even though we saw some beautiful spots in England.

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