Bloom Day May 2011


Waiting with me for the sun to crest the trees, Kitty stands at attention on the deck. There are blooms to show on this fine day, in the monthly ritual known as Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day, brainchild of Carol of May Dreams Gardens. This has been a stellar year for the clemmies. Shown wrapping around the deck railing is Clematis ‘Betty Corning’.


Out front, on the part of the arbor still standing that was once home to the rose we nicknamed Killer, R. ‘Alberic Barbier’, the two clemmies that were planted in each hole with the two roses at each end, bloom on. The roses had to be dug out, the top crosspiece of the arbor that had been twisted like a pretzel by the massive rose canes was removed, but the clemmies are the survivors of that dream gone wrong of roses dripping downward in front of the large plate glass window in the living room of the main house. C. ‘Etoile Violette’(s) has legs.


Returning to the back yard, we pass the metal wheelbarrow that was turned into a planter last year, click here-Inspiring Wheelbarrow and A Little Guest to read that story. It is hoped that the flowers will equal or exceed last year’s show. Calibrachoas, Angelonias, Nasturtiums, Celosia, Diascia, Coleus and forget me nots join a single red feather grass. If needed, some will be removed or switched as the season progresses. We are not married to this group of plants.


Wrapped around the rusty metal clothesline pole, Rosa ‘Altissimo’ is thriving since its roommate R. ‘Moonlight’ was removed after succumbing to Rose Rosette disease. May the red rose continue to show resistance to that dreaded scourge.


Heading up towards the shed and knot garden, we pass a favorite of birds and humans alike. The red hot pokers came with the property, most likely Kniphofia caulescens. Three more species have been added of the Knips, but have not yet bloomed. We love the bold spiky foliage and the finches have already been seen tasting the flowers as they open yellow from coral buds. I want to point out the small yellow flowers on the opposite side of the gravel path.


It strikes me funny that over the years I have tried to establish this wooly yarrow, Achillea tomentosa along this edge of the Azalea Walk pathway. It is evergreen and should love the rocky drainage here. Last year, the weeding and spreading efforts were abandoned in the process of making the garden more maintenance free. Let the blood grass and weeds take over the space and fight it out for supremacy with the Muscari. It is not running the whole length of the pathway, as hoped for in the the vision, but there are now strong patches of the silvery stems, blooming even!


Onward and upward we trudge, we can rest here on the middle terrace as we turn to face the rising sun rinsing the shed in pinkish light. Mid May finds the self sown seedlings of Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ abloom in various hues of white, pink and lavender. The color variations are due to the promiscuity of the Penstemon clan, a happy result of some wild parties held by the fairies behind the knot garden in the early days of the Fairegarden.


On the far side of the shed grows the once blooming but boy does it make a big bang Rosa ‘Veilchenblau’. Careful pruning, make that ruthless cutting back keeps this beast of a beauty in check, along with tying the canes to the nails holding three galvanized tubs hanging at the ready. Really the tubs are ornamental at this point, but did begin as utilitarian objects, long ago. There was a post written about the pruning of Veilchenblau that can be seen by clicking here-Veilchenblau Gets A Trim, if anyone is interested in knowing more.


On either side of the bench that sits at the top of the knot garden, facing the house and so high up that one can see well over the rooftop to the woodlands beyond, there are two cheapo obelisks from Tuesday Morning, each planted with Rosa ‘Magic Dragon’. Behind the bench is a purple smoke tree, Cotinus coggygria, now smoking. There is another purple smoke on the middle terrace at the Angel Corner that is coppiced to the ground yearly so it does not ever bloom.


There is really so much in bloom now, it was decided that it might be interesting to show some of the things that are seldom seen on the blog posts, either because the photographer cannot get a decent image or it is such a lowly and common plant, why bother. The Lamb’s Ear, Stachys byzantina falls into the latter category. This is ironic since the number one viewed story ever written here is about this silver, furry leaved, humble plant. It is an old post, the photos are small but clickable. If your curiosity is piqued, click here-Lambs Ear Love to view it. Perhaps you can explain why it continues to get the most hits per day not counting the current post.


The caboose of the train today will be one of the self sown Violas from the gravel path of the knot garden. In the past there have been elaborate beauty pageants involving the most deserving of these volunteers. Perhaps there will be another, who knows?

Frances

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19 Responses to Bloom Day May 2011

  1. Greggo says:

    Even though it was the least of these, I liked the viola the best.

    Thanks Greggo. Each year there has been a post showing a handful of the violas of mixed parentage that spring up in the gravel paths of the knot garden. At first it looked like there would not be enough diversity in them to stage that production, but more are showing every day, so maybe the judges will pick a few to showcase.
    Frances

  2. Bernieh says:

    Absolutely beautiful! It was a real treat to wander around and have a look at your lovely garden today. Loved the wheelbarrow! I loved the Lamb’s Ear (not common at all in my part of the world) and I loved the work done by the Penstemon clan. The Veilchenblau, however, took my breath away.

    Thanks Bernie. I did not realize the lambs ear was not as common elsewhere as it is here, good to know. Veilchenblau is a stunner, growing on the back side of the shed roof, it cannot be seen from the house of nearly all of the garden, so is a surprise to anyone who walks around back there.
    Frances

  3. gail says:

    Dear Frances, Happy Day after Bloom Day! Love, love, love seeing the supporting cast to your main players. The little wooly achillea is sweet and the roses are lovely. The view to the shed with the promiscuous penstemon is my favorite today. Someday, I hope to see the puffy clouds of Smoke Tree blooms in my garden! xxoogail

    Thanks Gail. The view up to the shed is one of the highlights of the gardens right now and will increase in value when the Regale lilies and Eryngium bloom. Both are budded now. The smokes are cute, aren’t they?
    xxxooo
    Frances

  4. Larry says:

    Always a wonderful journey into a world of color when I visit your posts! I too find your Veilchenblau to be enchanting! Larry

    Thanks Larry, you are so sweet with those kind words. Veilchenblau is a wondrous rose, giving its all for one big show.
    Frances

  5. Thank you for the monthly GBBD tour Frances. I especially like the area fore of the garden shed. The lighting and planting are so beautiful. You garden looks like a place I could wander for hours.

    Thanks Donna. The shed bed has turned into a focal point as the plantings are constantly tweaked. I believe we are close to getting it right there. I would love for you to come wander here!
    Frances

  6. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    So much is blooming in your garden Frances. It looks beautiful. I love the roses. My one and only climber is blooming. I forgot to mention that onmy post. How could I do that?? Happy GBBD.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. It is not, make that never too late to amend your post. Do it! Happy GBBD to you!
    Frances

  7. Rose says:

    Your clemmies and roses are beautiful, Frances! The woolly yarrow is really interesting; I’m glad you included it. Maybe it enjoys being left alone:)

    Thanks Rose, and congrats on your daughter’s wedding! I believe most of these plants will do fine if left alone, it planted in the right place with the right neighbors.
    Frances

  8. Isn’t it funny how Lambs ears are such an attraction? I do love them too! Maybe it is the child in us that loves the fuzzy feeling! lol Cant wait to see future photos of the wheelbarrow! Beautiful gardens!

    glimpsesofglory-karen.blogspot.com/

    Thanks Karen. You may be right about the lambs ear, it is a child’s and the child within us all’s delight. Last year the wheelbarrow was so fun, especially when much of the garden was between bloom periods, full of color.
    Frances

  9. I missed out on posting for bloom day, loved seeing your lovely garden though. I love seeing how full and lush your garden is, you know mine is in its infancy. I think I need to find some more places for Clematis, sure enjoy those big bold blooms.
    Your Veilchenblau is gorgeous!

    Thanks Janet. Hang in there, a new garden always look barren until things fill in. Yours will be lovely soon!
    Frances

  10. Kniphofias are such neat looking plants. I just wish they were hardier. Your seedling Penstemons are so much better than ‘Husker’s Red’, with their more colorful and varied blooms.

    Thanks MMD. I sent you some of the party happy Penstemons, didn’t I? Long ago? The Knips are wonderful, this is the first garden where I have ever grown them, and still never see them for sale in nurseries even though they are growing in nearly every yard in my neighborhood. Someone, I bet I know who, probably shared with all those who were interested.
    Frances

  11. Leslie says:

    It’s a bloom fest in your garden! I like that wooly yarrow…I might need to look for some of that.

    Thanks Leslie. The wooly yarrow would probably love it in your California paradise!
    Frances

  12. Love your gorgeous garden and I am so envious of all your beautiful blooms! Happy GBBD!

    Hi Christine, thanks! Happy GBBD to you, too.
    Frances

  13. Nell Jean says:

    Interesting, fun post for another Bloom Day. Lowly and common may be rare and hard-to-grow elsewhere, who knows?I prefer huge drifts of more common plants any day in preference to a struggling rarity.

    Wonder why you have kniphofia blossoms while there are none down here in the JungleDesert? Loved that last little viola –the rain brought out a few more viola blossoms here.

    Thanks Nell Jean. I am with you on the swaths of the common. The reason they are common, sometimes, is that they are so easy to grow, a huge plus. Who wants to see a struggling anything, anyway? I cannot explain the Knips here and lack of blooms there. Perhaps you have a different type? I am not sure of the name on this one, just an educated guess. I have others that have just shown buds way down at the base. K. uvaria, I believe.
    Frances

  14. Ellada says:

    It is so nice to see some many different variety of flowers, it is a really beautiful garden.

    Hi Ellada, thank you for those kind words. I am glad you liked seeing the variety. This is merely the tip of the iceburg.
    Frances

  15. Phillip says:

    Altissimo is such a great rose, isn’t it? I’ve had it forever. I grow Veilchenblau as a climber but it looks great either way. My roses seemed to come early this year and the bloom period was brief. I’m so miffed!

    Hi Phillip, thanks for visiting. I am sorry your rose bloom period was brief. This has been quite a weather roller coaster this year here as well. It affected the deciduous azaleas, storms knocking all the petals off prematurely, so I understand being miffed! Altissimo was so overwhelmed by Moonlight, it barely would bloom. Now that Moonlight is gone, the red is taking over the clothesline pole!
    Frances

  16. Really beautiful! Your rose is truly stunning!

    Thanks Cameron. The roses, and several other things are having a better than average year, so far.
    Frances

  17. Scott says:

    Lovely post…I love all the different colors of the Penstemon…love those spontaneous re-seedings!

    Hi Scott, thanks. I am very happy with the flower changes from white to the lavenders, too.
    Frances

  18. R. ‘Veilchenblau’ is one rose, I’ve never had the pleasure of growing. What a beauty though. My ‘Altissimo’ is also showing resistance to the scourge, thank God. I would say my roses don’t look very good so far this year, but other things are taking up the slack. Your penstemon seedlings are beautiful offspring of ‘Husker Red’ and ‘Dark Towers.’ Love those wild plant parties. Happy Bloom Day.~~Dee

    Hi Dee, thanks. I am sorry about your roses. That Rose Rosette disease may end up infecting all of my roses. We have already noticed on several of the ones at Semi’s garden too. It is heartbreaking. But on a happy note, the mixed up parentage of the dark leaf penstemons now growing here is a constant source of delight. Happy Bloom Day to you!
    Frances

  19. sequoiagardens says:

    Thanks for the walk, Frances!

    Thanks for joining me, Jack!
    Frances

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