May Bloom Day Means Time For…


It’s May and it’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day and it is also Carol’s, the thinker-upper of bloom day and a friend, favorite month of the year. Let’s check out what’s happening out there.

Above: Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Dooley’


There is a lot in bloom, with some things just beginning and others finishing up a good run, like the foxgloves, mostly Digitalis purpurea, seen in the background in the above image. Taking center stage is Rosa ‘Fairy Queen’, a small dark pinky red. There are two bushes, now planted together. They used to be in separate beds, but new discoveries of what looks best led to digging one up to join its fellow fairy by the steps. Sooooo much better.


Labeled as Clematis ‘Betty Corning’ and believed to be her for more than ten years, it was thanks to fellow blogger Mr. McGregor’s Daughter’s keen eye and knowledge of Clemmies that we now understand that this is not Betty. Research leads us to think it might be C. ‘Prince Charles’.


Here is a better shot of the flower. Can anyone help with identification? Thanks to Janet, the Queen of Seaford, who posted a photo of her Prince Charles on facebook, it looks like my clemmie is not our fine prince. Dang!


Neither showy nor floriferous, but a sweet little native wildflower that was a gift from Claude da Mailman several years ago, Spigelia marilandica is treasured here. It blooms faithfully each year and is said to be favored by hummingbirds. That is reason alone to grow it. Maybe someday I will witness that delightful dining event, and maybe I will have the camera on and ready.


This fuzzy fellow is the first flower of the many crimson clover, Trifolium incarnatum seeds that were scattered in the lawn/meadow in late winter. It is sold in large bags as a cover crop for winter vegetable gardens. Next year I will sow earlier and get two bags of seed. I fear for the sea of red with the lack of rain, things are looking a bit crispy in the lawn/meadow at the moment. Maybe it will rain, or maybe I will have to break down and water. Added: I watered and it rained, funny how it works like that sometimes.


Silver tansy, Tanacetum niveum ‘Jackpot’ is a silver leaf xeric that is planted in the concrete swan planters on the middle terrace steps. These containers are in full sun all day and the planting area is small, they do not enjoy the luxury of regular watering and finding the best plant for them has been a challenge. We have hit the jackpot with the tansy.


Love in a mist, Nigella damascena doesn’t usually rate inclusion in the bloom day post since it is such a near-weed. But looking down by the raised planter box at the row of Bright Lights Swiss chard and seeing the little blue flower looking so disarmingly cute, well here it is.


The Fairegarden has moved into lily mode, a few weeks early, but that seems to have turned into the norm for 2012. Many new Lilium bulbs were planted last fall and early this spring, including this martagon type, Lilium ‘Mrs. R.O. Backhouse’. For its first year in the ground, this lady has surpassed expectations. That bodes well for the lily blooms yet to come. Next will be the daylilies, then Eryngiums, and so on and so on…

Frances

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18 Responses to May Bloom Day Means Time For…

  1. Frances your blooms are stunning…I long for a blue hydrangea but my soil even with amendment wants pink…and then there is this year….what hydrangeas will bloom after all the freezing weather…they all died back to the ground so not many I fear.

    Hi Donna, thanks. The only way I can get pink hydrangeas is to buy them pink and in bloom. They will bloom the next year blue, nothing can help it. We had a cold snap here after they had budded out, but it looks like no losses, for once! I am sorry about yours, maybe some will bloom on new growth later on. Those Endless Summer types are supposed to do that.
    Frances

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Our gardens seem to be on the same cycle. Your blue hydrangea is gonna be a beauty. I love having that blue in the garden.I can see why Hummers would like the spigelia. They love tube flowers. This is a pretty one. I have never seen it before. Happy GBBD.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. I am excited about the hydrangeas this year, a few have no flower buds, but there are enough for a good show. I have seen some hummers around and about here, always love that. Happy GBBD a day early!
    Frances

  3. joey says:

    All looks so lovely, Frances … Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Dooley’ is stunning!

    Hi Joey, thanks. Dooley has been exceptional every year, keeps getting bigger and bigger. I am wondering if it needs pruning, it is starting to block the pathway. I never thought that would be the case, it took years to get going and growing after being moved many times.
    Frances

  4. My Kids Mom says:

    I would name your clematis “seersucker” clematis! I love the texture of those petals.

    Hi Jill, thanks for stopping by. I do like those pleats in the petals, and it is very floriferous.
    Frances

  5. gail says:

    Dear Frances, That marvelous blue of Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Dooley’ almost makes me want to run out and get it. Your reply to Donna makes me wonder if it would be pink or blue here~I might have to get one ‘just for the experiment’! Happy Bloom Day. xoxogail PS I have Spigelia and hope to see hummers on it someday!

    Hi Gail, thanks. I wonder if it would be pink for you, that hydrangea. Brokenbeat has several hydrangeas, some are pink and some are blue, depending on the placement in his garden. Interesting! Happy day early bloom day to you!
    xoxoxo
    Frances

  6. Barbara H. says:

    It’s such a coincidence – I just got off the phone with my sister and we were talking about Indian Pink, Spigelia marilandica, seen in the yard of a friend’s mother. My sister had seen it on a horseback ride but didn’t know what it was. And here it is again – a very sweet flower. I’ve haven’t been able to get Nigella started here in Alabama, so it’s interesting that it’s a near-weed for you. Just bought a packet of seeds from a nursery, where it was recommended that I start the seeds in small pots and then transplant them. I’ve missed it since moving from Oregon where it reseeded with no problem.

    Hi Barbara, thanks for adding to the conversation. The Spigelia is not very well known, it should be promoted more by the nurseries. They need a cultivar with a clever name to help get it into more home gardens, like *Light My Fire* or something catchy. As for the Nigella, I would plant the seeds in open ground soon, cover with chicken wire to keep the critters from digging around there and forget about them. They are biennials, growing foliage the first year, sometimes even blooming a little, then the big show comes the next late spring. If you can get them going, you will never be without them.
    Frances

  7. Hi Frances – see if you find out what the name of that clematis is could you let me know as I have one exactly the same with a lost label………..though I don’t think I ever bought one called Prince Charles. My garden is months behind yours……….plus I don’t even think I’m going to even get a post for GBBD – hail showers outside and I can’t get a single photo taken today. Wish hydrangeas grew like that in my locality – beautiful.

    Hi Rosie, thanks for visiting, so nice to see you here! So many of the clemmies are similar, I really don’t know how you can tell one from the other, so I am going with Prince Charles unless someone pipes up with a different name for it. I had the label for this one, it was even in a Monrovia pot, it said Betty Corning. Oh well… I am sorry about hail showers for you, that is so damaging and nothing can be done about.
    Frances

  8. Nigella is a troublesome self-seeder in our garden but we love it!

    Hi Green Bench, thanks for stopping by. We have several self seeders that are borderline problems. We just pull the worst offenders and leave the rest to fight it out amongst themselves.
    Frances

  9. Frances, I knew this wasn’t Betty Corning since I just got rid of mine last year, not working in my garden. Your version is much prettier. Wow, lilies blooming mine about ready, what is our late summer going to look like?

    This has really been an odd year, everything is at least two weeks ahead in my garden.

    Eileen

    Hi Eileen, thanks for that information. I didn’t question the identity of the clemmie until MMD made comments about, since she also grows the real Betty Corning. It is very hard to find an ID when you don’t know what you’ve got. This is a very pretty and strong growing, long blooming variety, whatever it is. Things are totally ahead this year, I too wonder if this will keep going for the rest of summer. Lilies and daylilies are budded up already, and not just the early ones, either.
    Frances

  10. I have Prince Charles in my family garden, will send you a picture. Pretty blooms. See you this week!

    Oh good, thanks Janet! After viewing the photo on facebook, I don’t think mine is that dark, it must not be our fine Prince. Dang! Yes, it is only a matter of hours now until we meet!
    Frances

  11. Lea says:

    Very pretty!
    Happy Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day!
    Lea
    Lea’s Menagerie

    Thanks Lea, and happy GBBD to you!
    Frances

  12. patientgardener says:

    I think it is so interesting how much information we share far more than from consulting books. I was excited to see your Clemmie rising in the ranks from a mere Betty to a Prince but then disappointed that this may not be so. I wonder where Clemmie will end up.

    Hi Helen, thanks for visiting. You are so right about the sharing of information between bloggers and comments. I am disappointed that the clemmie appears not to be Prince Charles. I may never find out the identity, but will keep looking.
    xoxoxo
    Frances

  13. There’s a lot going on at your place Frances. Lovely blooms. I don’t know which clemmie you have. So sorry.~~Dee

    Hi Dee, thanks. The mystery clemmie may never get a positive ID, but it sure is a fine one, whatever it is. Tons of blooms every year, no matter the weather, long lasting.
    Frances

  14. Lola says:

    Beautiful pics. My hydrangea does not bloom. It is on the NE corner of my home. Do you think I need to move it? Actually I have 2 & need to do something.

    Hi Lola, thanks. I am sorry about hour Hydrangea not blooming. Perhaps it needs a bit more sun, or if you are pruning it at all, you are cutting off the buds. This type of Hydrangea should not be pruned except right after blooming or you will cut off next year’s flowers.
    Frances

  15. Nell Jean says:

    Everything there looks beautiful.

    This is a better year for Hydrangeas than last. I forgot to plant my Nigella,

    Hi Nell Jean, thanks. It is a banner year for the Hydrangeas this go around, for sure. Plant your Nigella now, and hope for the best. If not flowers this year, they should bloom next year.
    Frances

  16. Beautiful, Frances;-) I love all of the photos. I think my Spigelia will be blooming soon. I thought I had lost it, but it has survived since last year. I love the little lambs…very cute. ) I figured out how to leave a comment on a wordpress blog…finally! I think my problem is solved, at last.

    Hi Jan, thanks for making the comment effort with WordPress! I do appreciate you! I am glad you Spigelia survived, such a wonderful, quiet little plant.
    Frances

  17. Town Mouse says:

    Lovely as always, Frances. I hope the Clematis mystery gets solved, I got a lot of help identifying a sedum and now I know what it is. Great photos as always.

    Happy Bloom Day

    Hi Town Mouse, thanks so much. I was hoping for an ID on the clemmie and got instead a non-ID! HA Happy GBBD to you!
    Frances

  18. Les says:

    Happy Bloom Day to you! Your royal clematis is beautiful. I have had killed every one i have ever planted, but the one that came with the house thrives, go figure.

    Hi Les, thanks and Happy GBBD to you! I have killed my share of clemmies, or had them struggle along with barely any blooms. This one, not Betty Corning and not Prince Charles is a winner. I am glad you have a winner in your garden, too.
    Frances

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