Friday, May 15, 2015

Blooming in May

Rose "The Generous Gardener"
From big flowers to small, the garden is giving a good account of itself in its first May.  In my last post I wrote about some surprise bloomers; here I will look at the rest of the garden.

One remarkable feature of mild-winter gardening is the plants that seem to have no end to their natural bloom season.  High on the list from this garden is Russelia equisetiformis "Big Red".  With a healthy feeding every couple of weeks it continues to turn out hundreds of bright scarlet trumpets, thus...
Russelia equisetiformis
It was a surprising colour combination, but one little patch of violas has been very happy in its shade.
Violas, Russelia equisetiformis
The violas planted in full sun are nearly finished and have consistently required more water - data to be considered when selecting and positioning annuals next autumn.  For now, I have plopped a few Celosias into a similar location under the the shade of the patio roof.  I want to see how they fare this summer as they are supposed to be relatively heat-and-drought tolerant, and they certainly supply a nice punch of colour!
But in general, I am not doing much with annuals yet, still trying to get a basic perennial and shrub structure in place.  Other than roses - which we will come to in a moment - no shrubs are blooming at present, other than sporadic flowers from the two Eremophilas.  Nearly shrublike in effect is Cistanthe grandiflora, with its low, spreading mound of fan-shaped, succulent leaves, topped by long stems with magenta flowers.
Cistanthe grandiflora
Other succulents less spectacularly in bloom are Senecio "Blue Fingers"...
Senecio "Blue Fingers" flowers
...and the very low-growing Sedeveria "Sorrento".
Sedeveria "Sorrento"
And now for the roses!  The spring-planted David Austin roses in the center bed have paused and are putting out new growth.  "The Alnwick Rose" has some buds and a scanty bloom; unfortunately I missed photographing its first magnificent blossom.
"The Alnwick Rose' bud
 In the Rose Border "The Generous Gardener" goes on blooming merrily though the blooms are still paler than their expected soft pink hue...
Rose "The Generous Gardener"
..."St Swithun" is loaded with buds but none have opened yet, "Graham Thomas" has just opened its first...
...and "Crown Princess Margareta" is well into her second blooming spree with magnificently formed, exquisitely coloured flowers.
Rose "Crown Princess Margareta"Rose "Crown Princess Margareta"
Still waiting for "James Galway", which got off to a slow start.

In the Center Bed, "Sterling Silver" is once more in full bloom.  This hybrid tea has a definite bloom cycle, with a strong flush of bloom followed by a pause, followed by new growth, completed with another burst of bloom.
Rose "Sterling Silver"
Looking over my collection of photos for today's post, I realise how few flowers I have blooming in this cool lavender/blue range.  I had intended to use this colour to tie the more emphatic hues together, but I have found that the emphatic hues don't require as much "tying" in the intense sunlight.  They look fairly good butted up against each other.  So my colour scheme has drifted in a different direction, and lavender tones are merely one of many.   Perovskia, for instance...
Perovskia atriplicifolia
And speaking of lavenders, the only one currently in bloom is "Goodwin Creek Gray", which I am very pleased with, as much on account of the strikingly silver foliage as the deep-toned flower spikes.  (No pictures, unfortunately!)  Another herbal flower creating a cool burst of colour on a small scale is the marvelously scented lemon thyme (Thymus citriodora).  It has been in bloom for months and shows no signs of stopping yet.  It is planted near the Damianita (Chrysactinia mexicana), and the two have grown well together.  I give the thyme just a little more water; but as both plants receive afternoon shade, they have been very undemanding through the winter and spring.
lemon thyme, thymus citriodora
Chrysactinia mexicana, damianita
Salvia elegans, also nearby, is beginning to bloom.  I hope to write a post exclusively on this Salvia soon as I've been thoroughly enjoying it!
Salvia elegans, pineapple sage
 At the other end of the garden, and at the other end of the bloom cycle, Anigozanthos "Bush Ranger" still has a bloom or two open.
Anigozanthos "Bush Ranger"
Nearby is the little powerhouse Berlandiera lyrata, which has probably featured in every GBBD since February.  Occasional deadheading and close attention to watering seem to have kept it happy.  I've fed it only lightly though it might not mind a bit more.
Berlandiera lyrata
Another desert native blooming in May is Aquilegia desertorum.  Despite being planted only last March (and it was a very small plant when it arrived) it has already produced several blooms and is clearly not done yet.  In fact, it is said to continue blooming for months.
Aquilegia desertorum
And the Osteospermums are producing quite a bit of colour.  "Blue-eyed Beauty", planted fairly recently, has been in and out of bloom for a few weeks now...
Osteospermum "Blue-eyed Beauty"
...while "Mimosa Sunset" has just covered itself in bright orange once more.
Osteospermum "Mimosa Sunset"
So there is a look round the garden to see what is blooming in the month of May.  I'm linking this post, of course, to Carol's May Dreams Garden, where many other gardenfuls of flowers can be visited.

Happy May!
Weathery Diary: Mostly cloudy - rain expected; High yesterday: 82 F (27.8 C)/Low: 62 F (16.7 C)


  1. ενα ΑΡΙΣΤΟΥΡΓΗΜΑ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ΕΥΧΕΣ για ενα ομορφο σαββατοκυριακο

    1. Many thanks, dear Aggeliki!! Happy weekend :)

  2. Your garden is doing very well this May, Amy! Your roses never cease to impress me. I've got to try swapping out some of those I have for David Austins that can handle the heat. Since seeing the Aguilegia desertorum close up, that's on my list too.

    1. I'm very impressed so far with the little Aquilegia, Kris! I want to try one of the A. chrysantha varieties too as they're said to do well here, but this one will be hard to beat :)

  3. The roses do very well for you, it amazes me too. My David Austins are just coming into bud... next month!

    1. So far, so good, Jessica! I hope these still look good come October... I am looking forward to seeing all the roses coming in next month; I'm sure I will get more ideas than is good for my budget - or my back ;-)

  4. It's great to see the desert gardens producing as many blooms as their more temperate counterparts. The roses are just magnificent!

    1. It's been great fun so far, Matt - trying to find things that will be happy to bloom here! Fingers crossed for the next few months... :)

  5. Each of those roses in your rose bed would be well suited to my front garden. They are all lovely. Roses are quite a bit away here so am making do with yours for now Amy - hope you don't mind.
    A veritable feast of plants, most of which I am unfamiliar with but can't help but be impressed with. Love the colour of the Osteospermum Mimosa Sunset - it's a wee cracker.

    1. The orange colour on Mimosa Sunset makes me smile every time!
      I'm glad you're enjoying the roses - I have a feeling that seeing yours and everyone else's in the next few months will pad my order list and damage the garden budget ;-)

  6. Such wonderful flowers and photos of them. .... magnificent photographic work ...
    Greetings, Karin

    1. Thanks so much for the kind compliment, Karin! I'm so glad you enjoyed them :)