Friday, May 23, 2014

O, the month of May, the merry month of May,/ So frolic, so gay, and so green, so green, so green!

Anemone narcissiflora
 Thomas Dekker must have had a spring like our's in mind when he wrote his song: it's been raining every day for much of the last week--some coming as torrential downpours, accompanied by hail (although I admit it's not the hardest hail I've experienced): some of the larger leaved plants like Crambe kotchyana and rhubarbs are a bit tattered: I just call them forma laciniata.

I struggled for years to grow Anemone narcissiflora and had decided it had to be rather finicky. Then I got this specimen in a rather difficult corner of my garden that's come back and even gotten bigger the last few years. I had to lead this blog parade with those lilting, dancing, virginal white flowers.

Delosperma 'Garnet'
 I was just a TAD annoyed a few years ago when a Dutch owned company began touting "hardy" delospermas in fabulous new colors. Yeah, right...I eventually discovered they're being created by a Japanese breeder, Koichiro Nishikawa, who lives in Ecuador (or is it Peru?)...The gall! To invade MY turf like that? But as a friend of mine pointed out, a Greek-American can hardly feel he merits a monopoly on South African plants. I planted several of these out dubiously...well, they came through this vicious past winter just fine. And I believe the flowers speak for themselves. I smugly told myself "they're just little alpine morsels--great for a rock gardener, but useless in a large garden". Then this year I've discovered they're selling a NEW series "W.O.W." (Wheels of Wonder) Delospermas that are more landscape in scale. They're at Lowe's already in Tennessee and Michigan: And they too are amazing colors that I can't wait to try...My delo monopoly was sweet while it lasted....

Fritillaria sp.
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who worship all fritillaries, and love them as dark and green and dingy as much as the flamboyant few in the genus. And there are those who have no use for them at all. I am of the former category--this is one of the dingiest of the lot--Wunderbar!
Allium nevskianum
 There are are some plants that quickly climb to the top of one's favorite's list: I realize this superficially resembles Allium cristophii (which is high on that list too) but they are distinct in several ways. The flower on this is not so massive, but an even darker, more vivid purple with more spidery flowers. The leaves are stained purple as well: and best of all it's blooming several weeks earlier. You can bet I shall be saving seed on this!

Dicentra formosa 'Sweetheart'
 I have grown this bleeding heart forever: I believe this is the same white form of D. formosa that I had in my parent's garden almost a half century ago. It spread around there, and yet somehow (college, transition) I managed to lose them. I am so pleased to have it back in my new garden, already ramping almost a yard acress. I love the contrast of the dicentra foliage and heuchera leaf almost as much as I enjoy the contrast of the white flower and purple and ferny leaves.

Dianthus minutiflorus
 One knows one is a plant nerd when You love this sort of thingy. The plant is hardly worth a spot in the garden, but I love it and am delighted to have had it overwinter in a container. Who but a rock gardener would buy a plant called "D. minutiflorus"? I mean REALLY.

Triumvirate of Delos...
 How witty for white, yellow and bright red delospermas to bloom all at once!

Silene petersonii
 Today I had over 100 people tour my garden: I doubt that anyone noticed this, my pride and joy. I've grown this rare silene in the past, but never so well. Growing an obscure and rare plant well is a pleasure plantsmen relish.

Ranunculus gramineus and Iberis taurica
 The ranunculus has always been one of my favorites--one can never have enough. But I have enough of the iberis that is trying to swallow my rock garden whole. I left them for the tour today, but tomorrow there may be a substantial purging...

Aquilegia fragrans
 I grew a compact form of this years ago: this one is twice or three times as big, but still lovely. I hope one day I may run across my little specimen again. There are several awesome columbines in the Himalayas, a deep purple one as well that I grew for a while. So many plants, so little time!

Allium karataviense var. henrikii
 I would love this plant even if it weren't named for Henrik Zetterlund--one of my heros whom I am proud to count as a friend. Henrik is the heart and soul of Gothenburg, one of the world's two or three greatest botanic gardens. Now that we have tragically lost Jim Archibald, Henrik and Ron McBeath are my nominees for the world's greatest gardeners. I'm thrilled this is setting fat seedpods! And no other karataviense blooming nearby to pollute the genepool...he he he....

Geranium 'Purple Passion' (I think)
A bevy of wonderful new dark leaved geraniums have been produced with G. sessiliflorum as one parent. This one overwintered (and snuck into my garden so that I don't have the name in my database). I am mightily pleased that it did, however...

Annuals: batch one
 Garden tours are an excuse to "add a little color"--and of course, planting these probably precipitated the next four days of torrential thunderstorms mixed with hail! I'm not sure if planting more annuals as I have in recent years isn't an early sign of the onset of dementia. So be it!
More annuals!
I shall undoubtedly photograph the pots I've planted these in later this summer. The jewel-tone colors are really a kick: it will be nicer than last year's more garish primary tones...

I spend all year looking forward to May--and it shoots by like a bullet! Oh if we could only add another May to the calendar...


  1. A Greek-American monopoly on South American plants- nice! May really is a great month to be in the garden and I can see why you left the candytuft for the tour.
    Not quite sure which side of the fence I'm on regarding the fritillarias. I have enough trouble passing off thistles as legitimate garden plants here, so I guess a dingy brown and green bulb might be pushing it too far with the neighbors. I'd find new neighbors, but unfortunately they're relatives too.

  2. The Triumvirate of Delos is gorgeous.


Featured Post

A garden near lake Tekapo

The crevice garden of Michael Midgley Just a few years old, this crevice garden was designed and built by Michael Midgley, a delightful ...

Blog Archive