Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day: April

As I write this Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, it is 29°F this morning. Yesterday was a howling, cold day with a high of 43°. We burned another fire in the fireplace, and I was grateful not to be a settler or one of the native tribes who lived in Oklahoma around the turn of the last century. Every time the wind howled, it reminded me of wolves.

The smoke from the fires out west made our prairie sky red at night.
The smoke from the fires out west made our prairie sky red at night. My daughter took this photo of the sun from our car when we were out to dinner.

The western Oklahoma prairie has been on fire for several days because of a stray spark and that howling wind. Two nights ago, the wind blew the smoke from those prairie fires into the central part of Oklahoma, and we could hardly breathe. I feel for my neighbors in Vici and Woodward, along with everyone else in the fires’ path. We have two more days of the wind tomorrow and Tuesday. Then, things should calm down on that front. Prairie fires are not new to our state. They devoured acres of the grasslands for eons, even before the bison roamed. It is how the prairie was renewed each spring and fall. However, it’s sad when the high winds take people’s livelihood, homes and sometimes even their lives.

Oklahoma needs rain, especially western Oklahoma. Please pray for rain and safety for our firefighters and citizens.

In the garden, April is way behind because we’ve had freeze after freeze. No, they’re not late freezes, but they might as well be. In between the freezes, warm temperatures and strong southern winds made everything in the garden grow as if it were May. My Japanese maples, toad lilies, and hostas are wilted and shivering, but nearly everything else is okay, considering. Plants will quickly rebound if the freezes stop–and they will–and we get rain.

My only tulips this year. I was moving Mom when they were to be planted. I got a few in, but the rest were in containers that didn't perform very well.
My only tulips this year. I was moving Mom when they were to be planted. I got a few in, but the rest were in containers that didn’t perform very well. Squirrels got into the pots. In front of the tulips, I believe, is Galium aparine, sticky weed or cleavers. It grows all over this one bed and is a booger to get rid of. It’s also called velcro weed.

In Oklahoma, it’s always about the rain. We get most of our precipitation in spring and fall with a long, hot and dry summer in between.

Packera obovata, formerly Senecio obovatus, is a pretty aggressive native perennial, but oh, look at that yellow color. Pollinators like it too. It also makes a good groundcover in difficult places. Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day
Packera obovata, formerly Senecio obovatus, is a pretty aggressive native perennial, but oh, look at that yellow color. Pollinators like it too. It also makes a good groundcover in difficult places.

Surprisingly, my roses are fine. The new growth on several is sad. I’ll go around and remove it this week, but the main leaves are untouched. Of course, they’re not blooming yet.

<em>Lonicera sempervirens </em>'Major Wheeler' American honeysuckle and <em>Berberis thunbergii</em>'Orange Rocket' barberry already look great at the end of the back garden. 'Major Wheeler' has been impervious to the cold.
Lonicera sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler’ American honeysuckle and Berberis thunbergii‘ ‘Orange Rocket’ barberry already look great at the end of the back garden. ‘Major Wheeler’ has been impervious to the cold.

‘Major Wheeler’ coral honeysuckle is one of the stars of the spring garden. At the end of the garden where the purple chairs sit, I once had ‘New Dawn‘ roses planted on either side of a previous arbor, but sadly, they both succumbed to Rose Rosette Virus. However, I like the honeysuckle. It’s a lot less trouble and has no thorns. The hummingbirds also like it. So that’s two of us. How about you?

[Click on the photos in the galleries to make them larger.]

No, on to what else is blooming in the garden. As I took photos out in the wind, I would have told you not much really. However, when I uploaded the pictures, I realized there’s a lot blooming here. It’s just miserable and cold, and I’m sick of it. We do have blooms though with Phlox divaricata, woodland phlox, being the star of the show. Thank goodness for this splendid native. I saw it for sale at TLC Nursery a couple of weeks ago which hardly ever happens. I mentioned it on Facebook, and poof, the plants were soon gone. I guess you do read my posts! Thanks so much!

The last photo is of P. subulata, creeping phlox, which a completely different plant just to let you know. It’s still pretty, but grows best in sun.

You might go over and follow me on Instagram though. I do a lot of videos on there. Sometimes, I share them on Facebook, but sometimes, I don’t. I also answer questions in both places. I’m not on Twitter as much as I once was. I need a little downtime.

<em>Viola soraria</em>, common blue violets, in a shady spot beneath an oak tree. Bill and I think they're quite pretty even if others use herbicides to kill them in lawns.
Viola soraria, common blue violets, in a shady spot beneath an oak tree. Bill and I think they’re quite pretty even if others use herbicides to kill them in lawns.

We even have blooms in the lawn. Yes, those are common blue–really purple–violets. People often use herbicides to kill them out of their grass and gardens, but I don’t mind them. These grow in a shady spot where no grass grows. They are also a good pollinator plant for early spring. If you are still skeptical, read “Underused Native Plants: Common Blue Violets” from the Penn State Extension.

My lawn is full of early natives and weeds that most people shun. I hate Bermuda Grass so bring on chickweed, henbit and the other little weeds that nourish wildlife. Almost all of them die out as soon as the weather warms. I just mow them and go on. That way the rabbits and other creatures don’t eat my garden so much. That, and our dog. Pup Francis, is a wildlife chasing machine. He even catches moles.

Pup Francis hates the moles. He is a mole catching machine. He also took over for being my garden companion when Maddie died.
Pup Francis hates the moles. He is a mole catching machine. He also took over for being my garden companion when Maddie died. I just wish he wouldn’t jump up into the potager.

No, I don’t feel sorry for the moles. Not one little bit. I hates the moles, Precious. So does Francis.

Back to blooms. Although my tulips left something to be desired, my daffodils were extraordinary this year. They were front and center in my March Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day post. Now, they are on the wane, but they are dying beautifully. As their blooms fade, I snap or cut them off so they don’t produce seed capsules. That way, they spread more quickly.

Japanese kerria, both the double and single forms, is doing its thing with panache. I love this spring bloomer. I really do. It lights up the shade gardens. We also have the first lilac blooming. The other ‘Miss Kim’ lilacs should bloom in a week or so.

Okay, that’s it for this month.

Oh! Did I mention we’re getting honeybees? Yes! We are! I’m excited.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted by my dear friend, Carol Michel of May Dreams Gardens. Hop on over there to see what she’s got cooking.

28 Comments Add yours

  1. Richard Smith says:

    I sure agree with your philosophy on lawns. I always decline my son in law’s offer to apply herbicides to kill the “weeds” and I consider my grassy areas to be more “meadow” than lawn. I like all the little flowers, now blooming some bright yellow with shiny petals as if waxed, some bright blue/purple with yellow eyes. My daughter mowed (set high) for me last week and the smell of wild onion permeated the air for a couple of days. All is good!

    Not so good with my daffodils I’m afraid. I’d hoped to naturalize them in the wooded areas lining the drive and planted 300 bulbs two Novembers back. They bloomed beautifully last spring but this year only a handful have survived. (A few of the bulbs were spoiled in the bags and I suspect they were perhaps all diseased, though most seemed healthy.) Better luck with an heirloom variety that I’ve managed to preserve from my grandmother’s home in Illinois. They’re not real showy, smallish pale yellow but they are survivors and they mean something to me. I’ll have another go at the newer ones coming fall.

    Made a visit to Bustani last week and came home with several new plants. And I found “Annabelle” hydrangea on sale at Wayside catalog and have her planted. (They sent a nice looking plant.) I intend to add others you’ve suggested (Ruby Slippers and Limelight). I’ve got places reserved for both.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Hi Richard, I’ve been thinking about your daffodils. Some daffodil varieties are not good naturalizers while others grow like weeds. I would try the website, Old House Gardens, https://oldhousegardens.com/, for some of their heirlooms. I’ve had great luck with Thalia for example. The smaller bulbs especially seem to multiply. Also, if you have Bermuda grass, and who doesn’t in sunny areas, it can choke out bulbs. I hope this helps. I’m glad you found ‘Annabelle.’ I think you’ll like her.

  2. John says:

    Thanks for the reminder about Keria, I haven’t thought about those for a few years. Worth trying again.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Glad to help John. I like single-flowering Japanese kerria best, but I also have the doubles blooming out front. Happy Spring!

  3. Layanee says:

    Spring has arrived but no one told Mother Nature…I am sick of the cold as well. That said, your blooms warm the heart and nurture the soul. And as for Pup Francis….job well done!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Layanee, sending much love and warmth to you.

  4. Your brick pathway is so pretty, Dee. And you have so many colorful blooms–in spite of the cooler weather you’ve had. Your Phlox and the Honeysuckle on the trellis, in particular, are so special. Their bright colors perked me up on this cold day.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Beth, thank you my friend! Are you going to Fling? I need to go look. I hope your weather settles down soon. This has been the longest winter and shortest spring.~~Dee

  5. Eileen Sim says:

    The phlox subulata, creeping phlox looks gorgeous! I bought some phlox seeds, but they have not germinated for me.

    My lawn is filled with weeds that people shun too. Mainly dandelions, henbit and dead nettles. My gardening friend told me that the bees and wildlife will like it too, so i just let them be. Spotted a few honeybees too.

    Hope Oklahoma weather doesn’t go too crazy from now on, so we can do more gardening!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Hi Eileen, I wonder what type of phlox you were trying to germinate? Maybe one of the little phlox. Here’s the secret about phlox seeds, at least for me, they require total darkness and even then, they are slow to come alive. They also need a heat mat because they want 65° to germinate. Silly seeds. I only had one germinate of the phlox I was trying to germinate this year. I love weedy lawns btw. They are the best. I hope our weather settles down and doesn’t get any hotter. Happy gardening!~~Dee

  6. It has been a cold spring for so many! Your garden still looks lovely. I have never had to turn my heater on in April before and this year we did the last two weekends. Warmer days are coming!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Laurin, what a crazy spring it’s been for much of the country. Good grief! I had the heater on, and then on another 85° day I finally had to turn on the air conditioning. Today is 70 beautiful degrees though, and I have a date with a friend to go plant shopping. See you in a couple of weeks in Austin!~~Dee

  7. Ann Reynolds says:

    Oh, I remember the prairie fires and know they can be good for nature but bad for people. Wasn’t it last year or a couple of years ago that fire burned Medicine Park? Sad. My daddy always said that in every song about Oklahoma there is a verse about the wind. . .ha! Daffs and tulips are finished here in the piney woods of east Texas. Coreopsis, Queen Anne’s Lace, Indian Paintbrush and Lyre Leaf Sage are in bloom.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Hi Ann, yes, they can be devastating. I think the Medicine Park fire happened about five years ago, but who knows? I do remember it. I love hearing about what’s blooming in East Texas. It’s one of my favorite places on Earth. Happy Bloom Day!~~Dee

  8. Rose says:

    I don’t think of Oklahoma when I think of prairie fires, but now I have been educated–so sad. Wish I could send some of our rain your way–I’ve had more than enough of it this spring. So many lovely blooms, Dee! I do love the Phlox divaricata and ordered some this spring, thanks to your recommendations. It will probably arrive too late to bloom this spring, but I’m looking forward to next year. My garden is way behind yours, but probably just as well–it’s snowing here again this morning, ugh. I don’t think I’ve seen Pup Francis before; his name just made me chuckle:) Good for him for being a mole catcher!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Hi Rose, Oh yes, that wind whipping down the plains. The fires were something else, but I think they’re under control now. At least, we’re no longer on the national news everyday. I hope you enjoy your phlox. It’s my favorite spring plant. When it does bloom, to spread it around, take the seeds and just scatter them. Soon, you’ll have lots of phlox. I now dig it out of my woods and put more in the garden during the season. ~~Dee

  9. Carol Michel says:

    You have a lot going on in your garden! Thanks for sharing it with us for bloom day!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Thank you for hosting!

  10. Phillip says:

    I so miss my Kerria. I have thought about planting one in the new garden but it takes up a lot of real estate. Winter seems like it won’t end her either. 🙁

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Phillip, it does take up a lot of room, and if you have a small garden, perhaps not. I hope your spring/winter ends soon too.~~Dee

  11. Looks lovely! I can hardly wait until my daffodils and my phlox start blooming!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Kathy, I bet you can’t, and I’ll get to enjoy it all again through your eyes.~~Dee

  12. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I have plenty of blooms at this point but I think you have more. I have Major Wheeler in my garden and I just went out to make sure he didn’t start blooming without my knowing after I read your post. Nope, not yet. I too love honeysuckles. I have several. It is cold and windy here too, and yes I am sick of it. It seems we have several days of freezing temps to deal with yet. My poor toad lilies are getting mushy around the edges. Happy GBBD.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Lisa, he’s been blooming for two weeks and through three freezes here. Pretty cool really. My toad lilies are completely sad and mushy. I’m going to cut them back next week. Same for some of the hostas and a few other things. Oh well….

  13. Yes, I, too, have had enough of the “snowing Monday, 85 on Friday”. Sigh… it’s spring, it is what it is. Love Major Wheeler. Just planted one last year, so looking forward to the show this year. And my “lawn” is just like yours – lots of non-grass items (aka weeds). Good for bunnies and bees, and looks nice and green when everything is mowed the same height.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Hi Ginny, in the old days, clover was sold with lawn grasses to help them with nitrogen and for the bees. I ascribe to that notion even now. I hope your ‘Major Wheeler’ blooms with abundance this year. Spring truly is on its way. Thank goodness.~~Dee

  14. I have been thinking of adding ‘Major Wheeler.’ Looks gorgeous in your garden.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Hi Linda, ‘Major Wheeler’ is much earlier and more prolific than ‘Dropmore Scarlet.’ At least, that’s what I’ve noticed in my garden over the last few years. I like them both though.~~Dee

I love your comments. Thanks for letting me know what you think.