Sunday, I wrote an article for Oklahoma Living magazine, which meant going through photographs. It was 22°F outside, and we had a bit more snow. Not the hyped snowmageddon predicted by the weather people, but still cold and windy for what seemed like the millionth day.
For some reason–harrumph February–the cold weather and gray skies were getting to me so I decided we should take a look back at last May. Let’s see what worked and what didn’t at Little Cedar Garden, shall we?
Click on the photos in any of the galleries, below, to enlarge the photos for your viewing pleasure.
If you enjoy this exercise, I might look back at other months. Maybe it will get us through late winter while we wait for spring.
I traveled the first week of May to Austin, Texas for the 10th Anniversary of the Garden Bloggers’ Fling where we visited Lucinda Hutson’s garden and the Lady Bird Johson Wildflower Center along with a lot of other wonderful places. This summer, in June, garden bloggers will travel to Denver, Colorado. Any garden bloggers who want to come are welcome to join us. I think a few spots are still open.
The next photos I have of the garden are on May 20, and these feature roses. Apparently, from my photos, 2018 was a good rose spring. I planted several new roses, including ‘Imogen,’ ‘The Generous Gardener,’ ‘Harlow Carr,’ ‘Thomas à Becket,’ ‘Windermere,’ ‘Desdemona, and ‘The Mayflower.’ It will be two to three years before they show much in the way of performance and disease resistance, but I have high hopes for all of them.
In Little Cedar Garden, May is always about the roses, but don’t tell them. It will go to their heads.
While I wait for newer roses to flower, others r
Sultry Sangria™ Floribunda rose is one tough plant that grows on its own roots. I have two shrubs I planted with a Hybrid Tea, ‘St. Patrick.’ I thought purple and green would look great together, but ‘St. Patrick’ didn’t last even one season so I planted several other plants around the roses, and everyone seems happy. My only complaint about this rose is that it produces these beautiful flushes but isn’t at all self cleaning. It is a pain to deadhead around the other beautiful flowers. Other than that, it is wonderful.
‘The Lady Gardener‘ debuted in 2015. She was one of the first apricot roses in the English Old Rose group produced by David Austin roses. After I lost so many roses to Rose Rosette Virus, I changed my focus from growing really hardy roses on their own roots to more English roses than ever. I decided if I was going to have roses ever again, they would be the fanciest ones I could find–real showstoppers!
I grow all of these newer roses on the east side of the house except a couple of really hardy ones like ‘The Alnwick Rose,’ which is in the bed facing the street. Still, I try to protect them from the cold as much as possible by planting windbreaks nearby like ornamental grasses and evergreen trees. I think that helps.
If you aren’t ready to try roses again, I hear ya. Rose rosette killed 80 or so of my roses, but after three years being virus free in my garden, I’m willing to give roses another try in different locations. Never plant a rose in exactly the same spot because they just don’t thrive.
If you’re not ready, try these native shrubs to replace roses or plant something else in these garden holes of opportunity. Perhaps, these ten plants to replace climbing roses will fit the bill, but I’m planting roses again. Yes, I am.
‘Peggy Martin’ and ‘Carefree Beauty’ both performed well last year. ‘Carefree Beauty,’ a solid Dr. Griffith Buck rose, has been through all of the Rose Rosette, and showed no symptoms. I also rooted another bush from cuttings on the other side of the lower, back garden. ‘Peggy Martin’ only blooms once a year here, but during that time period, she is unstoppable. Peggy is a tough rose having survived a hurricane.
Although the roses think May is all about them, there are other plants that flower during this fairest of months.
We can’t let May go by without mentioning ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea and ‘Minnie Pearl’ phlox. From the Mt. Cuba Center website, a botanical garden in Delaware, “Phlox ‘Minnie Pearl’ was discovered along a roadside in Mississippi by Karen Partlow and was originally thought to be a hybrid between Phlox
As for ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea, I’ve written about her a lot over the years because she is one of my favorite plants for dappled shade. She does need quite
I think Penstemon ‘Dark Towers’ is one of the best of the beardtongues. It performs much better and has taller bloom spikes than ‘Husker Red.’ The flowers are also a subtle pink. It and ‘Violet Dusk’ are the two penstemons that are most successful in my garden. Both do reseed, but not in a wild and abandoned fashion. If you can only find ‘Husker Red,’ then plant it, but if you can find either ‘Dark Towers’ or ‘Violet Dusk’ plant them instead.
Another great plant in the garden in May is Bignonia capreolata, crossvine ‘Tangerine Beauty.’ Its performance is very dependent on our Oklahoma winter. If we have a harsh winter, I get fewer flowers, but if the winter is mild, it is abundant. Last year’s bloom was less than in 2017, but the hummingbirds still loved it.
While I’m sure there were many more plants shining in the May garden, these are the ones that come to mind. What worked in your May garden last year? I’d love to hear.
Also, before I forget, Carol Michel of May Dreams Gardens and I have a new garden podcast up each week on The Gardenangelists. You can access it from Buzzsprout,