Good morning everyone! It’s that time again. Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is upon us. A special thank you to Carol Michel for hosting us yet again on her blog. Looking back over past bloom days, I see that I usually write about roses. Not this year. Spring has been so cool and dry that the roses are just beginning to show a little color. In fact, most of the garden is green. I water with drip line so my garden does have water. Still, I am a bit worried. If we go into summer with no measurable rainfall, it will be a longer summer than usual. A normal summer in Oklahoma is bad enough.
Oh well, la dee da–as Scarlett O’Hara would say, I’ll worry about that tomorrow. Today, we’ll show the blooms!
When my Wisteria frutescens, American wisteria, froze a month ago, I thought its performance was over. I was so wrong! I guess this wisteria had understudy players to go on with the show. Both of my wisteria are blooming, and Wisteria macrostachya ‘Blue Moon’ is blooming abundantly. The one shown below in the photo is ‘Amethyst Falls.”
I bought a few iris last summer and the one previous. Several are blooming now. The one below probably has a tag buried in the ground somewhere, but I didn’t have time to look for it. I’ve been gardening like a madwoman trying to get everything done before I travel to Austin to speak. I’ve spoken somewhere every weekend in April and May. I am weary.
Fortunately, the garden restores my soul.
The baptisias are still blooming. I took the photo, above a couple of weeks ago, but I wanted to show you one of the softer yellow ones I grow. I have several blue ones, three yellow, including ‘Carolina Moonlight’, one ‘Purple Smoke’ and a Baptisia alba var. macrophylla I bought at Bustani Plant Farm two years ago. A word about baptisias–even if they look as though they’ve died on you, don’t dig them up and replace them. Sometimes, they take years to set their tap roots and really get going. Midnight Prairieblues™ was one of those. I got it from Klehm’s Song Sparrow Nursery years ago, and I was sure several times that it had died. No, like so many prairie natives, it was just building itself up to bloom. ‘Carolina Moonlight’ was the same way. It now blooms with abundance, and the bees are so glad. Also, in my climate, baptisias will die to the ground in summer. Just remove old stalks and let them be. They will come back stronger than ever next spring.
I can’t say this enough. We should all grow simple, nectar-rich flowers, like those found in our grandmother’s gardens. Zinnias, columbines, shasta daisies, sweet rocket–check to see if it’s invasive in your area first though, and single hollyhocks all come to mind. So many of these are easy to grow from seed, like this Centaurea cyanus, cornflower or bachelor’s buttons. Every year, cornflowers self sow in my lower garden, and I add to their number for my pollinators. A garden without the sound of buzzing insects is a dead garden. A garden loaded with chemicals is a dead garden too. Never fear our winged friends–even the wasps–when they are feeding. They are far too busy to ever bother you.
Another great pollinator plant is the beard tongue or penstemon. I have several, but hands down, ‘Dark Towers’ is my favorite. It outshines ‘Husker Red’ by a mile. Its foliage is darker. It has pink blooms, and it grows taller. The bees and butterflies love it. I also have the smaller ‘Violet Dusk’ which I like very much. I’ll be replacing ‘Husker Red’ this year when I divide ‘Dark Towers.’
Although I don’t see a lot of pollinators on Phlox ‘Minnie Pearl,’ I would still grow it because the white blooms are enough to enchant me. They don’t turn mushy and brown as they fade either. This phlox is mildew free and a wonderful addition to any garden. It does’t get very tall, only about twelve inches in my beds, but the flowers bloom for a very long time. According to Plant Delights Nursery, it is a hybrid between Phlox maculata and possibly Phlox glaberrima.” I bought my plant from Bustani Plant Farm, but Plant Delights also has it. It and ‘Wanda,’ a pink phlox similar to ‘Minnie Pearl’ are both garden worthy plants. Bustani sells them both.
The clematis are all blooming which make me very happy. I have so many these days. They are another perennial that takes their sweet time getting started. Leaving them alone seems to really help, as done planting them so that their roots have some shade. However, they want to bloom in full sun so plant them beneath another perennial–roses are the most obvious companions. I’ve been experimenting with bush clematis. One has take forever to get going, but another, C. integrifolia ‘Mongolian Bells’ has surpassed my wildest dreams. These bush-type clematis don’t climb. Instead, I would say they clamber–not the most technical word, but that’s what they do. I placed it beneath ‘Baseye’s Blueberry’ rose and next to ‘Will’s Wonderful’ garden mum, and I use a peony support to keep it from clambering more than I want.
From the looks of things, most of the plants that are blooming with abandon are smaller blooms. Perhaps, that’s why the garden looks so green from afar. Happy Bloom Day everyone! Can’t wait to see what you’ve got growing.