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.
I have loaded up on coneflowers this year! I had a couple last tear and bought three more this year. I also have hollyhocks I planted a few years ago, and this year I planted bachelor’s buttons and cosmos from seed. They seem to be doing ok so far, so I’m hoping they are hardy this summer. I also planted Black-eyed Susans from seed but I haven’t seen them come up, which is really disappointing.The bees also love my catmint and Rose of Sharon. When I was a kid I always thought the old fashioned flowers my mom planted were boring… Now I try to plant as many of them as possible. Also, my kids and I have played amongst the bees no problem for years. The only one who has ever been stung is my husband, when I asked him to tie some old pantyhose around my drooping Rose of Sharon (long story!). Oops!
Hi Jennifer! It sounds like you’re having a blast gardening. I do love growing black-eyed Susans and all of the other plants you’re growing.
Dee about a year ago, you recommend a product to kill grasshoppers, would you post that or e-mail it to me, Thanks!
Hi Sue, it’s Nolo bait. It isn’t cheap, but it is all natural and won’t hurt anything other than grasshoppers and brown crickets. It takes time too because you may need to apply it twice. Do it when grasshoppers are small. Nolo bait is not a pesticide. It’s a grasshopper virus.
Baptisias! The blue is stunning. I have only the white but it is glorious in bloom. I started some seeds, now 2nd year seedlings. This year I thought to plant more. For some reason, the bloom pods disappeared off the plant before they got going except for one single fat pod that I am watching.
Thank you Nell Jean! I love the white too. I don’t know, but I think something eats the pods here too. Sometimes, they simply disappear.
I’m sorry to hear you’ve had a dry spring, Dee. I would be worried too. But you certainly have some beauties there. I love that baptisia/allium combo. I’m happy to report that the baptisia you encouraged me to buy in Asheville had its first bloom this year. I can’t wait till it has more than one though. 🙂 Your phlox are already blooming?? Wow!
Jean, we are supposed to get good rain this weekend. That will help. I’m so glad you like your baptisia. I felt kinda bad because I kinda of pushed it on you. These are the only phlox blooming. They are an early type.
I love baptisias, and I love the different colors you have, Dee. I only have one purple one and would love to add more, but I haven’t decided on a definite place to put them. After digging up an amsonia to move it a couple of years ago, I’ve learned to plant something with long taproots in a permanent place!
Robin Ruff Leja
I think that most gardeners understand the benefits of having a garden full of pollinators, but what about the general public? They are the ones who need to learn! I hear it all the time about how they can’t plant such and such because it attracts bees. It makes me want to scream! But instead, I tell them that attracting bees is exactly what they should be doing.
Beth @ PlantPostings
Love the Wisteria and the Baptisia! The Allium/Baptisia combo is great. I have a Wisteria vine growing on my arbor–it’s taken several years to get established, but I love it. Happy Bloom Day, Dee.
Thank you Beth. I love it too. I think the American wisteria takes a long time for sure.
Lisa at Greenbow
My garden is full of blooms but my computer is dead. Waiting for a new one to arrive. I have to “share” my Dearly Beloveds. I don’t know how to work his photo program. Sigh… It is fun to see your blooms. The spring here has been slow to start but it is romping now. We are to have record or near record lows tonight and tomorrow night. Brrrr. We have also been having some of your rain. I am glad because I have transplanted a few things and added some new plants. Glad to see you like Dark Towers. I am trying it this time. I haven’t had much luck with Husker’s Red. I hope you get some rest from all your talks. It is good that you can sieze the day so to speak. This too will end. Cheers and Happy GBBD.
Hi Lisa! Well phooey on broken computers. I hate it when that happens. Can’t wait to see what you post when it comes back up. I think ‘Dark Towers’ is way better than some of the others. I’m glad you’re getting rain. Hope we do soon.
Your American wisteria is really gorgeous. I hope you get some rain soon! Your garden looks really well designed with great structure.
Thank you so much Jason. I hope we get rain soon too.
Baptisias and Penstemons are two of my favorite mid spring blooms…I have ‘Minnie Pearl’ and love her cool white good looks. That ‘Dark Towers’ photo IS lovely.
Hey sweet Gail! I love your garden in spring. So beautiful. Aren’t we lucky to be gardeners? I think so.
Looking so pretty there Dee! I wonder ig that is Iris Edith Wolford? I love that yellow/blue combo and have tried to get that going here. It disappeared…I need to try again.
Leslie, perhaps it is. I went and looked for the tag. I couldn’t find it to save my life.
So many things blooming! I love penstemons too, though I don’t have the ‘Dark Towers’–it’s beautiful. Love that photo of the cornflower with bumblebee–I haven’t seen a bumblebee in such a long time. Nice post.
Thank you so much Tina!