Good morning everyone and Happy May Day! It’s beautiful in sunny Oklahoma. Rain fell in April, and there’s more forecast for this month. Hallelujah! Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and those old-fashioned favorites: irises, peonies and roses light up my garden this May Day. How about yours?
I am not a huge fan of bearded irises, but I do like their vertical leaf form. Why am I, not a fan? Well, a rainstorm usually drowns them in their short season. You could say the same about peonies, but I have a soft spot for them. Plus, I support my peonies with cages beneath their foliage. They hold up their heads even when thunderstorms pound them.
I don’t know the names of the irises above. They were once tagged, but since I don’t exhibit them, I just enjoy them.
Not all in my garden is sunny, though. Every landscape has its problems. I want to focus about May’s joys, but I also need to tell you what’s going wrong. I have moles in the garage border. I will have to kill them. I won’t go into the details, but it’s not pretty. They are piling up messy dirt piles and tunneling beneath the plants. These tunnels leave roots exposed, and sometimes entire plants disappear under dirt piles. I must take action now.
As for roses, you know how much I love them. I still have several, and they all appear healthy as of now. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed, shall we? Rose bloom is just starting. I hope we’re in full bloom by next week or so.
‘Sophy’s Rose‘ is still a favorite with her unique petal shape. She looks like a camellia, but she is an English rose. The color in our bright sunlight is much more pink than red. She does have a lovely, light fragrance.
My current favorite English rose is ‘Darcey Bussell.’ I love the color, the shape of the blooms, how floriferous she is, and her fragrance. I can’t say enough nice things about this delicate rosebush that is at home in front of any border. I’m growing her in two places: in the tiered garden in front of the Blessed Mother statue and next to the garage in front of a Japanese maple. So far, no Rose Rosette Disease on either shrub.
Heirloom rose, ‘Marie Pavie‘ (1888), was given to me by my friend, Katie when Megan made her First Communion fourteen years ago. It has pink buds that open to white and has performed really well in this space. Like all Polyanthas, it’s very disease resistant. It never gets blackspot. Several other roses are in bud and promise a good spring flowering. I can hardly wait. I also pulled my duranta standard and my orange tree out of the greenhouse where they resided all winter. The orange tree has tiny fruit.
Bumblebees and Eastern Carpenter Bees are covering the Wisteria frutescens ‘Amethyst Falls’ that blooms where ‘Zephirine Drouhin’ once reigned. I bought this American wisteria, not to be confused with the overly-aggressive Asian types, five years or so ago from Bustani Plant Farm. Click on the photos in the gallery, above, to enlarge them. This native vine is a sight to see in late spring with black and yellow furry bumbles flitting to and fro. The bees are fussy because I bother them going in and out of the gate, but they won’t harm me or any visitors. They are far too intoxicated by pollen and nectar gathering. Plus, male carpenter bees don’t have stingers.
This is a good thing since I have visitors coming to the garden on May 11. Two garden clubs are coming to visit. I’m only opening the garden for one day this year, and it should be great fun. Our garden will also be on the Hemerocallis Region 11 tour in 2017, so I’ve been removing some of my older daylilies and giving their spaces to newer cultivars. I hope they will all be clump-sized by then. If we keep getting rain, that will happen. I’ve never seen the garden look lovelier. Do I write that every year?
The purple baptisias are putting on quite a show this spring while the yellow ones aren’t blooming as heavy. That’s the thing about gardening; you just never know what a season will bring, and how plants will respond. For years, I waited on ‘Purple Smoke’ to get going, and now, it’s splendid. Baptisia ‘Carolina Moonlight,’ shown in the second photo, above, with the yellow iris, isn’t blooming as heavy as last spring, and the two yellow species baptisias in the lower garden are slower to bloom than in previous years. Purple and yellow Decadence® ‘Blueberry Sundae’ is scrumptious in the bed facing the street. Bumblebees love baptisias.
As for peonies, I have several that are blooming. I started years ago in doubles, but now I favor the Japanese bloom style like ‘White Cap.’ I think my ‘Karl Rosenfield’ peonies are being crowded by Phlox paniculata. Whenever we get rain, the phlox becomes very aggressive. I need to get my garden fork and remove some of them. They grow in such large clumps that it’s like doing battle some years.
People think you can’t move peonies in the spring, but if you’re having good weather, of course, you can. I moved five different clumps to the border next to the new deck when we widened that border this spring. They are in front of two different types of Hydrangea paniculata, Little Lime® and Quick Fire®. All of the peonies that were in bud are now starting to bloom. They sulked a bit when I moved them, but quickly perked up. I moved another yesterday and tucked it in. Sometimes, no matter how hard you work to plan a bed, things change. I have another peony I need to move because it’s in too much shade now because the oak tree has grown over the years. Peonies still grow, but don’t bloom well in dense shade. Plus, I think it’s being invaded by Kerria japonica‘s lateral roots. I may move it this weekend. I’m not much of a mover and shaker, but I do move when I must.
Jake, who built the deck, is staining it today, and I’ve planted up some of the pots in anticipation already. They are in a holding area on the right side of the garden. Bill had brick sidewalks installed around the house. We plan to install a pond later this year. The pond is his dream, not mine. I know how much upkeep they require, but he really wants one. No, we won’t have fish. Too many creatures to eat them out here.
These are the things I’m pondering as I stroll the garden this May Day. I hope you have a beautiful weekend wherever you grow too.