Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, May 15, 2010


Sweet cool rain brings even sweeter flowers.

As I step out on the deck every morning to drink hot tea and survey the back garden, mingled scents of rose and Japanese honeysuckle drift toward me on the very cool breeze.  Our weather this spring is much, much cooler than normal, but the plants are grateful for the respite from our regularly scheduled hot and humid May weather.

Lonicera japonica, Japanese honeysuckle, a terribly invasive vine

Yes, Japanese honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica, one of the most hated and beloved vines in our area and much of the south grows on a latticework panel.  When I was in Raleigh for the GWA symposium, I saw miles and miles of the stuff choking out native vegetation.  I almost feel like I should apologize for its presence in my yard.  However, before my mea culpa, I want you to know I didn’t plant this beastie, and yet, it hangs out on the back deck and in the middle of our oldest lilac. It belonged to Bill’s grandmother and was transported here thirty-five years ago when he moved a piece of the lilac to his new home. Japanese honeysuckle is made of stronger stuff than iron, and I can attest that even the much maligned Roundup will not eradicate it. I’ve dug out huge chunks of this honeysuckle when it grew by the fence where Rosa ‘Cecile Bruner’ now clambers over the white iron arbor, but I missed a couple of sprigs under the deck where I couldn’t reach them.  I still can’t get to the roots, so I’ve learned to live with it and try my best to stop it from further spreading.

R. 'Cl. Cecile Brunner'

The moral of this story?  If someone tries to give you a piece, please say no thanks.  If you want the intoxicating honeysuckle fragrance, plant one of the many new cultivars, but buy it blooming and make sure it has scent before you leave the nursery.  Or, you can grow the native Lonicera sempervirens which is also beautiful.

R. 'Cl. Souvenir de la Malmaison'

Because we had no late freeze and almost no thrips this spring, R. ‘Cl. Souvenir de la Malmaison’ is making a rare appearance this year.  Many times, I’ve nearly pulled this shrub because of the aforementioned problems, but so far I’ve given it a reprieve because it doesn’t cause me much trouble beneath R. ‘Carefree Beauty’ who shelters the famous Souvenir.  I’ve heard the shrub form is a much better rose than the climber. I would hope so.

The peonies are nearly finished, but they had a good run before the rain.  Supertunia®
Vista Bubblegum
is starting to make a show underneath the daylilies in the pink and yellow bridal path, but the rain ruined the blooms for photos.  On the other hand Supertunia® Pretty Much Picasso, as a hanging container, almost can’t take a bad photo.

It may be gaudy to some, but I like Pretty Much Picasso. I predict it will be very popular next season when it is more readily available.

Speaking of brides, I saw a very beautiful one last night, my niece, Lauren, married my nephew, Coleman, at Our Lady’s Cathedral in Oklahoma City.  The bride was beautiful as all brides are, and she carried cala lilies next to her creamy white dress.  She also wore one in her dark hair.  I’m sorry, I don’t have a picture. It was mass.

R. 'Buff Beauty'

Here, the yellow roses recently joined the pink ones.  R. ‘Buff Beauty’ is giving R. ‘Graham Thomas’ a run for his money.  These two rose are similar in bloom type, but their growth habit is very different.  ‘Buff Beauty’ grows outward while ‘Graham Thomas’ is always reaching for the sky.

Speaking of reaching for the sky, R. Winner’s Circle™, a rose hybridized by William Radler of Knockout fame, is doing wonderful in the garden.  From its tag, I see I planted this climber in 2008, and look at it already.  Can’t wait to see what it will do in coming years.

R. Winner's Circle

The rose border to the left of the house is covered in red right now with R. ‘Altissimo’ and R. ‘Skyrocket’ joining Winner’s Circle in reaching for the sky.

R. 'Skyrocket', a/k/a 'Wilhelm' in Europe

Then, there is also R. Home Run™ (another Radler rose) and Double Knockout and regular Knockout.

Once upon a time this bed also had R. ‘Golden Showers’ climbers, but eventually, they all died out.  I didn’t replace them because they weren’t happy living here.  In a couple of weeks, the red roses will be joined with pink R. ‘Footloose’ and ‘Country Dancer’ along with orange and yellow R. ‘Golden Slippers’.  GS is already blooming, but the hard winter killed a lot of its canes.  I cut it back severely (it’s on its own root), and I believe it will recover.  The ‘Rio Samba’ Hybrid Teas finally gave up the fight last winter.  I won’t replant them because harder winters always sapped their strength.  They are beautiful roses, and I loved the color combination, but they aren’t right for my garden where roses must be extra tough.

R. Easy Elegance Sweet Fragrance

Easy Elegance® Sweet Fragrance also blooms in this bed.  Since last year was her first, she is just now settling in and blooming.  We’ll see what she does in 2010.  I will say this, the foliage is rock steady and nearly blackspot free.

R. ‘Carefree Beauty’ is still blooming her heart out.  Everyone knows how much I love this shrub rose which also goes under the found name of Katy Road Pink.  Absolutely carefree, with a bit of deadheading, she will bloom all summer long.

R. 'Jefferson' with R. Blush Knockout behind. To the left of the rose is Spiraea japonica 'Anthony Waterer' not yet blooming pink and Hemerocallis 'Spider Miracle' which will bloom yellow in a few weeks.

R. ‘Jefferson’, another foundling, has lived in my garden for about fifteen years.  He is very happy this spring and is showing off.  A small shrub, he will bloom throughout summer as will R. ‘Cliffs of Dover’ and R. ‘Mutabilis’.

Single roses 'Cliffs of Dover' (white) and Pink Knockout light up this corner of the back garden.

These are all older roses in my garden, but I added a few new ones in 2009.  I’ll feature them in another post.  I did buy one rose this year too, but only one, ‘Dame de Coeur’.  I’ve been adding reds the last few years, and I couldn’t help myself when I found it at Sunshine Nursery in Clinton.

The Byzantine glads I planted a couple of years ago surprised me this week by blooming.  They never bloomed before. I don’t know if the photo captures their particular beauty, but it’s the best I can do.

Byzantine glads, Gladiolus communis ssp. byzantinus

Penstemon smallii ‘Violet Dusk’ is blooming profusely, but unlike last spring, it is not covered with pollinators. In fact, I’ve seen almost no insects in the garden this year except the rose slugworms and an occasional ladybug, butterfly or bumblebee.  I think the cold winter killed off many insects, and the cool spring is making it difficult for the others to waken.  This makes me sad. I’m ready for the hum of happy insects doing their thing. Perhaps, things will get back to normal in summer.

Penstemon smallii 'Violet Dusk' is a beautiful, delicate penstemon I'm thrilled to have in my garden.

‘Dark Towers’ and ‘Husker Red’ are also starting to bloom, but ‘Violet Dusk’ outshines them for now.

I’m not going to bore you any further, but a lot is blooming in the garden.  I just wish it warm up. My feet are cold.

For more Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day action, please visit our hostess, Carol, at May Dreams Gardens.


  1. Lilly says:

    Lovely roses, always been a fan of roses as my childhood I would see my mother working on them in the front yard, very nice garden you have.

  2. Hi From Ireland
    I love your photos of your beautiful flowers.
    The colours are stunning.
    Great wee blog – I love it.

    Aanee xxx

  3. Gayle Madwin says:

    I like your photo of ‘Winner’s Circle.’ From the photo, I almost wouldn’t guess that it’s a rose. Roses generally have such a formal look, but that one looks much more comfy and casual.

  4. Denise says:

    That is one fine penstemon, the ‘Violet Dusk.’ Maybe I can sneak it past the pesky budworms that have been ruining my penstemons for the last few years. Wish we had the chill to reduce their numbers. Cl. SDLM is a great climber here in SoCal, very healthy, loves the heat. One pest I haven’t seen yet is thrips on roses. Beautiful bloom day garden.

  5. Gail says:

    Dee, You have such a delightful garden~I love the roses and like nothing more then being near the fragrant ones. Walking your garden on a warm morning must be a joy. The byzantine glads are my favorite color~Must investigate. xxgail
    .-= Gail´s last blog ..Malvern~The First Course =-.

  6. Christine B. says:

    Isn’t it funny that plants that some gardeners have to beat back with a stick, are begged, pleaded with to grow in another area? That’s how Lonicera vines are up here where I live. Not the cheeky devils there are in your neck of the woods, I guess.

    Thanks for the Picasso preview. My Picassos are sitting on the deck in their four inch pots getting “hardened off” to our 50 degree weather. Hope mine look as nice as yours…in two or three months!

    Christine in Alaska

  7. It was a spectacular year for my Rosa ‘Cecile Brunner” as well.
    .-= compostinmyshoe´s last blog ..It’s the Most….. Wonderful Time…of the Year =-.

  8. Fabulous flowers! That hanging Supertunia is spectacular. May in your garden truly is a magical month.
    .-= Dorothy/Plantwoman´s last blog ..Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day: May 2010 =-.

    Thanks Dorothy.~~Dee

  9. joey says:

    Your garden is lovely, Dee, so different from mine and why I so love to visit. Love the Byzantine Glads!
    .-= joey´s last blog ..MONDAY MUSING ~ ‘THE LILAC’ =-.

    Thanks Joey. I love your collages and recipes. We all bring something different to the table don’t we?~~Dee

  10. RobinL says:

    By no means did you bore me with what’s blooming in your garden! What a wonderful collection of roses you have. Mine are peaking right now too, but I haven’t gotten around to posting them yet. Lovely!
    .-= RobinL´s last blog ..Boy is it HOT =-.

    Robin, oh good. I always wonder if I’m overdoing it about me, me, me.~~Dee

  11. I’m one of those that loves honeysuckle. The fence guy said my fence would last longer if I’d get rid of it; I told him to consider it job security; I’d choose it over the fence.
    You Byzantine glads are so pretty and colorful, always a sure sign summer is just around the corner.
    .-= Nola at Alamo North´s last blog ..National Celiac Awareness Month =-.

    Nola, I love the scent of it too. I just worry it will get away from me. So far, it hasn’t.~~Dee

  12. Aisling says:

    Dee, You have so many wonderful blossoms to share; such lush, beautiful color! I especially love the color of the Easy Elegance Rose… but all the photos are gorgeous!
    .-= Aisling´s last blog ..Sunday Stroll – Blossoms and Blue Sky =-.

    Hi Aisling, nice to hear from you. I like the Easy Elegance rose too. I have three different ones they sent for trial. All do well, but I tend to like more of a bluish pink instead of a peachy one. However, I think this rose is lovely.~~Dee

  13. I’m adding some of your plants to my list! And congratulations to Lauren! On the honeysuckle, mine came with the house, but shade finally “done it in.” But I’ve got my share of evil ones to deal with. Mainly, you’ve have spectacular plants.
    .-= Linda Lehmusvirta´s last blog ..Green roofs, garden in transition, m. laurel flowers for next year =-.

    Linda, so glad I could enable you. We addicts all like others along for company. 🙂 ~~Dee

  14. Helen says:

    I’ve never heard of Japanese Honeysuckle being referred to as a thug here in the UK, maybe its the growing conditions where you are that makes it more robust. You have lots of lovely blooms, definately about a month ahead of me.
    .-= Helen´s last blog ..GBBD 15/05/10 – this month’s stars =-.

    Helen, it’s definitely the climate. J. honeysuckle loves our hot dry summers and even more the humidity and heat of the southeast.~~Dee

  15. Rose says:

    I love all your roses, Dee! I’m too afraid to try the hybrid teas, but names like ‘Carefree’ and ‘Easy Elegance’ sound like my type of rose. I’ve seen ‘Pretty Much Picasso’ in the nurseries here and am still not sure if I like it, but if it produces the masses of blooms like yours, I’ll definitely have to give it a second look.

    Your story of the honeysuckle reminds me of my father: after a slow recovery from his stroke and surgery this past February, I discovered he’d spent one day this April chopping down all the honeysuckle that had turned into a dense hedge at the front of their property. I was worried he’d done too much, but he’s fine. He admitted that they had planted a small start or two many years ago, not knowing at the time either what it would turn into. That’s why I now try to listen to the experience of others:)
    .-= Rose´s last blog ..GBBD: New Additions =-.

    Rose, what a great story. I’m glad your father was okay after chopping down his hedge. ‘Carefree Beauty’ and the OSO Easy roses, along with the Easy Elegance and the Knockouts are all pretty carefree. To keep everyone tidy, deadheading is a good idea. I also fee all except the Knockouts. I don’t want them taking over the house.~~Dee

  16. Jo says:

    I think your Pretty Much Picasso is wonderful! A belated Happy GBBD!

    I like it too Jo. Very much.~~Dee

  17. Hi, Dee, Your garden is wonderful, as always! I particularly like the lavender penstemon, and may now look for it. I have a question about a honeysuckle I have in a pot. I think I’m going to twitpic it to you on Twitter and ask you if you think it would be invasive. I love it. It’s so pretty. Thanks! Hope you get bugs soon! We have a TON. I thought it must be the rain, so, who knows?
    .-= Kathryn/´s last blog ..The Best Carrot Cake in the World! =-.

    Yes, send it to me. It will probably be fine though. The cultivars don’t have the vigor of the Japanese honeysuckle.~~Dee

  18. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    You do have lots blooming now. I just love that yellow rose. My favorite for sure.

    Thanks Lisa.~~Dee

  19. I can smell the sweet sent of honeysuckle now. It’s part of family history and I am glad you still have a little piece of it. Flowers come and go out of fashion. Years ago, Extension encouraged planting wild rambling roses along fence lines. And it was a good idea until that stickery rose started taking over pasture land. I will always remember honeysuckle as a fun flower with a touch of golden nectar.

    Patsy Bell, I always think of that too because my neighbor had a large area of it in her backyard. We, kids, would sit and talk and sip. It bring back memories.~~Dee

  20. Leslie says:

    Truly you are the rose diva! They are just lovely. we had honeysuckle in Ohio when I was growing up so it brings good memories…but I won’t be planting any here. I do like yours though!
    .-= Leslie´s last blog ..Happy Snails to You.. =-.

    Thank you Leslie. I love my easy care roses.~~Dee

  21. Les says:

    Although I cringe when I see Japanese Honeysuckle, if a plant has family history it moves up the ladder of importance. Your roses are lovely. Happy GBBD!
    .-= Les´s last blog ..Bloom Day – May Gap, Not So Much =-.

    Les, I feel the same way. I wish I could get rid of it, and believe me I’ve tried and failed. I just now try to keep it contained. So far, it hasn’t shown up anywhere on the property.~~Dee

  22. commonweeder says:

    What beautiful roses you have! I’m still seeing how much winter kill mine suffered – but those Knock outs are amazing. I only have red so far, but may have to consider more.
    .-= commonweeder´s last blog ..A Celebratory Bloom Day =-.

    CW, I’m sorry you had a lot of winter kill. Knockouts are really easy. You should try the yellow one. Beautiful.~~Dee

  23. Lona says:

    Wow, what a beautiful garden. Your roses are so pretty.
    I know Honeysuckle is an invasive but I just adore the fragrance so much.
    Your Byzantine glad are just beautiful. Love the color.
    .-= Lona´s last blog ..Fertilizer Friday Blooms =-.

    Thank you Lona and thanks so much for stopping by.~~Dee

  24. I know of a couple of other fragrant, invasive plants: Rosa multiflora and Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket). I actually bought seed of Dame’s rocket to get it started in my garden, before I knew it was invasive. I also bought Japanese honeysuckle and planted it, but it died out on me. We have a terrible infestation of Tartarian honeysuckle, a shrub.

    You seem a good month ahead of me. My roses are just starting to leaf out.
    .-= Kathy from Cold Climate Gardening´s last blog ..Gardener 4, Voles 146 =-.

    It’s funny, I had Dame’s Rocket and it never went anywhere. I couldn’t even get the stupid stuff to reseed. I also have some other invasive plants which aren’t invasive here and then there are some which are good elsewhere and boogers here. Go figure.~~Dee

  25. Dee, I have the same problem with Japanese honeysuckle. I cannot totally eradicate it; just try to keep it under control. I plan on writing a post about the invasives in my garden, and in this area, soon. Your roses are stunning. ‘Easy Elegance’ is perfect. Oh, and we are never bored when you show us your lovely garden. Pam
    .-= Pam’s English Garden´s last blog ..‘Ants In Your Pants’ for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day =-.

    Pam, I hope you do write about them. I’ll be interested to see what is worst in your garden too.~~Dee

  26. Cyndy says:

    Oh rose time is the best time – lucky you to be in the middle of it!
    .-= Cyndy´s last blog ..Backyard Bloomers =-.

  27. mss @ Zanthan Gardens says:

    May is evidently a perfect month to go wandering through your garden. I do love your roses. I’m sorry you don’t have more luck with ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ which is really my favorite. I think I have the climbing variety (it sends out long canes). As a plant it is rather bare and leggy but the flowers are my favorite. It’s the first rose to bloom here, usually in March and April.
    .-= mss @ Zanthan Gardens´s last blog ..GBBD 201005: May, 2010 =-.

  28. I’m so glad you left ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison,’ it’s so beautiful, but then all your Roses are lovely. I adore the color of that glad, I might have to give that a try.
    .-= Mr. McGregor’s Daughter´s last blog ..Don’t Hate Me Because My Tree Peony’s Beautiful: May Bloom Day 2010 =-.

  29. Carol says:

    My goodness, Dee, you’ve got a lot of blooms. Love the roses and the story of the honeysuckle. Thanks for sharing all your blooms with us today.
    .-= Carol´s last blog ..Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – May 2010 =-.

  30. karleen says:

    Wow! Your colors are so vibrant. Love the Byzantine Glads (? I’m not sure of how to use the Latin names…gorgeous color though!) The roses are also beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

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