Bloom Day May 2013

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It’s our blue period again, and not just ours. Jacaranda mimosifolia trees are painting the whole town blue. Spiky plants in the front garden will fly these pennants until July, when the blue period ends, and the trees in the parkway will be fully leafed out.

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In the back garden, two-year-old clumps of Penstemon ‘Enor’ have started to bloom. I had a big penstemon phase about five years ago, then attention wandered elsewhere. I like this one’s tall, slim spikes and smallish flowers.

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Some of the new plants I’m trying this year, like this umbellifer Cenolophium denudatum, will be encouraged to stay and self-sow. It fulfills the important requirement of tolerating fairly dry soil, while still keeping lush good looks. Same deal with the blue-flowered Aristea ecklonii, a South African iris relative.

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Diascia personata, tall and pink in the background behind Orlaya grandiflora, is more problematic. Good height and promising growth habit, open and loose, but had a difficult time with recent hot days, not to mention the leaves have been curled and disfigured since active growth started a couple months ago. Looks like thrips damage, a problem I’ve never had in the garden before. And though I love its height and structure, I’m not crazy enough about that color to put up with deformed leaves. All the lacy white orlaya this year were self-sown volunteers.

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I should probably stop experimenting and just grow anigozanthos. These bloom stalks will last into fall.

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There’s a couple clumps, one gold and the other a rusty orange. I’d love to add a chartreuse-flowered clump too.

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Another experiment was Verbascum ‘Clementine.’ Lovely plant but a bit of a lightweight as far as sun and drought tolerance. I’ll probably stick to the silver-leaved verbascums in the future. Silvery Sideritis syriaca on the left, dark green clump in the foreground is Persicaria amplexicaulis.

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I’m very glad to be growing nepeta again, a few clumps of ‘Walker’s Low.’ It’s as drought tolerant as ballota, whose white wands are just behind the nepeta.

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And it’s nice to have a few of these Senecio stellata self-sowing, though they absolutely must have afternoon shade.

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Eryngium planum is blooming this year in a couple spots. Once I stopped crowding them and gave them sun at their bases, they complied.

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Pelargoniums continue to work their charm on me and are tough as nails in pots. This one is Pelargonium caffrum X ‘Diana,’ whose flowers remind me of lewisias.

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Just one bloom on a couple plants of Coreopsis tinctoria ‘Mahogany’ opened for Bloom Day.

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A few plants of Geranium pyrenaicum ‘Bill Wallis’ self-sowed this spring.

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There are some amazingly fresh spring gardens to wander through at our host’s site for Bloom Day, Carol at May Dreams Gardens, filled with all sorts of plants and bulbs I can only dream of growing. May dreams indeed!

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11 Responses to Bloom Day May 2013

  1. Your blue issue is quite pretty. I like seeing all of the succulents popping up out of the lush. Happy gbbd.

  2. Sue says:

    Well you grow all sorts of things I can only dream about. Wanting what you can’t have seems to be a sentiment amplified when it comes to gardens. Happy Bloom Day Denise!

  3. That first image was really messing with my mind until I paged down and read what was going on.

    LOVE your Agave celsii var. albicans…how old is it? And thanks to you I’m now obsessed with finding a chartreuse flowering kangaroo paw!!!

  4. Scott Weber says:

    Love the Cenolophium denudatum…a really stunner! I really have to add ‘Bill Wallis’ to my garden…I would love to see it re-seeding here and there 🙂

  5. Cassidy says:

    Beautiful post! I’ve been away for a while and loved pouring over the images. The blues and oranges are so pretty!

  6. Mara Paz says:

    I loved visiting your garden. You have beautiful plants that I don’t see in my part of the world.

  7. Ah! Loree answered the question I was going to ask about the name of the Agave (or whatever!) behind the nepeta and bellota. I grow ‘Walkers Low”, too, but it’s such a space hog I’m considering removing it!

  8. Denise says:

    @Lisa, driving up the petal-strewn driveway sounds like driving over bubble wrap. Pop, pop…
    @Sue, wanting what you can’t have is especially amplified in spring!
    @Loree, that one was brought home this year, so I have no idea of its age — only that it was on sale!
    @Scott, the Geranium ‘Bill Wallis’ never gets very full here. Bet it might like cooler digs.
    @Cassidy, I can’t seem to admit a plant in the garden that’s not blue or orange lately. Thank you so much for your kind words.
    @Mara, that’s what makes these bloom day posts so much fun, is the huge variety in gardens all over the world. Please visit again!
    @Jane, this bed is edged in large rocks, so the nepeta spills over the rocks, space I can’t use anyway! I avoided using it for years for space/cat issues. Growing over the rocks, the cats leave it alone since they can’t roll on it in wanton kitty abandon.

  9. Deanne says:

    Very very lovely! I so enjoy seeing pics from your garden. So many beautiful things I can’t grow and some I’ve never heard of before. Great combinations

  10. Beautiful pics, Denise. I just bought P. ‘Enor.’ I’m anxiously awaiting the blooms. I love yours. Too bad about the Diascia. I hope the thrips die a painful death and leave that beauty alone. I’m growing from seed another variety of G. pyrenaicum. It should be blooming soon. Love yours.

  11. grace says:

    morning, I found out what that mystery plant is with the blue flowers and black markings on the stems and seed capsules, it’s a nicandra physaloides or shoofly plant.
    I’ve also been on an ID quest as I have two in my flower bed and had no idea what they were. you had the only image in google and nice work as your pictures really show off the markings.

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