bloom day May 2019

Correcting the record: In early May I wrote “Reseeding nicotianas are a fixture of spring now and come to the fore after the poppies are almost over. I sowed some ‘Tinkerbell’ nicotianas, which are so similar to this reseeding flowering tobacco that originated from ‘Nan Ondra’s Brown Mix’ that I really didn’t need to bother.”

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Thumb’s up for Nicotiana ‘Tinkerbell.’ Self-sown Verbena bonariensis started blooming this month too

A premature rush to judgment. ‘Tinkerbell’ is a wonderful variety that in just a few weeks since I wrote that dismissal has grown taller than my reseeders, which gives more opportunities for the flowers to twist and dangle and flaunt those chili-colored trumpets with the pale reverse. I hope that fixes any misunderstanding. I love the variety of nicotiana reseeders I’m seeing in the garden, all manner and combination of langsdorfii and alata influences, but it doesn’t mean new strains like ‘Tinkerbell’ don’t have something to offer as well.

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Self-sown lime green nicotianas with Miscanthus ‘Silver Sceptre’
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Kangaroo paws, white nicotiana, Salvia ‘Limelight’

The first and tallest kangaroo paw is always this unknown pale yellow with genes from Anigozanthos flavidus. Contrary to paws’ reputation in general as short-lived, this clump increases every year. The darker colors get most of the attention, but this one gets my allegiance for continuing to thrive in a very crowded garden. It’s increasingly hemmed in by Grevillea ‘Moonlight’ and the bocconia yet still throwing 6-foot blooms. Not to mention the Melianthus ‘Purple Haze’ that was moved behind the paws to get it out of afternoon sun.

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fire and ice, kangaroo paws and kalanchoe silver spoons

This relatively small-sized ‘Red Velvet’ kangaroo paw came home from the nursery already in bloom in late winter, a dangerous period for plant shopping. I don’t think I would purchase it today. There’s already a tall ‘Big Red’ in the garden, possibly too young for blooming this year.

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Salvias with Anigozanthos ‘Tequila Sunrise’ pushing through Orlaya grandiflora
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I’ve been deadheading Orlaya grandiflora to prolong the very good spring they’re having
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Salvia ‘Purple Majesty’
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Grevillea ‘King’s Fire’ is a robust grower planted a little too close to the walkway against the house. Everyone’s been pretty good-natured about this sprawler so far, even though the walkway is in frequent use because it leads to the main refrigerator in the garage, with only a small bar fridge kept in the circa 1919 kitchen. I feel that the opportunities for viewing close-up hummingbird and bee action are so worth a little less walkway — but then I’m notorious for siding in favor of plants on encroachment issues.

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Aristida purpurea and Verbena bonariensis reseeding near the skirts
of Grevillea ‘King’s Fire’

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Aloe arborescens ‘Variegata’ throwing its first bloom. Centranthus lecoqui reseeding is kept to a minimum so as not to crowd the succulents. Phormium-like Cordyline ‘Red Planet’ is vigorous and holds its color well — though I’ve yet to see it for sale again. Named varieties of cordyline do seem to come and go.
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Echium wildpretii
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Alstroemeria ‘The Third Harmonic’
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Aloe camperi
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Tecoma ‘Bells of Fire’
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Aloe ‘Rooikappie’ with succulent-leaved Pelargonium acetosum in background
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All four fall-planted Kniphofia thomsonii are throwing blooms
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Glaucium flavum
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ledebouria works well in pots of succulents, here with Aeonium balsamiferum
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spring-planted Malacothamnus jonesii
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Erodium ‘Whitwell Superb’
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Erodium pelargoniflorum reseeds as a spring annual
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The last of the honeywort — pulled when it gets overgrown and bedraggled

My browser is still playing tricks on me, so I’ve been unable to comment on some of my favorite garden blogs. Snafus aside with such tedious things as cookies and caches, I love checking out what gardens are up to around the country at May Dreams Gardens, which hosts Bloom Day reports on the 15th of every month.

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10 Responses to bloom day May 2019

  1. hb says:

    All very lovely! Time to pull the Cerinthe here, too. The Alyssum and Eschscholzia came out this morning. My ‘Kings Fire’ is failing–did I just get crappy plants?

    Rain likely tomorrow morning–enjoy!

  2. Kris P says:

    It always amazes me how what grows so well for you is often such a dismal performer for me when we’re so relatively close geographically. Poppies and Nicotianas are routinely busts here and my luck with Salvias is spotty. We share Orlaya, Cerinthe and some aloes but my Anigozanthos are just so-so performers. I wonder if the differences lie in our micro-climates or our soil?

    Echoing HB, I hope we all get some rain tomorrow!

  3. Nell says:

    The blooms of Erodium pelargonifolium are even more Pelargonium-like than the foliage! While we’re on nomenclature: Lovely as it is, especially in bloom, the Aloe arborescens doesn’t look as if it’s going to live up to its name anytime soon…

    Another batch of new-to-me wonders. The one I keep going back to is Malacothamnus jonesii (or, as it it would be called it it were on a hockey team, Jonesie. Forgive me; the brother-in-law’s hockey team finds itself unexpectedly in the Eastern finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and I’m moving back and forth between hockey delirium and garden immersion.)

  4. Everything got blurry after that Grevillea ‘King’s Fire’…WOW!

  5. Peter says:

    Lots of gorgeousness happening in your garden this bloom day!

  6. Denise says:

    @HB, I saw your post on grevillea KF struggling in your garden. What a mystery! This is probably one of the hottest spots in the garden, with reflected heat, etc., if that helps.
    @Kris, and I wonder about your success with ‘Cousin Itt’ – I saw some gallons of that for under $20 and was tempted to try again…
    @Nell, what about that hand pass resulting in the winning (illegitimate) goal in OT in the 3rd game of the Western Conference?! You are too funny…About that pale pink globe mallow, I saw it on the recent Theodore Payne tour and had to try it.
    @Loree, it is a good one. Someone needs to try it in less hemmed-in quarters.
    @Peter, I miss your posts! Hope all is well.

  7. Nell Lancaster says:

    OMG, you’re a secret hockey fan! Or else that hand pass was in the news on the west coast… It was a tough way to lose, but the rule is that if the refs miss it and don’t whistle it dead right away, it didn’t affect the legitimacy of the goal. Except to St. Louis fans and those who burn at any injustice.

    Send positive vibes eastward that the Broons don’t sweep us out of the playoffs tonight (or, in your case, late this afternoon).

  8. Denise says:

    Nell, we’re hoping Justin Williams can help the Hurricanes turn it around, like he did for the LA Kings in 2014! Fingers crossed…

  9. ks says:

    we’ll have to compare notes on deadheading the Orlaya–I let it get away from me last year and I reckon I could have gotten another month out of them if I’d been more diligent. I admire your assortment of Nicotiana-I need to replant langsdorffii-I think all my various renovations disturbed them into extinction. Why doesn’t that happen with spotted spurge ??

  10. Nell says:

    Nothing-nothing after the first period.

    Nicotianas are something I crave to grow again, but don’t seem to get around to starting from seed or acquiring plants. Your pictures *greatly* intensify the urge. N. sylvestris tops my list; in the last year, we came across a photo of my great-grandmother’s garden with it in bloom in a big, stuffed border not unlike mine.

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