Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - May 2019

Well, amazingly enough, it is already the middle of May and time for another Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. The garden is bursting with flowers, although until yesterday our weather was unseasonably hot and dry, with temperatures in the 80s. This is a very unusual weather pattern for us in the PNW, at least in my admittedly limited experience. Spring in the PNW is supposed to be a long, slow, cool ramp-up into summer. I remember when we first moved here, I heard that the rule of thumb was that it rained all spring (mostly a fine misty rain) and shut off like a faucet turning off on the day after the Fourth of July, like clockwork.

For our first handful of years here, that was true. But for maybe the last four or five, the weather has been very unsettled, with hot, dry stretches in the middle of spring. This year we had such a dry March many people were already watering. I didn't, but the first two weeks of May were so hot and dry that I finally set about getting some sprinklers set up. And then the rain and cool weather returned yesterday.

The damage may have been done, though. I've also read that the recent hot weather melted so much of the mountain snowpack that we rely on for our summer water, that our drought this summer and wildfire threat may be problematic.

Anyway, here's what's blooming right now in my Washington state garden.

Last year when I redid this bed I churned up the seeds that were banked in it. I've been pretty good about pulling the weeds, but I decided to let these Columbines with variegated foliage flower to see what I get. Unfortunately there seems to be an overabundance of aphids feeding on them, so it's hard to get a shot that isn't covered in their tiny, sesame-seed-looking bodies.

They are all this shade of blue in various states of frilliness.

I have a handful of other columbines throughout the garden flowering now too.

This pastel pink and yellow Columbine reminds me of a frilly baby dress

A bunch of  Columbines bob and sway at various heights, all different colors

Variegated Solomon's seal is flowering

Lupine in the cutting garden, with my neighbor's garage in the background

A slightly different Lupine in the cutting garden, my house in the background

Viburnum plicatum var. mariesii, planted last fall and already flowering

Thistly Cirsium rivulare

The Pacific Coast Iris are flowering. I don't know their names, but they thrive here.

Saponaria officinalis self-sows and is flowering all over now

Fluffy, airy flowers of Saxifraga 'London Pride' -- I really need to cut some of those rosettes and spread this around even more, they root so easily

False Solomon's seal

Purple flowering tobacco

Stripey lily of the valley in the garden

And in the pot ghetto, waiting to go into the garden

Purple Disporum cantoniense flowering in the pot ghetto -- must get this into the ground soon

Tiny divisions of Geranium renardii, dug and divided last summer and replanted (many given away at the recent Bloggers plant swap)

Centaurea montana

Crambe maritima

Acid yellow flowers on red Sedum spathulifolium 'Carnea' -- I don't like this combination of colors but I'm not motivated enough to cut them off

On the front steps where I've placed my tender plants an Echeveria flower stalk drapes itself over a golden rattail cactus

Adenium obesum

Monster Ceanothus -- the bees love it, but when I redo this bed I plan to take it out, or at least cut it down to the ground

It makes a nice backdrop to this Lewisia in a colander

A second Lewisia also planted in a colander, for its excellent drainage, has Alliums as its backdrop

Chives and lavender are flowering in this little herbal parterre that I planted a year ago.

Allium in the front garden

'Ray's Golden Campion' has sown itslef into this area of the front bed, unfortunately most of the seedlings are just solid green rather than the nice golden color that it's named for

Trachycarpus fortunei is getting ready to flower, an event I often miss --  not a bad thing since the flowers creep me out

So that's what's flowering here right now. I hope your garden is looking good and giving you enjoyment. Mine does, despite its imperfections.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. You can find her blog here.


  1. I was shocked by the ridiculously high temperatures the PNW had, especially as it's been unusually cool down this way. I've no illusions that's going to last, though - climate change isn't doing SoCal any favors either.

    I have to admit that I love that frilly pink and yellow columbine, even if it's so sweet it makes my teeth ache. I love your variegated Solomon Seal and Lily of the Valley too. Like the fancy lupines, I can't grow either. I looked up Saponaria and found I should be able to grow it even if I've never seen it here. Is it an aggressive spreader?

  2. Ohmigosh! such a profusion of flowers! I cannot choose a favourite, but the columbines are so pretty! I love the garden you created in a colander - what a clever idea! I cannot grow any of these flowers - your climate is so different to mine, so I really enjoyed wandering through your garden, thank you for sharing!

  3. My garden is mostly green right now. I miss the bright colors of the bulbs, but they will make way for summer color.

  4. Thank you, thank you! I wondered what to do for my lewisia! I have one remaining, and while it's hanging in there, I know it wants drier feet! I have a colander for it!
    Such wonderful purple flowers! Those are my favorites, the chives and lavender and ceanothus and lupine. My lupine finished, and my lavender hasn't started yet.
    Oh, I LOVE the Statler and Waldorf comic! I like so many of your "funnies!"

  5. I like your frilly Columbine-I used to grow the Barlow series (Norah Barlow and her various progeny) and I should reintroduce it here. The Iris are beautiful too. Crambe Maritima-I have searched for years. I know Far Reaches has it upon occasion, but I'm hoping I can find it somewhere when I am in PDX for HPSO Study Weekend. Are you coming to that ?

  6. The Variegated Solomon Seal and Lily of the Valley are so fetching; do you find them to be less vigorous then the "all green" varieties?
    I LOVE the Lewisia in a colander: a perfect little display!

  7. I want the old PNW weather back please! That was one of the main reasons I wanted to live here. Climate change sucks. Your iris and lupine are so pretty. I haven't been able to keep lewisia alive.

  8. I see many blooms That I have from the plant swap ! I think 'Black barlow' came from you, which I love !

  9. Lots of pretties in your garden! Happy GBBD!

  10. Ah, I forgot to photograph my trachycarpus flowers! Love that purple Disporum cantoniense and might need to find one.

  11. What a lush garden. No matter what - you have better springs than we do in New England these days.

  12. Saxifragas have totally snuck up the ladder of most desirable plants for me. I just love them! So easy, and so floriferous. Great little plants! Where on earth did you find a Crambe maritima? Coolest leaves EVER! And, I have never seen a purple Disporum before... very, very cool!

    1. I got the Crambe maritima, the purple Disporum and the stripey lily of the valley all at Far Reaches.

    2. But of course you did! I forget (somewhat enviously, mind you) how close to them you are, you lucky gal! I often think with gratitude to the WeHop trip Peter arranged in 2013, which turned into such a plant lover's bonanza. We should repeat that - it was so much fun.

  13. Oh lovely lupine blooms...Lily of the valley is exotic in our region...Loved the shades of Iris ..Happy blooms day.

  14. Wow, I love the monster Ceanothus, also the Lupines. I also grow the False Solomon's Seal, it's pretty nice, though mine always flops when the berries ripen.

  15. Wow, Alison, your garden is gorgeous. I have the same problem with columbines, everything loves to chew on them, but for some reason, they still keep on growing. Sometimes I think I have a lot in common with them, the mosquitoes and ticks chew on me, but I keep showing up for more torture. You have an incredible range of plants, a true botanical feast for the eyes.

  16. What fabulous flowers. I am quite green with envy over your lily of the valley and soapworts not to mention everything else. Your herb parterre is one of my favorite parts of your garden. Those chive flowers are just the best-well, we can grow those here. Lupines are the flowers of my childhood...sigh!


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