Sunday, May 15, 2016

May Garden: Profusion of Blooms

Having just returned from a week away, my focus at home quickly shifted to working in the garden and observing its many changes. It is a profusion of blooms right now! We've had nearly 7" of rain, spread over the last few weeks (according to my garden's rain gauge), and it's been very beneficial. The grass I patched in late March is now full, all my transplants are established, and new growth and blooms are pushing daily.
My over-wintered pansies in the front of the house are still doing very well, mostly due to the fact that temperatures have remained mild - as you would expect for true, spring-like weather.
Closeup of pansies
Below: view of garden from back, southeastern corner.
Landscape garden view, looking south to north
The photo below shows the front, northwestern corner of garden (as seen in the left corner of the above long shot), with azaleas, kousa dogwood in bloom.
Northwestern corner of landscape
Closeup of azalea blooms
Knockout roses, front eastern corner of garden
Closeup, knockout rose blooms
Front to back May blooms, east wall of garden: poppies, salvia, irises, and knockout roses trained to grow upward on trellises against wall. Knockout roses in front garden can be seen in background.
Eastern landscape bed, looking south to north
Closeup, poppy bloom
Irises, as viewed from opposite direction of eastern garden wall.
Eastern landscape bed, looking north to south
Closeup purple, yellow irises

Spirea bushes, planted in the front of the eastern garden bed, (photo below), are just beginning to bloom. Black-eyed Susans will grow and fill in around the statue, while bee balm (left of statue and behind salvia) will bloom in red. Butterfly bushes are planted and can be seen to the right of photo frame, surrounding hummingbird feeder and poppies. This wall separates the courtyard from the main landscape (sunroom is visible beyond the wall).
View of eastern landscape bed, May 2016
Closeup, spirea blooms
Courtyard climbing roses, against garage wall in courtyard.
Closeup, courtyard roses (Joseph's coat)
Lavender at base of courtyard roses are just starting to push blooms.
Lavender buds at base of courtyard roses
I typically grow annual vines on my trellis which leads to/from the gate between the courtyard and main landscape garden. This year, I planted only two Mandevilla vines (at the front of the trellis), but am trying my hand at planting moonflower vine seeds at the back of the trellis, nearer the gate. In the long view photo shown earlier in this post, the arch trellis is just behind the magnolia, where the eastern brick wall that separates the courtyard from main landscape starts. The photo below was taken from the courtyard gate opening, looking toward the landscape.
Arch trellis from courtyard gate. Mandevilla vines are planted at landscape side, moonflower seeds planted at courtyard side (foreground).
I've also planted a few other things besides the mandevilla vines and moonflower vine seeds - Texas bluebonnets (a gift from Sarah - thank you!), Mexican sunflower (pass along seeds), and grocery store tulip centerpieces I purchased awhile back.
2016 garden plantings
The western wall of the landscape is less spring perennial blooms and more summer blooms (black-eyed Susans and sedum 'Autumn Joy'). Besides my salvia blooms and other landscape staple plants greening up (Otto Luykens, weeping cedar atlas), I wanted more color at this time of year, so I broke down and purchased five velvet ribbon dianthus to plant in between the salvia and sedum.
Western wall landscape bed, with dianthus alternating with sedum and salvia in front of bed, black-eyed Susans against brick wall. Weeping cedar atlas drapes the wall.
They're hard to see, as I just planted them this past Saturday, but here's a closeup (below). They should grow to be as much as 14" tall and wide, which will fill in the front border nicely in years to come.
Velvet ribbon dianthus
In the southwestern corner of the garden (just beyond the Otto Luykens shrubs), love-in-a-mist has spread freely among the other perennial plantings, Below, you can see their wispy stems with thistle-like flower heads, and a glimpse of my perennial hibiscus just now around 18" (bottom right). The hibiscus will grow to be over 7' feet by July, with lots of labor-intensive staking between now and then.
Love-in-a-mist, perennial hibiscus
Closeup, love-in-a-mist.
Overall, the southernmost area of the garden is growing, and will be showy (fingers crossed) starting in June-July, with hibiscus, hydrangea, evening primrose, butterfly bushes, Mexican sunflower, and in August with hosta blooms.
Southernmost section of garden (front to back of photo): Otto Luykens, hibiscus, love-in-a-mist, hostas, hydrangeas, butterfly bushes and evening primrose. Mexican sunflower seeds are planted just beyond flag.
Just before we left for our trip on May 4th, I placed two hummingbird feeders in the garden. Upon our return, both feeders were nearly empty, so I knew they had arrived. While walking the garden the morning of our return (the 11th), I caught my first sighting!
The hummers are so energetic and seemingly nervous! The noise from adjusting my lens prompted this one to quickly move on the feeder, to where I was in sight.
The next morning, after filling the feeders, I saw the male hummingbird. 




I really enjoy these birds more than any other I've had the pleasure of hosting. For more information on hummingbirds, a simple recipe for hummingbird feed, the ant moats I use, and predators to be aware of, be sure to see this post.

Work in the garden continues. I hauled several bags of topsoil onto the riverbank, and I'm attempting to reseed grass where the boxelder tree was taken out. After I worked the soil, the shape looked like a sea turtle to me, so I snapped a photo.
Riverbank lawn amendment - a sea turtle!
I bought several large bags of potting soil for my containers, but I'm still deliberating what I'll plant, so no plant purchases have been made yet.

The balcony redo is finished, except for the painting (prime coat is on). Weather has extended this project's timeline to double its original projection. We're hoping this Monday it will be painted, and scaffolding removed. The photo below was taken from the balcony, looking to the northwestern corner of the landscape. As you can see in the bottom, righthand corner, the scaffolding is still in place. The queen will appear and wave to the crowds when the scaffolding is removed and summer annuals are planted in the beds below.
Northeastern view of landscape, from balcony
Thank you for joining me on this May walk in the garden. I appreciate your readership, and your comments are always welcome. I hope you will join me later in the week when I share a unique tablescape, inspired by my garden blooms.
A special thanks to Kathy at Delightsome Life Home & Garden and Jann, Jo, and Carol at Share Your Cup for featuring this post!
Rita C. at Panoply