Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Thank You, April Showers, for These May Flowers...Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

It's been a weirdly wet and wild spring here. With the upcoming Carolina Farm Stewardship Association's Upstate Farm Tour just around the corner on June 1 and 2, the wet and chilly weather made me a little nervous, trying to find a dry spell to plant the gardens. After all, who wants to visit a garden filled with empty raised beds?

Fortunately, the rain abated, the sun peeked out, and the main gardens are planted. Now, come on, rain, you're cordially invited back to help those veggies grow!

I suppose I should have waited to wish for rain. A week ago, our oldest son graduated from college during a torrential downpour. Fortunately, the university implemented Plan B, and we celebrated the graduates inside, where their new diplomas wouldn't disintegrate. 

We're very proud of Tyler, who graduated cum laude with a major in music composition. If you need a symphony written or a funky electronic piece composed, give him a call. Please.

And, look! A photo of our whole family! That's a rarity, as I'm usually behind the lens. (Note the rain-soaked hair. This is why I prefer being behind the camera. Also note Kristen's thrilled expression. It was quite a long ceremony for the siblings.)
I've warned Tyler that we'll be revisiting his campus to fake some outdoor photos in cap and gown. As you can imagine, he's thrilled.

Still, the rain--although ill-timed--did its job. The May blooms are popping throughout the garden, just in time for May Dreams Gardens' Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

Walking by the pool, through the woods, around the chicken coop, and along the back seating area, the sweet, sweet scent of honeysuckle lingers in the air. What announces spring better than the fragrance of native honeysuckle? It's delicious. 

The edible gardens host lovely flowers, hinting at the yumminess to come. Chives...

...culinary green sage...


...'Provence' lavender, just about to bloom...


...and strawberries. Oh, the strawberries. I wish you could taste these organic beauties. The cute little flowers blanket the beds, and we're stuffing ourselves with the first flush of sweet fruit. Honestly, is there anything better than eating a sun-warmed strawberry straight from the garden, juice running down your chin? 

I think not.

Although, I have to admit, peas come a close second. Adorable blossoms in purple and white add ornamental beauty to the kitchen garden, plus our kids will actually eat peas without much complaint. Perhaps that's why I tend to overplant this crop.

The kids also eat grapes without complaint, and our first hint of summer yumminess is making a show in containers by the pool. Here's hoping for a stellar crop!

The herb gardens also sport a few blooms, with the valerian about to burst with white blossoms. 

Wildflowers throughout the property make gardening easy. Who doesn't love free, surprise blooms, like this cheerful daisy...

...or the bright blue of lyre-leaved sage? It spread beautifully by the herb gardens, and I'm loving it. The foliage is beautiful, too.

Isn't it cute?

While I love the wildflowers, the perennials and annuals take center stage in May's garden.

Fuschia baskets brighten the shady corners of the back garden.

Wisteria hugs the arbor leading to the pool, which we finally uncovered this week. With our 90 degree temperatures today, the kids are anxious for the murky waters to clear so they can begin the swimming season.

Encore azaleas continue to produce a few scattered pink blooms, while the gumpo azaleas in the front garden have just begun to show a few blooms.

One of my favorite plants, fringed bleeding heart, will produce blooms throughout most of the summer. It's such a workhorse for a shady garden.

This poor clematis was hidden by our behemoth viburnum, which I finally pruned after its spectacular show. I love finding plants I forgot about hidden under other plants...oops.

Our new woodland garden by the garage is progressing nicely. I just added it in the fall. With hostas, hellebores, Solomon's Seal, Oakleaf Hydrangeas, and fraise des bois, the only blooms currently showing are the recently added woodland phlox. I think in a year it will fill in nicely.

While I love roses, our (extremely) shady gardens allow only enough sun for three bushes, crammed together by the street. My rose bushes are sentimental garden additions, given to me by my mother and moved from my first house to our current home. 

The roses are bursting with blooms, enjoying the spring weather before the heat sets in and the pests come out in full force. I'm determined to deter my arch nemesis, the Japanese beetle, this year with strategic companion planting. Stay tuned.

Our cute ice plant also holds sentimental value. A sweet older lady who owned a small nursery gave it to our daughter when Kristen was an itty bitty thing. Truly, gardeners are the nicest people.

Last weekend, I finally changed out the mailbox garden, pulling up the tired pansies to make room for the summer perennials. I tucked in a new clematis, along with purple fountain grass and vinca, knowing we'll need the splash of color mid-summer. Of course, 'Miss Huff' lantana in this bed always provides decent color all summer until frost, attracting hummingbirds and butterflies. 

'Miss Huff,' it's time to make an appearance, please! (It's coming along behind the grasses.)

This poor, variegated weigela--how I love its sweet blooms. Sadly, it's listing to one side, stretching toward the sun...which is the result of my pushing the envelope, trying sun-loving plants in our shady garden.  Lesson learned.

The irises, however, are more forgiving. They've bloomed beautifully all spring.

The baptisia also blooms well in its patch of sun, attracting pollinators and adding a splash of brightness to the front walk garden.

Mexican evening primrose springs up each year in unexpected nooks in the garden, and I don't have the heart to pull it. I know, I know--I should be brutal and yank it out. Still, it adds such a sweet bit of color wherever it appears.

And even if I never intended for it to co-mingle with coreopsis, it's still kind of cheerful, don't you think? 

OK, I doesn't belong together at all. Next year, I swear, I'll be strong and yank that sucker out.

It's been my dream to grow peonies, even though I know our garden is too shady. Still, I tucked six small peony bushes in any bit of sun I could find...and each bush has one single bud. Crossing my fingers that next year I'll be cutting dozens of peony blooms to arrange inside. A girl can dream...

And know summer is upon us when the mandevilla blooms make an appearance. Soon, the vines will wind their way up the trellises by the pool, adding a tropical feel to the area.

With less than three weeks of school remaining, soon our days will be spent lounging by the pool rather than racing to activities.

I think I'm looking forward to summer vacation even more than the kids!

Did April's weather provide for many May blooms in your garden? What's your favorite spring bloom?

Happy Bloom Day to you!




  1. Congrats on the graduation...mine is graduating from High School next week

  2. What a gorgeous array of blooms! I agree with you, gardeners ARE the nicest folks.
    Congrats to your family on the graduation!

  3. Absolutely beautiful blooms...especially the you know what variety it is, by chance?

  4. The whole family is obviously proud of Tyler. Congratulations to all of you.

    May is a beautiful month and everything that bloom is my favorite at the moment.

  5. Your garden looks great! Love your beautiful blooms. Well, congratulations on the graduation!

  6. Beautiful photos. Congratulations on the Graduation. My son graduated High School and my wife graduated college this year. Good things are happening all over the place. Shared this with my folks.