Monday, May 16, 2022

May blooms, buds, berries and birds...

Yesterday—May 15th—was Garden Bloggers Bloomday, as hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Our weather has been so miserable I wasn't really in the mood to get out and take photos, I almost blew it off, after 13 years of participating! But it's may, MAY is the namesake month for Carol's blog. I really needed to get my act together, and so I did...

Last May this Paeonia 'Smith Opus' (Misaka) has lush open blooms. Not this year. It's been too cold.

Back in March I dug up a patch of Saxifraga urbium 'Aureopunctata' and planted them in temporary containers while I reworked an area of the garden. It's been so wet, that I haven't gotten it all replanted yet and they're blooming in one of those containers.

I don't appreciate those little flowers until I look close.

Moving on to another patch of the same saxifraga, here the dark astelia foliage helps bring out the spots on the petals.

I took this photo to show what a froth the flowers on a patch of saxifraga can create, this group on Saxifraga ‘Primuloides’.

Disporum cantonese ‘Night Heron’

Disporum cantonese ‘Green Giant’

Solomon's seal (Polygonatum). This is one of the very first plants I added to the garden when we moved here in 2005. 

Back then there was a nursery that sold plants that had been donated by people digging up things they didn't want any longer. Or instances of when a garden was going to be plowed under for development, that kind of thing. Plants were cheap and I didn't have a lot to spend, it was a perfect match!

Magnolia laevifolia, these blooms have stuck around a lot longer than normal, thanks to the fact it's been so damn cold.

I missed many of the blooms on my Lonicera x brownii 'Dropmore Scarlet' last year because the aphids were so nasty I cut everything back hard. I've been out there paying attention; washing and pinching off aphid-covered foliage so hopefully I'll get to see flowers soon.

It's always fun to spot the little green flowers on Tillandsia usneoides.

One of my Schlumbergera truncata has managed to throw out a few May blooms, I pinched this one to take inside but then laid it down here while I pulled a few weeds—none of the plants in the picture actually produced the flower!

Palm's a blooming! Trachycarpus fortunei

Embothrium coccineum

Lupinus rivularis, peeking up through the foliage of Rhododendron williamsianum.

Paris quadrifolia

Podophyllum peltatum

Here's what the Podophyllum peltatum foliage looks like, the flower is lurking below.

Podophyllum 'Red Panda'

Podophyllum pleianthum

Darlingtonia californica

Another carnivorous plant bloom in the works, these buds belong to a sarracenia.

Maytenus boaria 'Green Showers'

Akebia longeracemosa 'Victor's Secret'—usually in bloom by now, but not this year.

Sophora prostrata 'Little Baby'

I had just one Echium wildpretii live thru last winter to bloom this spring. Truth be told, it's the only one I bothered to protect. At least my efforts paid off.

Such a fabulous plant.

Loropetalum chinense 'Sizzling Pink', in the back garden.

Loropetalum  chinense var. rubrum 'Hindwarf', in the front garden.

Ajuga reptans 'Black Scallop', I should have taken a pulled back shot as there are at least a dozen (if not more) of these in bloom. A plant I never would have purchased but Alison (I miss you Alison, but wish your email would stop spamming me) shared with me. I love it.

Scadoxus puniceus, fat buds, but not yet blooming. Again, because of the cold temps.

Variegated lily of the valley, Convallaria majalis 'Aureovariegata'.

Thalictrum ichangense 'Evening Star'

Epimedium 'Amber Queen' 

Aporophyllum 'Shirley' (orchid cactus)—this is the third bloom of the year, with at least three more on the way!

This is an odd shot that I just had to share. Rhododendron laramie, after the petals have fallen.

Pacific Coast Hybrid Iris ‘Wildberry Shortcake'

Pulsatilla vulgaris 'I wish I could remember'

Leucothoe fontanesiana 'Rainbow', which is producing beautiful blooms in numbers that are off the charts this year!

NOID lewisia A

NOID lewisia B (which tries to break my camera every year, it's so bright!)

The last of the Poncirus trifoliata blooms.

Erica arborea var. alpina

Corokia cotoneaster is a cloud of yellow stars...

So many flowers!
Finally, what about those birds I promised in the title of this post? And the berries!? Well, for the last week or so the front garden has been a riot of flapping wings and blurs of yellow and orange, as a flock (?) family (?) of western tanagers discovered the ripened berries on the Fatsia Japonica and started feasting. The really colorful moments were when a (very) blue scrub jay or two decided they wanted a snack and the tanagers told them to go away.

The berries and the birds are all gone now, but a fine mess remains. I'll spare you those images. It was fun watching them though, the party took place right in front of my kitchen table window, which is how I got these photos.

All material © 2009-2022 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. Based on your first paragraph, I though this was going to be a relatively short post but, despite you weather challenges, there's a lot going on in your garden this May! I love the Astelia/Saxifraga combination. I'm tempted to try Astelia again, despite the family of rabbits living here now...I "need" to hunt down a Corokia cotoneaster, which is a much more enthusiastic bloomer than my C. x virgata. The palm flower looks like a prehistoric creature to me.

    1. May is a very floriferous month! The palm blooms are bizarre things for sure, lobster claws are what I always think of.

  2. Even though you have had a cold Spring you still have lots of flowers in your garden. Then again, you have lots of plants, so it isn't surprising that there are still lots of flowers, ha ha!

    Our spring has been rubbish as well. Not particularly cold, but below average, wet at times and very dull. We seem to have a nice day followed by 10 to 14 days of crap weather! It is quite depressing.

    I notice that you are growing Paris quadrifolia. I have been growing it as well for 6 or 7 years now. Up until this year it had been growing really well. I started off with 3 plants and they had spread nicely. However, this year I can only find one solitary plant. The rest have not come up at all. It is quite bizarre!

    1. That is bizarre about your Paris quadrifolia, I wonder what happened? As for our weather I am going to start calling it rubbish, that's the perfect descriptor!

    2. Another word I use for the weather in Scotland is "keek".

      I used to think that the word is from the east side of Scotland, but a quick google reveals that it's origins are from Northern Ireland. Don't google it if you are easily offended ;)

      So, when the weather is rubbish, you could say to your friends "Aye man! The weather has been keek this spring!" LOL!

  3. AnonymousMay 16, 2022

    Wow, you have a lot going on there, and it's all so pretty. As to our spring, we have the opposite problem.--A little bit of spring and then BOOM summer heat. Anyway, seriously, your flowers are gorgeous.

    1. I'd been thinking that's what was going to happen here, that we'd go from not even seeing 80 to bam! Days in the high 80s and 90s, but word on the street is that summer may never show up this year. I am extremely bummed.

  4. I've decided to stop pouting about all those fabulous PNW-ish plants you can grow up yonder. All that cold and wet must be frustrating -we just want to get out and garden , right ? We actually had a frost here on May 12th. I have tomatoes and Zinnias in the ground so I was kind of freaked out but it was all ok I think the duration of the cold was short. I am happy to see the flowers on your Echium wildpretii -I planted mine last summer from a 4" pot and the plant is huge but shows absolutely no signs of blooming. I peer deeply into the center at least once a day.

    1. The cool and wet is so damn frustrating!!! I have one Echium wildpretii that's going on it's 4th summer now. It refuses to die (I didn't protect it when we had cold and it didn't care, whereas any others unprotected died) but it also refuses to bloom. Silly thing.

  5. I had several Google tabs open whilst reading your post to look up all the plants I’d never heard of. Fun! Not a chance most of them would grow in my climate, but I enjoyed seeing them looking happy in yours. Thalictrum ichangense 'Evening Star' has the most gorgeous flower / foliage colour combination.

    1. That's one of the major reasons I love blogs, getting to learn of plants I can't grow. Glad you enjoyed!

  6. I'm glad you decided to go out and take some pix. Great post. I know I will always see unusual plants that make me lustful but this time I saw a few that I have. 'Spotty Dotty' is the only Podophyllum I have that is happy. I am thinking about moving my other two to see if they start to thrive. Love this size and scale of those plants.

    1. My 'Spotty Dotty' is in a container and the blooms are only buds. I really should find a spot in the ground for it.

  7. Seems to be a cool spring all over. However, the bulb show has been prolonged and it has been much nicer to work out in. Last year at this time we were already in the 80's and everything just shrivelled up. Enjoy the show while it lasts because the heat of summer isn't that far away.

    1. The cool would be fine to work out in, but when the rain just keeps falling and the ground is a soggy mess, well, not so good.

  8. AnonymousMay 18, 2022

    Saxifraga blooms with dark astelia background is amazing.
    Sophora prostrata 'Little Baby': will those wonderful orange "beaks" open further?
    My Thalictrum 'Evening Star' barely poked out of the ground; 2 leafs is all I got so far... maybe too shady of a spot.
    The most surprising: the cloud of yellow stars on the Corokia. (I'm sure it bloomed before, I just don't remember...)

    1. The sophora beaks do not open further, but the hummingbirds don't care. The thalictrum is planted "in" my fern table, this is the only one that's thrived here, ones I've tried in the ground do not.

  9. Such a lot of blooms...I guess it IS May despite our miserably cold weather! I had to chuckle when I imagined you down on your hands and knees photographing all the Podophyllum flowers underneath the foliage. I couldn't even get to mine!

    1. The Podophyllum peltatum leaf was a little flipped up on the side which made photography a little easier. The others all grow next to the steps down to our patio so all I had to do was sit down on the steps!

  10. AnonymousMay 19, 2022

    Maytenus is a new one on me. Cool plant! My sister in NM is having 108F, 2% humidity, and smoke. Isn't there something in between what they're having and what we're having here in the PNW?


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