Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Friday, May 14, 2010

May Blooms For You

PPPP still in bloom

Welcome to Bloom Day at C&L! My head is full of spring flowers from my whirlwind visit to the UK, but, here we are heading into summer. Phlox pilosa the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox is still blooming. It's a wonderful traveler about the garden, although, it is not a plant that smothers other plants. If I've sent you a slip, you will have plenty to share and move to other garden spots! Go here for the full story on PPPP!

It plays nicely with Ox Eye Daisy~although, this daisy makes a mat that no flowers can grow through.

Penstemon X

After PPPP, Penstemon X, officially known as Penstemon calycosus, is my favorite late spring/May bloomer. The lavender/pink blooms provide nectar to bumbles and while I was taking this photo, a hummingbird was stopping to feed.

Too fast for this photographer to capture, but, it was gratifying to know that they visit.

I've let it seed everywhere and move the babies the first year to other spots that need late spring color. P calycosus is not particular about soil or sun....I found it growing in the wayback backyard in a mossy wet weather springs area the first spring we lived here. Now that's a great plant. Id-ing this plant was a journey and finally the folks at Growild agreed it was P calycosus. For X's story go here.

P digitalis 'Husker Red' has a white flower, tinted purple at one end and red stems/leaves. The flower is less hairy and not quite as sticky looking. It has not reseeded as madly as Penstemon X in my garden.

Speaking of reseeding madly! I don't know where the Showy Evening Primrose came from~Maybe a packet of seeds from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center when I attended Austin Spring Fling in 2008. If you have one you'll soon have hundreds! It seeds and runs wild. I quite like it in lawns, just not all over my flower beds.
Symphytum officinale

Comfrey was growing wild in the hedgerows, empty lots and in the prettiest gardens in the UK. I use it to counteract the small leaf problem that seems to be prevalent here! The flower is especially pretty dancing above the large rough looking leaves. I've heard it's makes a great compost tea.

Gaura lindheimeri 'Siskiyou Pink'

Not sure which one this is, but I totally enjoy gaura in the Susan's Bed and the GOBN. They bloom from spring to the first frost.

One of my $2 clemmies~It looks like Jackmanii.

Red Cascade miniature rose...can climb or frolic across the garden. This one is growing on a metal gate I retrieved from a dumpster. It's growing in semi-shade in the Garden Of Benign Neglect.

This delightful surprise is growing up and around a bird feeder in the Porch Wildflower bed. I ordered Clematis pitcheri from Native Gardens two springs ago~I don't think this is it!
It has the leaf shape of Leatherflower, but not the flower. It twines nicely.
Monarda bradburiana looking a little off color. This monarda captured my heart when we visited the Lurie Garden at Spring Fling last year. It would have better color in full sun....that's my memory of it at the Lurie. It can take dry conditions! A monarda that likes it on the dry shade. Wow!
I love how our native columbine. Aquilegia canadensis blooms a long time. I've never tried dead heading them to see if they rebloom~but would love to see them combined with later blooming perennials. I need to write that down!

Goldflame Honeysuckle is thought to be a hybrid between Lonicera sempervirens and L. americana. The flowers and fragrance of this honeysuckle are wonderful. I've planted it by my mosaic shed, but wish it were sunnier near the porch, I would plant it there~then we could smell that delicious fragrance all summer.
General McMahon Peony is a double flowered watermelon red beauty that grows nicely in my semi-shaded conditions, but really shines in the sun.
I like the strong rose fragrance and the straight branches that make this one a great flower for a vase.

An unknown, double peony that has no fragrance and bobs about on weak stems...I actually prefer this almost opening stage!

If you've had fun here...just wait til you pop over to see our hostess, Carol at May Dream's Gardens and the links to hundreds of blogs all over the globe. It is May and can you imagine all the wonderful plants you'll see! But, don't take my word for it go there now!

I am especially grateful to have flowers. Many of my Nashville neighbors lost more then the few blooms I might be missing! It's getting better here in Music City, but there is still a long way to go.

Hoping your spring is filled with beautiful flowers and delightful experiences.



  1. Oh it is gladdening to see that you still have flowers, including your favorites, Gail! You must have been delighted to see them upon your return to flooded Nashville. I am mad for that Penstemon X and see why you adore it so. :-)
    pronounce the A as in open your mouth and say ahhhh.

  2. Frances, I was just getting ready to add that to the post~I was thrilled to see any bloom left~the rain was so heavy and it did pound on everything...and the garden has a rid hard and put away wet feel to it! Nothing bothered the weeds! gail

  3. You have so much blooming in your garden Gail. I am glad to see that your garden survived the heavy rains. CAn't wait to get a slip of that PPPP. Can't wait to hear more about your trip too. I bet you are busy catching up.

  4. My PPPP is blooming nicely. It is a very welcomed addition so thanks! I wish my Penstemon X seeded itself around-I may have pulled them thinking it weeds?:( Your blooms are lovely!

  5. Oh Gail,
    So many beautiful blooms! You must certainly be treasuring your garden right now!-- Randy

  6. Oh Gail, I am so glad to read that you did not suffer much loss at all from the floods! Your garden is so lovely with all these beautiful blooms. I love the Penstemon too! Comfrey is a great plant but boy can it take over. Still it is a real healer and so good for the compost as you note. The hummingbirds love the nectar! Gorgeous photos!

  7. Be grateful the Husker Red Penstemon isn't reseeding. The red color won't appear in any seedlings that grow. You would need to make cuttings to get the same red coloration.

    The rest of your plants are gorgeous!

  8. Lots of gorgeous blooms this month at C&L. :)

  9. So pretty Gail! My garden is kind of in a blank spot right now without many flowers. The big show is around the corner in a few weeks, I guess. I was just thinking that I need to give in and plant a few tulips this fall so I'll have some color in May, since the late blooming tulips are going nuts right now in neighbor's gardens. Enjoy the PPP!

  10. What can I say but....BeAuTiFuL! I loved looking at your post. Also, I like the idea of your gate for your climbing rose...good idea.

  11. A lovely bloomday post Gail - I got a P digitalis 'Husker Red' at Malvern!!

    Your native columbine is so pretty and I do like the Gaura lindheimeri Siskiyou Pink - very much.

  12. Everything looks lovely! I really like the 'Husker's Red'!

  13. great bloom day pictures Gail. I'm sure you noticed quite a bit of growth on your return to the garden and I hope you didn't miss out on any of the blooms while away. How cool to have a monarda that likes dry ground - I just love those but all of mine have died out over the past few years and I've never replaced them.

    Glad to see that you too thought it was GBBD on the 14th as I can't find the link up yet! I thought I was a day early lol

    Have a lovely weekend. You must have taken thousands of pics on your trip to the UK!

    :) Rosie

  14. Beautiful pictures Gail. (I think I always say that when I come here. :) ) PPPP has been blooming here for at least a month and Penstemon X is now blooming. It really is exceptionally lovely.

    I love your mystery Clematis (the bell-shaped ones are my favorite) and your peonies.

  15. Penstemon X is thriving here so far Gail, and looks like it will be blooming in the next few weeks. How wonderful that your mystery penstemon has been ID'd. So many pretty blooms in your May garden.

    Glad you had a wonderful trip and made it home safely!

  16. I also garden using native plants and many drought tolerate plants. Your garden looks wonderful. Hope you have a wonderful gardening weekend.

  17. Your comfrey is a bit ahead of mine - I just think it is a cute plant, can squeeze into any garden, IMHO.

  18. Your May blooms are beautiful and numerous. When we moved into our current house, a neighbor down the street had a front lawn that was nothing but Evening Primrose. I think a small fortune in herbicide was spent to get rid of it. I miss seeing them, but not enough to plant in my own yard, I have enough thugs of my own.

  19. So happy to see that your garden welcomed you home with so many blooms, Gail, but I'm especially happy that your garden survived the flooding in Nashville. You are indeed one of the fortunate ones. I can see why you love the Penstemon X; I think you may have given me a start of it, but if it's coming up at all in my garden, it's much later than yours. (Sophie pulled up most of my plant tags, so my butterfly garden is full of mysteries:)) But the PPPP--well, you'll have to see for yourself on my post when you have a chance to visit.

  20. So many pretty flowers, I am overwhelmed, But not so much that I can't write down the names of what I like!

    I am off to see if I can find showy evening primrose to put out in my natural garden in the field. It can take over as much space as it wants out there.

    PS---I love the purple fence. (I have been reading backward)

  21. Happy bloom day! So glad there's still some flowers to be had after the horrible rains. Interesting how nature seems to manage, somehow.

    Love your columbine. Wonder how yours and mine differ?

    Happy May!

  22. Ciao Gail,
    Thank you for visiting my blog - isn't this GBBD wonderful for making contacts around the world? I was surprised to see how many similarities there are between Umbria and Nashville. Sorry though to hear about the floods. Looking forward to following your blog in future.

  23. Beautiful - especially the peonies. Another month before I can inhale the scent of honeysuckle here - enjoy the scent of yours.

  24. Digitalis looks very pretty nad so different - love it!
    You can also use comfrey leaves as mulching by placing them directly on the soil. Leaves are very reach in different nutrients, so they can replace using the fertilisers.
    My comfrey has violet flowers!
    Remember such sign 'mind your head' in Ledbury? I feel little bit like this after coming back - still didn't get things wrapped properly yet.


  25. I love the flowers, particularly the clematis and the peony.
    Popped over from Roses's.

    Nuts in May

  26. Gail, I'm glad you are home safe & that your garden didn't suffer anymore than it did. It is still lovely & I'm sure it will recover. It's just being bashful for now.
    Sure wish I could have Peonies here. I think they are so pretty.

  27. Hello, I just loved this post.
    Your garden looks so wonderful.
    Will have a look on your older posts as well. Have a great sunday.
    Regards from Sweden, Petra B.

  28. I enjoyed seeing your native blooms especially. So nice to reconnect! How wonderful that you made it to England!

  29. Hi Gail

    Your gardens are just full to the brim with beautiful blooms.

    I make comfrey tea for the plants, it is an extremely good tonic.
    I also put comfrey leaves in the composters, it speeds up the rotting process.

    Did you know that the peony, alongside the magnolia, are the oldest plants on earth. I read this recently in a book....really interesting.

    I have planted peaony 'Shirley Temple'......I am hoping she likes it in my garden.

    Monarda never does well here. I really love the blooms, they are a particular favourite ...I have given up now.

    Have fun gardening......

  30. Your May garden is gorgeous! The blooms around your birdbath are so lovely. Gaura is one of my favorites, and I am hoping to have peony in my own garden soon.

  31. OHHHH, yummy. I think I'm partial to the honeysuckle today. And the columbine, and and and....
    I think of you whenever I see pink phlox!!

  32. And all this beauty was awaiting your return visit, Gail. You must be thrilled!

  33. Dear Gail,
    So many beautiful blooms after all that flooding rain. It is good to know you are well from that disaster and safely home from your England trip.

    I've a newfound love for the coral honeysuckle.. a native here (maybe there too?). I am trying Guara for the first time here this spring. I've always been under the impression it doesn't do so well this far south but we shall soon see as the humidity is upon us already.

    I do know people who grow the comfrey just for the tea to feed the gardens. Interesting stuff.

    Always love seeing the peonies, too. Happy May! Meems

  34. I especially like the lush scene of the pink peonies around the birdbath. Those crinkly pink petals in the closeup are adorable. The goldflame honeysuckle has such a tropical look, and it matches your Aquilegia canadensis.

  35. Wow Gail ~ so much in bloom right now it's a little overwhelming. My brain has lost track of what was at the beginning of your post! What I remember the best is that fabulous clematis. I love the bell shaped ones as well. Your garden must look fantastic. Glad to hear Nashville is on the road to recovery.

  36. Gail....I cannot believe it....sissinghurst is 15 minutes from my home. I wish I had known you were going, I would have come and toured the gardens with you. You could have come back for teas.....such a disappointment.

    Still, I hope that you enjoyed it. Did you go to Great Dixter?

  37. Beautiful, Gail! My native columbine is in bud. Perhaps it will be open for June GBBD.

  38. Wow, so much in bloom and all of it with that beautiful natural look which I am striving for here. I love the evening primrose. Mine haven't really got into self seeding here yet although from previous garden existences that when they do they will make a bid for world domination. Gorgeous blog.

  39. You have lots going on there! I love all your blooms. The phlox are wonderful. I love comfrey, too. I moved mine this year, early enough that it is blooming and didn't miss a beat. It is not getting as large as it has before, but I didn't plant the whole thing, either.

    Thanks for the identification of the primrose. Mine are full of buds, but none have opened yet. Of course, all of your flowers are ahead of mine. It's fun to see what those we have in common will be doing soon.

    I'm just glad we are supposed to have highs in the 70s and 80s this week. It's been unseasonably cold this spring.

  40. Your Goldflame honey suckle looks different from mine. Mine is a little darker than yours on the outside and yellow-orange inside. I really like the peachy look of yours.

  41. Gail,

    I am planting all sorts of things and digging up grass to make new flower beds! We just bought an arbor when I realized that the "viney thing" crawling across one of the flower beds was clematis! I have peonies; I've never had peonies before because Lee doesn't like them...but I do! I have flowering bushes, and I think I have a dogwood! Could you send me some PPPP? Puleeze????

    Love you, Lynn


"Insects are the little things that run the world." Dr. E O Wilson