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

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bloom On for May 2013

Practically Perfect Pink Phlox pilosa is blooming on for Bloom Day~It's my favorite spring plant and I am happy to say it's made a marvelous comeback from the last years droughts.
Although, it's an adaptable plant it needed more moisture than we have had the last many summers to set seed and spread around the garden. This year has more than made up for those disappointing years.

Next up is Penstemon. I am having a marvelous love affair with P 'Prairie Twilight' and P 'Prairie Dusk'.  Both plants rescued from a big box sale rack last summer. Experts often tell you not to buy late in the season or off the sale racks because plants are root bound, etc. That has never stopped me, I've gotten my best bargains from the racks and I am careful to choose plants that can take a good root pruning. I rinsed the potting medium away from the roots, trimmed the roots, making sure none were circling the plant and then planted them in good soil (or in this case, a fast draining rocky soil that these penstemons require). (Go here to read more about Penstemons and Bumblebees)

Also blooming are Western Daisy/Astranthium integrifolium~I discovered these cutie pie daisies in my way back 'meadow' many years ago...and they have been moved all over the garden. WD is a winter annual that blooms heavenly in the late spring and on and off all summer. The flower is small by daisy standards, but, it carries a lot of wow factor when allowed to naturalize in your native plant lawn or as a ground cover beneath later blooming perennials.

Golden Alexander has been in my garden several years, but this year it's been outstanding. I think I need to take a page from Fairegarden and plant a pretty purple flower to compliment the golden yellow and help it stand apart. In my garden it's made a lovely two foot mound and smells of  honey. It evokes memories of my childhood when my good friends and I had the freedom to explore neighboring overgrown fields in early summer. If you get a chance, lean into Zizia aurea and catch that delicious fresh summer fragrance.

Camassias continues to bloom on. I adore them and will be planting more this fall, in fact I have already put a reminder in my calender to order more. One thing I won't do is underplant it with the Tommies. The chipmunks have dug around trying to get the tasty Tommie corms and damaged several of the Camassia quamash.  (But true to advertising the squirrels don't touch it, which is perfect if you garden where there are no chippers))

Verbena canadensis is looking more beautiful than you can imagine. The plants survived our non winter and have been blooming their hearts out.

Phlox 'Minnie Pear' is new to the garden. Research reveals that Minnie is a naturally occurring hybrid between Phlox maculata and Phlox glaberrima. I've placed it next to species P glaberrima, it needs the same moist soil and I do want to see any offspring from this union.

Two-flowered Cynthia is still blooming. You can read about this dandelion imposter and pollinator attractor Krigia here.
Oenothera speciosa
Showy Evening Primrose is just working up to a big show~I love its colonizing ways. I'll pull up the spent flowers, but there's no stopping this plant once it's in your garden.

I fell head over heals in love with Monarda bradburiana while at Chicago Fling several years ago. It blooms faithfully each year and doesn't require a moist soil. Take that M didyma cultivars that tempt me in the nursery and fail to bloom after the first year.

The non-native alliums are gorgeous and as always a nectar treat for all the visiting pollinators.
The last Columbine bloom of the spring 
All in all the garden has enjoyed the long spring and extra rainfall and now, summer is coming on strong. There's a lot more in bloom, but I have to hold some flowers back to post about later! I know you understand.

Happy Bloom Day my dears,  now take the magic carpet ride to May Dreams Gardens and host extraordinaire Carol's links to gardens all over this great big beautiful world.


Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.


  1. So much beauty, dear Gail, a feast for human eyes and pollinator bellies! I did not know the Zizia had a fragrance. Excuse me while I kiss this guy, er, get down and smell the golden alexanders. Thank you for the linkage, my friend!

  2. I think I have a similar garden in my Tennessee garden as well! Happy Bloom Day!!

  3. Those bright orange and yellows are really eye-catching, but it is all the purples and pinks that I really love!
    Happy GBBD!
    Lea's Menagerie

  4. You may have entered summer but your blooms still look fresh and lovely. PPP is luscious.

  5. You've got such a lot of great colour in your garden at the moment. I adore the Western Daisies and Camassias, and those gorgeous Phlox.

  6. I'm with you on Monarda bradburiana...so much easier to keep happy, and those wonderfully subtle blooms are so charming!

  7. Isn't it amazing what water does? I just came in from gardening, exhausted... and a tall drink of water perked me right up. I often imagine the flowers whispering "thank you, thank you", when I spray them on a hot dry day.

  8. Isn't it great that we are having PPPP for a prolonged time this cool spring? Over here in West Tennessee, haven't got any monarda blooming yet, nor pestemon. Course that may have to do with the (lack of) sunlight in my garden. I agree to go for the sale discards at the end of the season. I've gotten so many great plants that way!

  9. I always think of you and give you thanks when Phlox philosa gets to blooming here in Greenbow. This year it is running rampant. I love every pink passionate bloom. Cheers.

  10. That Monarda is gorgeous as is everything there. Thanks for the walk through the blooming garden!

  11. I agree--the Monarda is something special! I've always enjoyed the Evening Primrose--something about its large, cup-shaped blooms is so pleasing to the eye. Happy GBBD!

  12. Once again a lovely post filled with exquisite photos of the beautiful blooms in your gardens. I love that Monarda.

    Happy Gardening ~ FlowerLady

  13. Heidi/ IN woodland gardenerMay 16, 2013 at 7:29 AM

    Since I am in south-central IN, it is fun to see what is blooming elsewhere and with your blog, I'll see what will be blooming in my garden in just a few weeks! You've introduced me to many new-to-me wildflowers and I can't wait try some of these plants in the future. My Wild Columbines are loaded with dancing, swaying blooms, but all my ephemerals are done and beginning to die back, leaving behind memories of lavender, white, and yellow sweet gentle blooms. From your blog, I know know what I need to plant for some late spring blooms while I await the summer blooms.

  14. It's always a treat to see the PPPP blooming in your garden, Gail! Mine have just started to bloom, and near them are a bunch of unidentified seedlings--I have my fingers crossed that they might be more of the PX4, too. Happy Bloom Day!

  15. We have some of the same flowers - wild columbine, Bergamot, Golden Alexander. I like your oenothera.

  16. Your wildflowers are gorgeous...some of my same plants are already blooming or close to and others have a ways to go...fascinating how that happens.

  17. You and I are just alike. I too bought the 'Twilight' penstemon marked down at a big box store. I tell you I love them but then again I love all the penstemons as they are such tough plants. Your garden is looking good!

  18. Every time I walk outside and see my Phlox pilosa blooming, I think of you!

  19. My favorite iris came from a Walmart end of season sale. I'm with you about plants at the bottom of the barrel discount racks. --Like picking orphans out of the animal shelter.

  20. Beautiful May blooms, Gail. Thanks for sharing them with us for bloom day!

  21. Looks lovely! I am waiting for my PPPP to bloom for the first time in my garden. It's up, it's just not time here, yet.


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