The Mid-May Garden, 2023

It seems like the perfect time to give an update on what my garden is up to. πŸ˜‰ May has been mostly mild and damp so far (although last night it went down to 1.8Β°C!), and plants seem to be popping up from nowhere. Left, right and centre!

My first oriental poppy started opening this week. Its silky petals have the ‘wow’ effect, and in a day or two it will be wide open for the bees to enjoy!

It was a humid day when I took these photos, with thunder clouds and the occasional rumble in the distance. This kind of day in May, especially in the evening, produces a wonderful light where all the shades of green stand out and provide a magnificent backdrop to the fresh colour in the garden beds.

One of the brightest colours in the Oval Bed right now is this Aquilegia, bought a couple of years ago. After having mostly purple ones reseeding in my last garden, I wanted a different colour to get established here… there are some seedlings already. πŸ˜ƒ

The Camassia are starting to add blue to the spring colour scheme in the Butterfly Bed and are spreading too. They disappeared completely one year, but are now back in force.

I also have a paler Camassia in the Moon Bed. The creamy white shrub behind is Broom – Cytisus praecox ‘Albus.

In the Sunshine Bed some Geums are already open. This one is Scarlet Tempest – a lovely healthy plant that has filled out nicely, despite being planted just before the terrible heat and drought last summer. The Euphorbia polychroma is a great plant for sunny dry spots, and all my Euphorbias did extremely well last summer with no watering at all.

And this is Geum Mai Tai. Such a pretty colour, and reliable too.

At the back of this bed is the yellow broom, Cytisus praecox ‘Allgold’. It likes my garden and also does well in the soil around here. I always look out for it when I drive to town, as it grows wild along the roadsides.

The poppy I showed above is in The ‘Edge, along with a few late red and yellow tulips. Euphorbia polychroma makes an impact here too, but something that surprises me every spring is the beautiful new golden and orange foliage of Spiraea japonica ‘Magic Carpet’. It looks dead until about late March, and then slowly but surely comes back to life with bright orange shoots, fading to yellow and then lime green. The flowers are a rather insignificant pale pink in summer, barely noticeable, but in the autumn it will again take on these wonderful rich colours.

To finish off, this (unplanned!) grouping caught my eye: Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’, Yellow tulips ‘Texas Gold’, Blue Oat Grass (Helictotrichon sempervivens) and, in the background, Physocarpus ‘Lady in Red’. Helctotrichon is perhaps an alternative to the enormous Stipa gigantea, albeit not so long-lasting. It is the first grass to flower in my garden and looks lovely in the evening light especially.

It has been comforting to see that I had very few losses due to the drought last summer. Choosing resilient plants contributed to that. And perhaps the wet winter helped a bit too. πŸ˜‰

Has your garden suffered any losses this winter?

Thanks for visiting my spring garden. Do drop by again soon!πŸβ˜€οΈπŸ


37 thoughts on “The Mid-May Garden, 2023

  1. I enjoyed seeing the progress in your garden, Cathy. It has filled out beautifully. I love the parrot tulips in the header image and your spirea and grasses are lovely. That last combination was divinely inspired!

    • The parrot tulips are the yellow ‘Texas Gold, that will soon be turning that grogeous colour (the header photo is from last year). Sometimes the best combinations just happen without any real thought, and I will make a mental note for the future! πŸ˜‰

  2. What a lot of interesting plants and combinations.
    I lost 3 hebes and all my heucheras in the prolonged very cold spell we had 😦
    Not sure whether to replace them as extremes seem to be the new normal.

    • Yes, the long cold and damp winter didn’t help after all the heat last summer. At least we have fairly well-draining soil here. I too am never sure if I should replace plants or try something new!

  3. Your garden is really popping with color. My parents had an Aquilegia that came with the house over 65 years ago. It continued to reseed all those years. I also have had plants suddenly reappear after being “dead”.

  4. Looking lovely, I was trying to photograph a poppy today but it was too windy. I think I spotted some red sorrel (I hope it wasn’t lots of Docks!), though, on my walk. I wouldn’t have known its name, so thanks for the Wild And Weedy Wednesday posting.

  5. Poppy, aquilegia (which I know as columbine) and geum look so easy in other regions. I do not even try aquilegia anymore, although a diminutive native species sometimes appears in the forests. We tried poppy seed at the end of this winter, but got nothing. (That is a long story.) Geum survives, but obviously does not like the climate. I should just appreciate the native California poppy, which grows like a weed.

    • Yes, Californian poppy is a wonderful flower and I am always pleased to see some seedlings in spring. I have managed to keep them going for three years in a row now. πŸ˜ƒ

      • I am impressed by the popularity of California poppy within regions where other poppies perform well. I suppose that the bright orange color is distinctive. Modern varieties that bloom yellow, red, lavender and creamy white are weird, since there are plenty of other flowers to more reliably provide that sort of color.

  6. Your May garden looks wonderful, Cathy. I love all the plants you’ve used, not that I’ve managed to grow any of them with the exception of Geum (and it’s only just hanging on). I adore the Camassias.

  7. Your garden is spectacular, Cathy. Everything looks so healthy and strong and definitely appears to be thriving. I didn’t know Aquilegia, but read in the comments that someone else identifies it as Columbine. I am slightly more familiar with Columbine, but not this variety. I love visiting your gardens and being introduced to new varieties and flowering plants that I don’t grow. Very special!

    • The American columbine is quite lovely, but I think I prefer our pastel shade Aquilegias which blend better into my garden. I agree, it is always fascinating to find out about plants we are unfamiliar with, which is why I love the blogging world so much. Learning something new almost daily! πŸ˜ƒπŸ‘

  8. Ooh, thanks for that overview; it’s all so lovely. I especially like that spirea ‘Magic Carpet’! With all those color changes, it really is magic! I love the aquilegias, but when I’ve planted them here, something has eaten them. (I think aquilegia IS columbine, by the way). I visited a botanical garden yesterday and saw them in SO many different color combinations, from deep purple to yellow to red-orange. A true sign of spring! I’m tempted to try some geum again here; some years ago I had ‘Mrs. Bradshaw’, but it disappeared after a few years. I’m seeing more of them in local nurseries now, though. Again, thanks for sharing all of your beautiful spring flowers with us!

    • Geums are not common here, and I have had to hunt some down or grow them from seed (which is incredibly easy, by the way). I would love some more exotic coloured Aquilegia, but the bees are busy cross-pollinating the ones I have so I am getting shapes and colours I don’t expect and it is lovely!πŸ˜ƒ

  9. Ooooo, it looks beautiful! Love the Aquilegias and the Geums. My Camassias bloomed and faded within a week; I love them, but I wish they would last a little longer here. Your mid-May garden is wonderful!

    • The Camassias didn’t like the very warm day we had earlier in the week, but should last a little longer. I wish time would stand still, or at least slow a little in May! LOL!

  10. Your garden is looking fantastic. We have had some losses. Either the drought of the last summer or the winter. Most of the Manuka looks dead and we lost a lovely Cistus but I don’t think it was as bad as I had thought it might be. Amelia

    • Cistus is something I’d love to grow, but the cold damp winters would finish it off in no time! Perhaps the Manuka will sprout out again? I have found a couple of salvias I thought were dead are sprouting from the base again. By the way, I have planted a Salvia leucantha, after having seen yours, and although it is still small I am loving it! πŸ€—

  11. Oh look how beautiful your blooming spring garden is….so much to see and dream about. Especially the poppies….

  12. Thanks for the virtual tour, Cathy, always nice to get an overview. You live in such a serene, peaceful landscape. Do you see any other houses at all? Your garden looks lush and beautiful. We too get much rain these days and have never seen so much growth. Not easy to keep on top of things actually especially with a bad shoulder…and I’m expecting a botanical society on Saturday, beam me up, Scottie. πŸ™ˆ I’ve lost a few things because of the drought, one of them a Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’, a favourite of mine which had become a true feature. Alas, I found one at the plant fair yesterday which will go in another spot away from the hot afternoon sun. Enjoy the flowers πŸ€—

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