What’s blooming in early May?

Thunder is rumbling and rain is pelting the window as I write these lines. Nine straight days of rain, and counting. The sun has popped out for a few minutes here and there today, a hopeful sign that this weather pattern might soon end. Still, the progression of blooms marches on, though more slowly with sunshine lacking through the week.

The lawn hasn’t slowed a bit. It will be a struggle to mow tomorrow, that is, if it stops raining long enough.

The hostas, nandinas, roses, and Japanese maples are lush with growth, arching over the garden paths. I fear the havoc my wife will wreak with her pruners in the name of keeping the paths passable.Hosta and Japanese maple

If rain holds off, this weekend will be the first time  this Spring for spraying deer deterrent. Looking at the many varieties of hosta in the garden today, with their wonderful coloration and lush growth, makes me more determined to be conscientious about the follow up applications each month. So far this Spring, there’s been only a nibble here and there, but that won’t last. I’ll write the dates for subsequent sprays on my wife’s calendar, it will be her fault if she doesn’t remind me.

Last year was the first time that there was enough damage in the garden to warrant taking measures to deter the deer. I don’t really mind if they take a little nibble of this and that, as long as they leave some for me, but last year they ate every hosta they could get to all the way to the ground. Fortunately, most all the hostas have returned this year.

ENCORE AZALEA1Almost all the Spring flower buds of the Encore azaleas have been chewed off (but a few have survived, Twist Encore azalea above), though they’ll probably bloom more heavily in September because of it, and the camellias look so sad with only a tuft of green on top.

The tubs of elephant ears, bananas, and assorted other tropicals that were overwintered are clustered on the small flagstone sitting area by the pond in the front yard, beneath the drooping, soggy branches of a dogwood. When the sun returns in earnest I’ll move one or two each day to the sunny patios and deck in the back, determining which are most likely to move first without sun damage. Though they were perched next to sunny windows through the Winter, the intensity of sun is much greater without the glass filter.

With wet grass over my ankles most of the week, it was a bit sloppy to get around in the garden until today. At first glance there didn’t appear to much new in bloom, but on a second look there were flowers everywhere.P1011368

Hidden behind a group of red Knockout roses, on the back side by the cable box, is Deutzia Nikko, a low growing deciduous shrub that isn’t very popular, but makes a nice show in mid-Spring.P1011375

Drooping leucothoe, this one the variety Rainbow for its variegated leaves, is blooming. I love variegated plants, but this one leaves me a little cold. Not every plant needs to knock you off your feet, I suppose.P1011373

Mountain laurels have enough wow to make up for several just okays. The buds are nearly as beautiful as the flowers. I have five or six different kalmias, and each has delightful buds and flowers. I’ve no clue which is what variety, but if it’s a mountain laurel, I recommend it. P1011356

Maresi Viburnum is days away from being completely covered in white. The blooms are not fragrant, but it makes a big show, and the Fall color is often exceptional.

P1011376Many of the deciduous azaleas are quite fragrant, as is the Golden Lights azalea. Mine is wedged between a large Fat Albert Colorado spruce and Silver Cloud redbud, but the scent draws me back for a visit. The large flower clusters are a bonus.

P1011382Miss Kim lilac is hidden beneath a sourwood on the far side of the towering columnar hornbeams, but insists on blooming despite the lack of sunlight. Eventually, she’ll lose this fight.

P1011390Boursalt rhododendron is tucked into a pocket of mixed rhododendrons and azaleas in the shade of towering swamp maples and poplars. I avoid planting rhododendrons since they have a difficult time in our clay soil, but this small grove of purple and white grabs your atttention.

P1011387A few weeks ago I showed a picture of Pieris ‘Flaming Silver’ with red growth over variegated green and white leaves. Mountain Fire has red new growth that turns green, but is also stunning.

P1011364A more subtle wonder, if you’re willing to look beyond flowers for color in the garden, are the seeds from the Fern Leaf Japanese maple. The Fall color is magnificent.

P1011353There are dozens of perennials blooming in early May, but none more beautiful than Baptisia, growing on the sunniest dry slope in the garden.

P1011378Hostas are not the only perennials with stunning foliage in the garden. Palace Purple heuchera is one of many coral bells grown more for foliage than flower. I have them planted in the ground and a couple in pots that stay evergreen, though the edges get ratty and need a haircut in April.

The forecast for the week ahead calls for sunny days, and now is the time to be rambling through the garden.

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One thought on “What’s blooming in early May?

  1. I just happened upon your website — it’s really beautiful! I live in the DC area and have many of the same plants in my small yard. Your pictures remind me of what I love about gardening.

    I was looking for info on why my kousa dogwood didn’t have many flowers this year; I think maybe it’s too shady now.

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