May Blooms: Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

– Posted in: Narcissus, Native/Invasive

Yes, I know the Garden Bloggers Bloom Day was yesterday the day before yesterday. I didn’t get finished in time. So just pretend this is May 15th, okay? (As always, hover your mouse over any thumbnail for a caption, and click on any photo for a larger image.)


Let’s start off with the narcissus. The early daffodils are all gone, but the later ones are in their prime. Do you remember those new ones I told you about? Let’s start with them.
Narcissus 'Malin Head'Narcissus 'Achnasheen'Narcissus 'Rimmon'Narcissus 'Eland'Narcissus 'Vernal Prince'
Left to right, the most recently opened first: Malin Head, Achnasheen, Rimmon, Eland, and (second row) Vernal Prince. Angel doesn’t look like it will bloom, as Mr. Burdick suspected. It’s been a cool spring–until today, when it got up to 88F–and many of my daffodils have remained good looking for a long time. Here’s more that are blooming right now:
Narcissus 'Thalia'Narcissus 'Irish Laddie'An unknown jonquil-type narcissusNarcissus poeticus
These are arranged so that the most recent bloomer is last. Left to right, we have Thalia, then a narcissus acquired in a swap, which I’m calling Irish Laddie because the gardener I swapped with had an Irish name, then an unnamed one I got from my sister-in-law, and then the species poeticus. You probably noticed that Malin Head looks an awful lot like a poeticus. It is a larger flower overall, with a larger cup. Also the cup is supposed to whiten as it ages, but it only opened today, so I haven’t seen that for myself. (Update: The yellow in the cup does indeed fade, leaving the orange rim, and, if you look carefully, a tiny bit of green in the very center.)

Spring Ephemerals

This trillium grows in the Secret GardenGaywings carpets the woods behind our houseThe white form of gaywingsMarsh marigoldMy newest discovery - Wood AnemoneEarly meadow rueSweet white violetVirginia bluebells - Photo by Cadence 2006
I have Trillium grandiflorum growing on the north side of my house, and in the secret garden, and I planted all of them myself. But on Monday I saw a trillium blooming in our woods, the first one I have seen since our first spring here in 1990. Was it always there, and we just never saw it? Or are trilliums finally finding their own way back?

The next two flowers are both gaywings, Polygala paucifolia. I love them; they are so cute. They remind me of little propellers. They are not that common, but we apparently have the perfect conditions for them, as they carpet the woods at this time of the year.

Next is marsh marigold (Caltha palustris). I bought this at The Plantsmen and I hope to introduce it into the secret garden once I build up stock.

Second row, leftmost is another plant I just discovered on Monday. It’s wood anemone (Anemone quinquefolia). There was a nice little patch of them. I just love discovering new native plants growing on our land.

The next plant, early meadow rue (Thalictrum dioicum) has delicate, ferny foliage but not much in the way of flowers. There are a couple of trilliums intertwined with this plant, but I think I’m going to risk dividing it this fall, and moving some pieces to the secret garden.

I have three different violets. Pictured is sweet white violet (Viola blanda). We have loads of the common violet (Viola papilionacea) and we also have what I think is the sister violet (Viola sororia) in the wettest parts of the field.

Last but not least of the native plants, Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica). For me, this is a passalong plant that I received from my neighbor. It has multiplied quite well, self-sowing, and making enough new plants that I now have some in the secret garden, and have started another patch as well.

Everything Else

“Everything else” is not much. I have some lilac creeping phlox blooming, and some Johnny-jump-ups, and the flowering almond that was here when we moved in is in its glory:Detail of flowering almondFlowering almond in the ell of the houseAs you can see, it has a rather scraggly habit (though a hard pruning might do wonders), but I can assure you, a sprig of this plant in a bud vase next to a hospital bed is immensely cheering. I am not the only one who appreciates them. Lilacs and apple blossoms are were in bud. (That’s colchicum foliage all around the shrub, by the way.) Trees in general have unfurled their leaves part way, looking like yellow-green and mahogany-red poodle fur on the hillside opposite our house. Do you consider spring to have ended, and summer begun, when the leaves are fully unfurled? What signals the end of spring for you?

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

Now, the digging and dividing of perennials, the general autumn cleanup and the planting of spring bulbs are all an act of faith. One carries on before the altar of delayed gratification, until the ground freezes and you can’t do any more other than refill the bird feeder and gaze through the window, waiting for the snow. . . . Meanwhile, it helps to think of yourself as a pear tree or a tulip. You will blossom spectacularly in the spring, but only after the required period of chilling.

~Adrian Higgins in The Washington Post, November 6, 2013

Comments on this entry are closed.

Paula June 1, 2007, 7:29 pm

I received a hanging basket as a gift. I have no idea what it is. Pink, five petal flowers in clusters at the top of the stem. Rather thick, dark green leaves, that resemble a maple leaf or a fat five pointed star. How do I care for it? I have searched the internet for days. Thank you for your time

Oldroses May 18, 2007, 5:22 pm

I’m with Carol. Summer starts for me after Memorial Day. I never thought about particular plant behavior. Probably because May is so unpredictable. This year is a great example. Normally by Mother’s Day in May my iris and roses are all blooming. We had such a cold spring here that they are budded and only a few flowers are open.

Carol May 18, 2007, 10:12 am

I say “yep, not its summer” once I get the vegetable garden planted and see little corn and bean sprouts.

Kathy Purdy May 18, 2007, 6:32 am

Carol–our public swimming pools and parks open on Memorial Day weekend, too. Sometimes it’s hot enough to go swimming that weekend, and sometimes it’s sweatshirt weather! But I was more wondering if there was certain plant activity (trees leafing out, a certain flower blooming, etc) that makes you say, “yep, now it’s summer.” Our family associates the trees fully leafed out with the start of summer, but I think that might be because we have such a compressed growing season.

Kathy Purdy May 18, 2007, 6:29 am

MSS–When I first saw your narcissus blooming around the same time as your first roses, that really threw me for a loop. My roses are just starting to leaf out, and by the time they bloom, the daffodils are well on their way to dormancy.

Kathy Purdy May 18, 2007, 6:27 am

Piana Nanna–Thanks for stopping by. I think part of the reason it looks transparent is because the morning sunshine is lighting it from the back. It doesn’t look transparent or even translucent under normal circumstances. It was very bright and breezy when these narcissus were at their peak, and I found the best time to photograph them was very early in the morning, as the sun was just coming over the hill.

M Sinclair Stevens (Texas) May 17, 2007, 9:15 pm

Daffodils in May…now that IS cold climate gardening. But, hey! Can you believe it. A cold front blew in a couple of nights ago and it barely made it to 80 today. We’re in heaven.

Carol May 17, 2007, 9:05 pm

Well worth the wait! I love the wildflowers, especially. Thanks for participating in Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day and I am so glad you *finally* have some flowers. Beautiful flowers.

Memorial Day weekend signals the end of spring around here. That’s when swimming pools traditionally open and we have that “little” car race out at the Speedway. From a gardening standpoint, by then we are really, really, hopefully sure there will be no hint of frost.

Piana Nanna May 17, 2007, 7:05 pm

I love Achnasheen. It’s so delicate and seems to be almost transparent.