Plants That Make Me Happy: Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day May 2014

– Posted in: What's up/blooming

I have to agree with Donna Donabella that “the majority of flowers blooming are those usually seen at the end of April, not the middle of May.” But it’s weirder than that. Because after a very cold, excruciatingly slow spring, we suddenly got very warm weather, which speeded everything up. Consequently, on a drive through the village today, I saw lilacs beginning to bloom and forsythia in full bloom in the same garden. Rather disconcerting. But, when it comes to spring, we take what we can get, and we’re grateful for it.

Special Daffodils

Vernal Prince, a special daffodil

‘Vernal Prince’ should have been done blooming by now.

Daffodils, for example, make me happy, even when they bloom late. Quite a while back I indulged my love of daffodils and bought some special ones from Daffodils and More, a specialty nursery. Sadly, the only one I still have is ‘Vernal Prince’ pictured above, but I am very happy to have it. And every time I see it I think about getting the others again, at least some of them. Or maybe some entirely different ones, but still quite special. Because daffodils make me happy.


The next two plants were sent to me last year as samples from Skagit Nursery. I confess I was a bit underwhelmed by them last year. But this year–wow!

Brunnera Silver Heart

Brunnera ‘Silver Heart’ blooms earlier and more abundantly than ‘Looking Glass’ whose leaves you can just see in the upper left.

Brunnera ‘Silver Heart’ and ‘Sea Heart’ both have leaves of much thicker substance than ‘Looking Glass,’ which I also have. Currently the leaves of ‘Looking Glass’ are larger, but it hasn’t put out nearly as many flowers as these two newcomers.
Brunnera Sea Heart

The flowers of ‘Sea Heart’ seem to be a deeper blue than those of ‘Silver Heart’.

‘Silver Heart’ is bigger, but the flowers of ‘Sea Heart’ are a deeper blue. According to the promotional copy, they should be a mix of pink and blue, but I haven’t seen any sign of pink. I am just loving these two plants. Highly recommended.

Fritillaria pallidiflora

Fritillaria pallidiflora

Fritillaria pallidiflora – small and sweet

This little darling makes me happy just because it’s alive. Ok, I am a sucker for pale yellow, I admit, but I am happy it made the transition from old garden to new garden. Odyssey Bulbs says it is “very easy and very hardy” but I think it died on me the first time. (I don’t think I got it from Odyssey the first time, though.) It is also described as a foot tall but I don’t think mine has reached that height. Anyway, I do love it and hope it does multiply. Can you imagine drifts of this coming up through pale lilac creeping phlox?


I have several primroses (Primula sp.) Most of them are passalongs, including this:

Quakers bonnet double primrose Primula vulgaris

I just love double primroses. This one is called ‘Quaker’s Bonnet’

It was sent to me along with a bunch of other unusual plants from CCG contributor Craig Levy. I confess I almost lost it due to an exceptionally dry spell and some overzealous weeds, but I managed to bring it back from the brink. (Dances little happy dance.)

Another primrose is pictured at the top of the post, and I thought I’d show you this striking red as well:

deep red primrose (primula)

Deep red primrose. Imagine if this one were a double–oo-la-la!

I also have white and pale yellow, plus Primula veris, cowslip. These primroses don’t mind our cold winters, but they are not fond of hot, dry summers, so those of you in the plains of North America probably have to give them more TLC than I do.

What plants make you happy?

After a long winter, just about any blooming plant will make you happy, right? But there are some that, either because you weren’t sure they’d make it, or because they have personal associations for you, or because (don’t tell the other plants) you do have favorites, put a spring in your step to see they’re up and blooming. I’d love it if you’d share your “happy plants” in the comments. We can all use more plants that make us happy, don’t you think?

Inspired by the words of Elizabeth Lawrence, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year,” Carol of May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. On the 15th of every month, garden bloggers from all over the world publish what is currently blooming in their gardens, and leave a link in Mr. Linky and the comments of May Dreams Gardens.

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.

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

~Albert Camus in Albert Camus quotations

Comments on this entry are closed.

Donna@GardensEyeView May 31, 2014, 2:06 pm

Finally getting caught up…you have some gorgeous blooms here and I especially love the brunnera foliage. I had not seen these 2.

Eleni May 18, 2014, 7:07 am

Your primroses are lovely. I had the same feeling seeing forsythia and lilacs at the same time in my garden. I’m not sure why but the lilac didn’t bloom last year but did this year. Grateful spring is here. Enjoying your writing and blooms.

Frank May 17, 2014, 9:12 pm

You’re right, there are some plants that make me happier than others. Snowdrops, daffodils, tulips, peonies, iris…. ok maybe there are more than a few. I love your primroses, I’m trying to find a few that can handle my summertime dry garden…. so far so good, I had a few nice blooms thins spring!

Les May 17, 2014, 8:10 pm

At the gardens where I work, we got in primrose last fall to plant out. They all survived the winter, remarkably, and bloomed their heads off this spring. However, I know they won’t make it through our summer, but we are pleased to call them annuals.

Joanne Toft May 17, 2014, 9:58 am

I was excited about a tiny red tulip that popped up in my back garden under the pine tree. I cut back branches last fall to give space for plants underneath and this little darling came up. It was here and gone so fast and I was out of town so did not get a picture of it. I have to go hunting to see what it might have been. But no matter what I was happy! Such a nice surprise. I have a Buffalo Current bush that is just at the edge of blooming that will be wonderful today or tomorrow. It smells like nutmeg! (Mpls, Mn – still not a lot blooming – we have been cold and wet.)

Kathy Purdy May 17, 2014, 11:27 am

I wonder if the rodents relocated some of your tulips, as they have done with mine in past years.

Evan May 17, 2014, 9:45 am

I love daffodils, brunneras, and primroses. I have so many happy plants it’s hard to only mention a few, but some of them are rhododendrons, the native penstemons that I collected on hikes (legally), my Xerophyllum tenax, Iris tenax, and my Primula bulleyana that I grew from seed. I also love brunneras brcause I’m a sucker for blue and silver.

Kathy Purdy May 17, 2014, 9:53 am

I think plants that we successfully grow from seed always have a special place in our heart, especially if they were tricky.

Alana May 16, 2014, 9:31 pm

We have a pink double primrose (purchased at Wegmans, I think) like your Quakers Bonnet-I decided I had so many photos for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day I would not publish it. I love primroses. I love my daffodils. If my Viola “Columbine” (I did solve the mystery of yesterday, thanks to you and several others) had overwintered, I truly would have done a happy dance.

Carol Eichler May 16, 2014, 7:13 pm

P.S. I’m envious of your “Quaker’s Bonnet” or, more accurately, covetous.

Carol Eichler May 16, 2014, 7:10 pm

I’m just back from Winterthur Gardens and was also struck by things blooming at the same time that normally wouldn’t. It was really beautiful but definitely not what I’d consider a normal spring.

Jane Rutkowski May 16, 2014, 4:58 pm

Spring has finally sprung! Is sprung a word? Oh, well. Anyway, I’m loving my daffodils and so happy the trees are finally leafing out. I winter sowed quite a few things and many seedlings are still quite small. I hope by the time they’re big enough to plant out the temps don’t shoot up to 90 degrees! this weather has been so crazy nothing would surprise me.

Leslie May 16, 2014, 2:42 pm

I am glad spring has finally arrived for you! Those are very happy-making blooms.

Deborah Banks May 16, 2014, 11:48 am

I love the pale yellow Primula veris, which is the first primula to bloom here. It seeds around freely which I also love. It even comes up in the lawn yearly, despite eventually getting mowed down with the grass. I’m also doing a happy dance over some of my epimediums. I got E. frohnleitin at the Berkshire Botanic Garden sale last year, so it’s blooming for me for the first time. Huge bloom clusters of pale yellow; beautiful. Also, happy with my double bloodroot (just now almost finished blooming) and Jeffersonia dubia. Oh, and one of the two hepaticas that I bought at the Ithaca sale last year actually survived my acid soil and bloomed this year! (Big dance)