Saturday, May 15, 2010

GBBD: New Additions

After months of waiting, the day has finally come--May 15, the last frost date in my Zone 5 garden!  Time to safely plant annuals . . . now if I could just find the time to buy some, let alone plant them.  It's also time for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, the day to showcase what is blooming in our gardens.  Here's a quick look at what is blooming in my garden, but please keep your eyes focused on the blooms only--between being gone for a week and intermittent rain, there has been very little time for weeding. 

May in my garden is more a time of promise, with buds and lots of green growth, but few blooms.  However, the clematis 'Nelly Moser' enjoys May and is the most prolific bloomer here.  She would probably look even better if  I had pruned her earlier, but the warm weather in early April caught me by surprise.  In addition to 'Nelly,' other early bloomers include Nepeta 'Walker's Low," Salvia 'May Night,' Salvia 'Eveline,' and a few blossoms on the red Knockout roses.  There are also some "hangers-on" from the April Bloom Day, most notable Brunnera, 'Jack Frost.'

Instead of showing everything that is blooming today, I wanted to focus on some new additions to the garden this spring.  The new lily garden is slowly filling in, including two new Knockouts 'Radsunny.'  Since this is still a fairly new cultivar, it's much more expensive than the reds or pinks that have been around for awhile.  I splurged on one gallon plant and then decided to buy a less expensive and smaller quart size.  The larger 'Radsunny' was blooming by the time I returned from Portland, but wouldn't you know it, I didn't get a photo of it till its yellow blooms had faded to white.

But more yellow buds promise I'll get another chance soon to capture its true appearance.

One of the unexpected benefits of working in the Master Gardeners' Idea Garden has been the chance to get plants at next-to-nothing prices.  Part of the spring clean-up process is to divide up overgrown plants or remove some altogether to make room for something new; these extra divisions are set aside for anyone to take for a small donation to the garden fund.  Two weeks ago I came home with several starts, including this plant that wasn't labelled but looked intriguing.  I soon found out it was a Thalictrum or Meadow Rue.

I was really excited, though, to see the label on this plant, Amsonia 'Blue Star.'  I've been wanting an Amsonia ever since I saw it in Chicago at the Lurie Garden last year.  It was quite small when I brought it home and I really didn't expect to see it bloom this year, but if you look very closely, you'll see some blue clusters--I think I may have blooms after all this spring!  Other new additions brought home from the Idea Garden include several starts of a 'Becky' daisy and a cranesbill, neither of which is blooming yet.  I also received some yellow irises from the garden of another Master Gardener--I love free plants!

Speaking of the Lurie Garden, the Baptisia is in full bloom!  I am really happy with this plant--I planted it just last summer, and it's already two feet tall and covered in vivid purple blooms.

It's no wonder this plant was named the 2010 Perennial of the Year.

Another addition inspired by last year's Spring Fling in Chicago are these alliums.  My notes are in disarray at the moment, so I don't remember the particular variety of bulb I planted, but these are the larger alliums, reaching around 3 feet high.

I have a feeling there will lots of alliums featured this spring in the gardens of those who attended Spring Fling last year.

And finally, I've saved what may be the best for last--the renowned Practically Perfect Pink Phlox, Phlox Pilosa, brought home last October from the generous gardener at Clay and Limestone.  Thanks, Gail!

For a look at more blooms from around the world, be sure to visit our hostess, the Queen of May, Carol at May Dreams Gardens.  Also, if you missed my last post, take a quick look at the photos below of some gorgeous blooms in Portland, Oregon where azaleas and rhododendrons rule!


  1. Rose, Good morning! Your post looks so beautiful...I love the alliums and baptisia...Wasn't the Lurie wonderful and such an inspiration to many of us. I am tickled pink that PPPP is blooming so beautifully for you! Thank you for the shout out! xxgail

  2. Yay for free plants Rose! Your new roses are lovely, and the alliums are perfection. Next year will be the test for mine, since they don't get a lot of sun. Hopefully they'll keep blooming happily here. I hope their oniony scent will help repel the bunnies - I planted them in a spot where they ate everything last fall.

    Baptisia is one of my very favorite natives. I have seedlings (seeds from a MG friend.) They will need at least two or three years before they bloom, if they make it through the winter. A bunch of them purchased as plants a few years ago all died. I think they were diseased when I bought them - probably stem rot. The nursery where I got them is the only place I've found them around here, and every year they look the same there - black stems and black-edged foliage, just like what happened to mine a few weeks after planting. Grrr!

  3. The baptisias are gorgeous! Love the clematis too. And yeah for the last frost date!!

  4. Oh my..... those are glorious blooms. Love the colours of all of them.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  5. Nelly Moser is beautiful. I love your purple Allium too. I agree that Baptisia and PPPP are wonderful plants!

  6. Your clematis win the prize. I love all the purple.

  7. Hi Rose....beautiful blooms. Your gardens are so advanced.
    Would the allium be 'purple sensation?'
    Tku re has appeared in my garden and must have been from the wildflower mix you sent for my birthday last year.
    How wonderful is that? BTW all seeds you sent have germinated including the milkweed. She fought against germination but eventually had to give into my green fingers.

    Nelly Moser is such a 'doer'.......every garden should have one. Mine is still in the early bud stage. Has been much too cold here for May....we have warmed up today.....

    Happy gardening Rose.

  8. 'Nelly Moser' is stunning in all her glory. And wowser on the baptisia. In just one year it is stunning already and will only get better.

  9. Great stuff to come home to, but it seems so early for Roses. I have to remind myself that your garden is usually a few weeks ahead of mine. Your Thalictrum is probably an aquilegifolium. The easiest way to tell is to look at the foliage, which looks kind of like columbine foliage. I feel like I started a trend here with the 'Purple Sensation' Alliums. You might want to deadhead them, as mine turned out to be prolific seeders.

  10. Looks like you've been very lucky with the new additions. You're going to be quite happy with that Amsonia. I planted one last May and it really shined this spring. :)

  11. Hi, Rose!
    Meadow Rue... you've cleared up a mystery. :) And, a coincidental one at that. I picked up meadow rue at a master gardener meeting several years ago. I love those dainty collections of flowers but never knew who she was!

    Looks like we have similar tastes... We're growing many of the same flowers. :D

  12. Hi Rose, you have some great new additions to your garden. My meadow rue and amsonia is also blooming. They are just wonderful. I will be curious to see if your Meadow Rue ever spreads. Mine haven't. I figure yours is in a more proper place than mine. I hope you keep us posted. To answer your question, yes, I am doing fine. Busy and scattered more than usual.

  13. Can't blame you for loving that baptisia. Mine has already bloomed. I was so excited since it was the first time.

    Beautiful pic of the allium.

  14. Rose, your garden is stunning and that allium shot, awesome :) Can hardly believe that it's mid-May ... I hate to say goodbye to this glorious month.

  15. You have a nice assortment of blooms, too! I love that phlox, and the clematis is a beautiful color and shape. I got a clematis to share the arbor with a medium sized clematis, thinking this was, too, but the blooms will be larger. Seeing yours makes me think it will be fine.

    How cool to have access to those plants.

  16. I forgot to tell you that the blooming kale is from last year's planting. Actually, that one is from 2 years ago, and bloomed last year as well.

    I bet your amsonia has open blooms by now. If not, it will soon. It's another of my favorites. Now, you need to find 'hubrichti'.

  17. What beautiful blooms, Rose! I have Nelly Moser and she always puts on a good show despite me being rather neglectful :( yours is further ahead than mine though.

    I am intrigued by your 'last frost date'. Can your weather forecasters be so accurate that they can guarantee no frost after a certain date? I'm not sure it would be possible here with our unpredictable weather.

    I had never heard of Baptisia (it is lovely) and was struck by its similarity to our Lupins. I looked them up and they are indeed both in the legume family.

    Your Alliums are stunning, I really should grow some.

    So glad you drew attention to your previous post which I missed :( I just love the colour of 'What a Peach' and those Rhododendrons are stunning!

    I'm glad you were able to spend time with your daughter and Coconut, July will be here before you know it :)

  18. Dear Rose,
    Your gardens are full of delights. The Meadow Rue is the host plant for the Giant Swallowtails. I do so hope one finds your Rue to lay eggs...eaten leaves are a good thing! I grow Garden Rue which they also can use. Looks as if you are building a wonderful habitat for the bugs!

  19. Oh, nothing makes me happier then free plants for my garden. I used to take home small cuttings of cactus that we had pruned at work and then plant them in my garden :-)

  20. Good morning Rose. Nelly Moser is one of my favorite clematis. I had it years ago but the area got to shady and it died out (my fault, I should have moved it.)

    I just added baptisia. I've seen it grown around here and never cared much for it--always laying on the ground. Lately, seeing all the photos on blogs, I decided to go ahead and try it. Fingers crossed. Yours is certainly standing up nicely.

  21. Hi Rose,
    Wow. Such colorful blooms going on in your garden. Gotta love free plants and passalongs. I remember so many bloggers talking about that allium last year after Chicago. It really is sensational. And the baptisia... love that purple.
    May is being good to your garden.

  22. Rose, I'm so jealous of your amsonia! I bought 3 online last year and they still haven't bloomed! And they're still pretty tiny. Maybe they're not meant to be for me. Your Nelly Moser makes me think that one of my clematis is actually that. The more Nelly Moser's I see, the more I think I got a mislabelled clematis! All your plants look really nice. Congrats.

  23. Rose, thank you for bringing back those memories of the Lurie and all that it held. Your MG work is paying off in more ways than one. Love the PPP and must go visit Gail. LOL She will populate the world with this beauty.

  24. I must have gotten the idea of baptisia and allium from reading all the blogs of people who went to Spring Fling Chicago as I couldn't attend but I added baptisia and allium to my garden last year!

    Clematis in May? I may have to try Nellie Moser. My husband is always talking about that one, and he needs a clematis for his garden. Do they grow from old wood or start fresh every year?

  25. My favorite Blue seems to be ruling your garden. Wonderful blooms!
    Ahh! Gail's PPPP - I love it!

  26. Hi Rose,
    Re maples......most of mine are planted in the woodland walk area, in a sheltered spot.
    You can grow them in a large pot, perhaps on a deck. I have two near the house in pots, I treat them like large bonsai. Provided they are watered and fed, they can stay in the pot for many years.
    My two specimens look absolutely beautiful, many comment on them.

    Perhaps you could buy a very small tree, pot it, and see what happens.

  27. Thanks, Cheryl, for that great idea. The winter winds here can be pretty fierce, so a sheltered spot is important. I just haven't wanted to spend all the money for something that might not make it.

    Gail, re your comment on my last post--Sophie was in the very capable hands of Mr. P--he lets her run "wild" more than I do, and she loved it!

    ShySongbird, I should have said May 15 is our "average last frost date." I wish our weathermen were that accurate:) There's still always a possibility of frost after that, and I've been known to put out blankets in June!

    Sylvana, The "Nelly Moser" was mislabelled when I got it as I recall. As for old or new wood, it's new--I think:) I just prune away the dead vines and tidy it up in the spring.

    Thanks to everyone else for your comments--I've seen many similar blooms this spring around Blogland!

  28. Rose, I think that time of year in the Spring when the garden holds so much promise is magical. The middle of May seems like such a long time to wait to plant annuals, but it is really only a month later than here in zone 8B.

    Your photos are amazing, Rose. I especially love the macro shot of the allium. It really showcases just how intricate the blooms are. They are as showy as fireworks in July!

  29. I missed posting on GBBD for the first time since I've been blogging, but I'm not about to miss seeing what's blooming in your garden on May 15.

    Free or clearance plants that do well in the garden always seem more special to me than the ones I paid lots of $$$ for. Less stress/pressure for them to grow.

    Baptisia and alliums were added to my garden last fall, too. My alliums are white, but not blooming yet. Neither is the Baptisia. Hope they look as good as yours do.

    Your Pefectly Pink Phlox is such a pretty addition to your garden and a plant from a friend's garden can't be beat.

  30. Hi Rose, my PPPP is blooming, too, but my baptisia doesn't even have buds yet. But it was buried under a lot of leaves. (heh!) I do like being able to sometimes take plants when volunteering. I just got some blood root that way! :)

  31. Wonderful, Rose.

    Our alliums are just coming out but my little flower garden looks sadly empty. Things just don't seem to survive - or grow.


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