This year the Knockout roses looked the best they ever have. Red Knockouts, in particular, have become a ubiquitous planting in both residential and commercial landscaping the last few years, and I noticed they were spectacular all over town. I was hoping that my blooms were the result of my increasingly green thumb, but seeing the same results everywhere, I'm sure the cause was all the rain we had this spring instead.
Not as common, the yellow 'Radsunny' Knockout was filled with blossoms, too.
I'm not really a rose person--I love them, but prefer plants in my garden that can survive without too much attention from me--but I did take the time to really prune 'Zephirine Douhrin' this spring and tie up the canes so she didn't sprawl as much as last year. The effort was worth it, as she responded with dozens of lightly fragrant blooms climbing up the arbor bench.
Alliums, on the other hand, are definitely a low-maintenance plant. In my last post I featured Allium 'Roseum'; this one, I think is Allium 'Graceful.'
Blooms still looking good today include the spirea, name forgotten for the moment.
And Itea 'Little Henry'
Behind the butterfly garden, the rough-eared dogwood Cornus drummondii has just opened its blooms. This native tree/shrub is not particularly pretty except when in bloom, but it certainly is a bee and insect magnet.
It's penstemon time in the butterfly garden, including this passalong from Gail. Its purple-pink blooms coordinate nicely with the nearby Phlox pilosa, which to my surprise are also still blooming.
An old standby, yarrow has spread throughout several garden areas.
Speaking of spreading, the lamium is overtaking more and more territory in front of the tall spruce tree next to the shade garden. This is one time I'm happy to see something spread.
A surprising spreader has been the 'May Night' Salvia in the arbor bed. I brought home a small division two years ago from one of the gardens where I volunteer, and I now have at least 5 different clumps! This photo doesn't really show the true picture, but I'm beginning to have my own little Lurie "River of Salvia":) I wouldn't mind, but it's taking over more than I would like--note the poor little delphinium at the center bottom of the photo that barely has room to stretch.
Interrupting the presenting of blooms for a moment, my first pickings from the vegetable garden. We had such a rainy spring through mid-May that everything has really gotten away from me. These radishes should definitely have been pulled a week or two before!
Taking the time to take a closer look every so often always reveals some surprises. Sedum 'Angelina,' used as a groundcover in a few areas, surprises me every spring with these tiny yellow blossoms.
Another surprise--I had been watching what I thought were volunteer nigella or cosmos, but the true identity of these plants was revealed when the buds opened--Larkspur!
I was disappointed the past two years when the lily bulbs I had purchased at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show failed to do much of anything. I guess I should have been more patient. However, I swear I thought I had bought oriental lilies, not Asiatic, and I know for sure they were labeled a salmon color. This hot red looks anything but subtle salmon!
Other annuals, though, are must-haves for the butterflies and the hummingbirds. One of the few hummingbird sightings this spring was at this 'Black and Blue' Salvia.
Another sighting was at the Agastache. The perennial Agastache that did so well for me two years ago was a big disappointment last year, so this year I found a couple of annual Agastache instead (somewhere there's a tag for this...). The hummingbirds don't seem to mind a bit. I'm happy to report that I finally have everything planted--hooray! But this photo is an embarrassing reminder that there is much more to do--weeding, thinning, and mulching are at the top of my to-do list before things get totally out of hand!
In spite of the fact I feel rather overwhelmed at all that still needs to be done, it's a great time to be in the garden. As proof of more delights to come, my favorite flower of all is just starting--the first coneflower bloom!
To see what else is blooming around the country and the world and to join in the monthly celebration of Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, check in with our hostess Carol at May Dreams Gardens.