…and along comes pretty little May

The focus shifts from searching far and wide for something to show to editing out all but the most photogenic of the bloomers in the garden. Not that they are not beautiful and garden-worthy, it’s just that the camera (or the person behind the camera) is unworthy. Anyway, here are a few of the stars in my garden this month:

Berberis thunbergii purpurea

A plain old barberry might seem like an odd choice to make the cut, but let me explain. This one, Berberis thunbergii purpurea arrived as one of two tiny little whips of plants from one of those cut-rate catalogs. They grew so vigorously that I was seduced into ordering other things from the same source with far less success. Those catalogs now make their way immediately to the round file. Still, the barberry shrubs came to dominate their border and surprised me with a profusion of tiny flowers.

berberis replicata

At Dancing Oaks Nursery the Barberrys shed the cloak of contempt that so often obscures their natural charm. I left there with this Berberis replicata

Berberis jamesiana

and Berberis jamesiana. Purchased in 2007, they are just coming into their own. Jim here bloomed for the first time last year, but only sparsely. I take the plentiful blossoms this year as a good sign that he is working up to the clusters of pearly hanging berries that were love at first sight.

Eanothus ‘Blue Jeans’

I was told that ‘Blue Jeans’ was the hardiest of the Ceanothus and I guess it’s true. I’m happy, after losing ‘Vandehberg’ last year without ever having seen a blossom.

Rhododendron ‘Seaview Sunset’

The Rhodys are going great guns. We buy them primarily for leaf shape, but with the foliage suffering from the cold snap, the parade of flowers is a welcome distraction. This one is Rhododendron ‘Seaview Sunset’.

Rhododendron ‘Mrs Betty Robertson’

I wanted to show you how the buds are a much deeper hue than the flowers when they emerge, making for an interesting display. This is Rhododendron ‘Mrs Betty Robertson.

Narcissus ‘Salome’

The last of the Daffodils to put in an appearance is Narcissus ‘Salome’. I have been planting daffys in drifts, but I may need to rethink that strategy after seeing the impact of this single, well-placed bulb.

orange tulips with Fritillaria meleagris

Speaking of tweaking and fine-tuning, I love the color play of these orange tulips with the Fritillaria meleagris. More of the frits are called for, don’t you think?


For scent, nothing beats the old-fashioned lilac.

Penstemon newberryi

Andy Warhol’s “fifteen minutes of fame” says it all when it comes to bloom time for Penstemon newberryi, so even though it is just getting started, I’m sneaking it in here. Just as a point of interest, it usually blooms around the first week in April.

Epimedium x warleyense

What is it about Epimediums? They are super-expensive, have diminutive flowers and are almost impossible to photograph (if you don’t believe me, that was the best of my many attempts). Still, I was inordinately thrilled with the first bloom on Epimedium x warleyense that I picked up at an end-of-season sale at Garden Fever. The other one I have is ‘Lilafree’, whose tiny purple blossoms disappear even to the naked eye. It does have lovely foliage that turns autumnal colors before dying back.

Almost forgot to give credit and send you on over to May Dreams Gardens, where Carol has masterminded this monthly ritual and will link you to many more May blooms.

5 thoughts on “…and along comes pretty little May

  1. Grace~You are lucky to be relatively close to Dancing Oaks. For us, it is quite the expedition. I just clicked on the link you left here, and it took me to a “page not found” message. Help! I do not want to lose you!

    Loree~My two eps were purchased on sale. I am intrigued by them, but not sure I would spring for the going rate. There were 4″ pots of them for $15 when I last saw some.

  2. Such a lot on show all of a sudden, and isn’t it about time too.
    I share your admiration for Berberis. Almost any of them actually, but the one you show is particularly lovely with those colours.

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