The photo above and this one below, of the Solomon's Seal (a shade-lover, also quite happy to colonize, but not as agressively as the euphorbia) were taken with my new Canon Elph. I bought it for portability -- don't want to lug the Nikon SLR around the Paris streets -- and the picture quality and ease of use seem quite decent. Behind the Solomon's Seal (properly, Polygonatum) is the Hydrangea Petiolaris which apparently is not going to bloom this year either, despite being nine years in this spot where it seems to be quite happy. Any suggestions?
(Back to the Nikon now, although with a few other Canon shots mixed in) I know I showed you these orange species tulips earlier, on Mother's Day.
These pink ones are also blooming right now, opening and shutting depending on how much sun is shining.And I showed you these Clematis alpina already as well, which I love not only for the daintiness of their downward-facing flower, but also for their contrast with the green foliage, their own and the shiny leaves of the rose, Awakening (apparently a sport of the favourite climber, New Dawn).
In the foreground here, is a much more common (gaudier?) version of a similar colour combination -- the vinca major, best known as periwinkle. To the left, just behind it, you might be able to make out the osmanthus flowers -- pretty little white creatures, but it's their fragrance that earns their keep. And the gold, gold, and more gold foliage behind that is the Physocarpus or Ninebark. I agree, it does look a bit scruffy, but it is a cottage garden, after all.
But perhaps the palate-cleansing effect of a single bloom is in order. And not even a bloom, but a bud, and an architectural one at that: Centaurea cyanus or bachelor's button. I got a few of these from my mom's garden years ago and now they're all over -- okay by me!
Truly, I think this has the most sensuous curves of any flower. Sadly, it is not a vigorous colonizer at all, having popped its head up all alone for five or six years now.This Euphorbia (characias wulfenii), though, is settling in nicely, in the most difficult part of the garden, the very front, where it must contend with poor rocky soil, wind, and seaspray.Also doing well in a challenging location are the epimedium we put in the summer before last. They're also near the front of the yard, where winds and seaspray make life difficult, and their soil is not much better; they're in shade much of the day, though, rather than in full sun as the Euphorbia are. Here's one variety (there's another blooming right now as well) and to the left, you can see that the Skimmia Japonica is also flowering right now. Neither of these plants are chosen for their flowers, foliage being their more important contribution (and I love the Skimmia's red berries brightening the shade), but their daintiness is a welcome gift every spring.You may get tired of seeing these blooms in my monthly photo account, but I never tire of seeing them in the garden. February through November, this Erysimum 'Bowles mauve' blooms its heart out. Rather literally, to tell the truth, as it will exhaust itself through flowering, and, since the flowers are sterile, I'll have to begin again with a new plant. Every two or three years, I pick up a few of these from my favourite nursery and pick likely places for them. Oddly, I can't predict which spots will be successful nurturers of these showstoppers, but I'll make whatever allowances are necessary. After all, I get three years of beautiful purple blooms against gorgeous glaucous foliage -- that's worth a bit of fuss, no? And once the plant takes to the spot, it needs almost nothing, not even watering. To the left of the birdhouse, you can see that the Viburnum Davidii are just coming into bloom and have, in fact, begun blooming quite vigorously in the few days of sunshine since I took this picture.
For more dark drama, this Sambucus Nigra 'Black Beauty' provides a gorgeous backdrop to what I think is another Euphorbia -- this plant was a division from a friend's garden, and she couldn't remember its name. The flower is even more acid-green off-screen, if possible. And by the time it's finished flowering, the Sambucus' own neon-pink blooms will be startling us with their kitschy colour -- those blooms I really hope I'm home for!
Also shade-growing, also tripartite leaf, also featuring contrast between green and white, but with a much, much longer flowering period is this Oxalis (shamrock, yes). These flowers will open up soon and brighten the dark side of the yard where the Oxalis has been allowed to spread into a wavy verdant sea.More green and white: the lily-of-the-valley should be ready to fill my dainty white bone-china Coalport vase, a birthday gift from my mom years ago, for my birthday breakfast table setting in a few days.More white against green freshness comes with the Choisya Ternata (Mexican Orange). I have several of these shrubs around the yard and they do yeoman's duty all year 'round. This one, to the left of the monster bird house, are just coming into bloom, and provide a nice foil to the maple's red.Vines are blooming as well -- not only the clematis alpina I showed you above, but also the clematis montana that Paul pruned back severely last year, concerned about its effect on the guest cottage roof. It seems to have forgiven him, and is regaining ground quickly. Golden Physocarpus in the foreground, and Fountain Bamboo in the middle.Back on the ground, this Geranium Sanguineum flower is not my favourite colour, but it does brighten dark spots, and the foliage is thick and healthy-looking. Plus the foliage, when you brush by it, releases a wonderfully herbal, woodsy fragrance.
Whew! I'm getting tired, so I hope I'm not wearing you out with all this floral bounty. Just a brief return to that purple and green motif in the form of the lilac, just coming into bloom,
then a quick peek at the Astrantia Major rubrum (also a happy but considerate volunteer)and let's just mention the forget-me-nots, the Corydalis lutea, the aubretia, and then acknowledge that I will have forgotten a bloom or two along the way.
And that's it for May Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Once again, thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for organizing this blog event and motivating me to record and share what's happening in my garden.