Even more in May

I mourn the passing out of flower of the Exbury azaleas along the northern border. Yes, the azaleas were in color for a few weeks, and the glorious bloom had to end soon, but flowering ended hastily with a few inches of rain from thunderstorms that turned blooms into damp tissue paper that hung from branch tips for several days. The fading of flowers marks the passing of the garden’s peak, but there remains much to assuage the sadness.

Flowering of two deutzias (Deutzia gracilis ‘Chardonnay Pearls’, above) continues from mid May, and when flowers eventually fade, the soft, yellow foliage of ‘Chardonnay Pearls’ remains attractive through the summer. The second deutzia (below) was planted side by side with another, expecting both were the low growing ‘Nikko’. And then it grew, and ‘Nikko’ is buried below somewhere, I suppose, so I can only presume this is the species. Since this is planted in a jumble of shrubs the larger deutzia is probably a better choice anyway.

One of my favorites, ‘Magician’ deutzia (Deutzia x hybrida ‘Magicien’, below) will soon flower, and while the shrub is quite unremarkable, the flowers have a glow that is particularly delightful. While ‘Magician’ does not flower on the side that is heavily shaded, it gets only a few hours of midday sunlight and still it flowers beautifully.

‘Magician’ deutzia

The many and varied irises are in flower, or just about to, and while none last much more than a week from start to finish, the varied timing brings color for a month or longer. There are native versicolor iris, along with Japanese and Siberian irises (above), and for better or worse the edges of the koi pond are thick with yellow flag irises (Iris pseudacorus, below).

Yellow flag iris
Yellow flag iris borders the koi pond. Several years ago its numbers were greater, but the variegated acorus has pushed it aside. Both are closely monitored so that none slip over the pond’s overflow.

Flowers of several sweetshrubs (Calycanthus floridus) are past their peak, but fading slowly, with unexpected buds now showing on more recently planted ‘Aphodite’, ‘Venus’, and ‘Michael Lindsay’. When buds did not develop at the same time as the species, ‘Hartlage Wine'(below), and ‘Athens’, I presumed that I would have to wait another year. Maybe not.

‘Hartlage Wine’ sweet shrub
Flowers are limited on the dark leafed ‘Burgundy Spice’, but its dark leaves are attractive through the summer.

Of course, there is much more flowering in the garden, but no blooms stand out more than the yellow flowered baptisia’ Lemon Meringue’ (below). Yellow and purple flowered baptisias are planted in dry and wet soils, and all multiply rapidly. A bit of pruning is required after flowering so that neighboring blackberry and toad lilies are not overwhelmed, but I will always err on the side of choosing plants that thrive without care.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Valerie says:

    I love these photos! I will research each plant to learn about them. I have never heard of them. I would like to replicate in my garden the diversity of plants that you have achieved. Your gardens are so magnificent!

    1. Dave says:

      Every day I’m excited by a plant that I’ve never seen before, or one in combination with another that inspires me to find a spot for it. My wife shakes her head, but I’ve just started a collection of non hardy aeoniums, succulents that will have to come indoors for the winter. I have no space to put them up for the winter, but I’ll figure it out.

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