What’s Blooming: Arb Edition

Bloom Explosion

The nights have been warmer lately — in the 50s — and that plus plenty of rain has led to a burst of blooming in my yard. The cherry tree is past peak, but the apple blossoms are fluffy and the sweet woodruff planted around our ash tree as a groundcover is blooming and growing. I may need to pull some of this down the road; it really likes this spot.

The lilacs are opening up and the red twig dogwood are just about to bloom. In front, the tulips have faded, so things look a bit messy, but the blooms of the ‘Purple Sensation’ allium are enough to distract viewers from the mass of greenery below. (I hope!) Here are a few blooms I photographed this morning.

Sweet woodruff and lamium 'White Nancy' filling in nicely around our ash tree.
Red twig dogwood flowers about to open.










Blossoms on Haralson apple tree.
Lots of faded tulip foliage, but the allium looks good.


What’s Blooming?

The sun is high enough in the sky so that even with the cool temperatures, plants are starting to bloom. It’s an exciting time of the year. Here are a few things blooming in my yard today. Except for the tulips, these are all larger photo files.

Some tulips are fading, but the later tulips are at peak bloom
Allium 'Purple Sensation' goes from this tight ball to a star-burst flower.
'Bali' cherry blossoms -- the first fruit to flower in my yard.
Wild strawberry -- a great plant for rocky areas.

May Flowers

Tree peony in bloom.

We missed the April showers, but we got a few in May, and now we have the flowers to prove it. At left, is a tree peony that is in its third season in my yard. It’s probably in too shady a spot to get maximum size, but the blooms are a lovely part of late spring-early summer.  I believe this one is Paeonia ‘Kokuryunishiki’. I made the identification from a photo from the Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College that looks very similar to the one I have. Unlike herbaceous peonies, which die to the ground each fall, tree peonies are more like a shrub. They are slow growing, but eventually reach 4 to 5 feet in height with dozens of blooms.

Sweet woodruff blooms.

Another bloomer now is sweet woodruff, a groundcover I planted after reading an article about it by Terry Yockey. What a sweet plant! The foliage is bright green and the flowers really lighten up a shady spot. It is a bit of a spreader, but I planted it under a tree in hopes of getting a big swath of it over time.

Red twig dogwood bloom.

Flowering shrubs are also in bloom now, including lilacs and one of my favorite shrubs, red-twig dogwood. This plant looks good all year long–from its bright red branches contrasting with winter snows to these dainty white flowers. My only beef about dogwood is you do have to prune out some branches almost every year to keep it looking nice.

What’s blooming in your May garden?

What’s Blooming? What’s Not?

Spring continues to barrel on about two weeks ahead of time, meaning my garden is full of May bloomers before May Day arrives. Here are a few photos of what’s up:

I moved these azaleas last year because they never really seemed happy in my front yard -- which is sunnier and more alkaline than this backyard bed. They're still tiny for azaleas that have been in the ground nine seasons, but the blooms are gorgeous this year.
After getting a decent harvest from this 'Bali' cherry tree last year, I am so excited to see it in glorious bloom. In a few weeks, I'll put a net over it because the birds are not getting any of the cherries this year.

Bloom Tuesday: The Micro-View

IMG_5070While I’m not always — maybe, not ever — pleased with the big picture in my garden, there are tiny moments of beauty that surprise and delight me. Lately, more of those moments have occurred as spring is fading toward summer and more plants are blooming and growing. With the good weather we’ve had this past week — unlike friends and family in the Twin Cities, we had a decent shot of rain Sunday night — finding and appreciating those surprises has been pure joy.

Take, for instance, the bloom in the photo above. Last year, I bought a peony at the Dakota County Master Gardeners plant sale in May. Since peonies are best planted in the fall and I wasn’t exactly sure where I wanted to plant the peony, I put it in a big pot to hold it through the summer. For fun, I added some petunias and a vinca vine. When fall came, the roots were all entwined, so I just put the entire root ball — peony, petunias, and vinca — in the ground. Lo and behold, when the peony came up this spring, the vinca came with it and the vinca is now blooming.

This variegated plant appears to be a type of Vinca minor or common periwinkle. While it can be invasive in some parts of the country, it seems to be OK for Minnesota. The U of M even recommends it in its Best Plants for 30 Tough Sites book. In any case, discovering the flower — hiding under the peony foliage — provided a wake-up-and-look-around moment for me last week. And, we all need more moments like that.