Monday, May 16, 2011

May: A Walk in the Garden

By mid-May, the leaves on the overstory oaks, hickories, sweetgums and poplars are fully grown. The garden looks green and lush from recent rains. The spring ephemerals have bloomed and gone to seed, and there's a lull before the summer perennials start blooming. Yet there's still a few plants in bloom, many of them native to the Southeast. One of my favorite shrubs stands out amidst all the green: Oakleaf hydrangea. It thrives in the dappled light of the understory.

 Hydrangea quercifolia

I obtained divisions of creeping phlox and penstemon last spring when volunteering doing plant maintenance at the UNC Botanical Gardens. I transplanted them in hot weather and wasn't sure they'd survive. I love it when plants once again prove my worries to be unfounded. 

Phlox stolonifera
I'm not sure what variety of penstemon this is. Do you know?
Evening primrose is a beautiful lemon color, perhaps my favorite yellow of all flowers. This volunteer surprised me during a walk through the garden. It is a growing under an ironwood sapling that I also "weeded" from the botanical garden. 

If you look closely, you can see pollen on the legs of the ant on this Oenothera fruticosa. 
I'm happy to see that Tiarella cordifolia is still blooming one month later. I find it difficult to capture the fairy-like charm of this little woodland perennial in photographs. 

The geraniums after five years have finally spread to make a charming edging to the walkway.

Geranium sanguineum 'Max Frei'
Here is a close-up of a mystery azalea that charms simply because it blooms long after other the flowers of other azaleas are a memory. 

Bumblebees spend the day crawling on the blooms of Magic Carpet spirea.

Spiraea bumalda 'Magic Carpet'
I raved about Confederate star jasmine in my post yesterday. 

Trachelospermum jasminoides


FlowerLady said...

What lovely blooms you have there in your gardens. Confederate jasmine is also a favorite of mine. It has about petered out now. I look forward to it blooming every spring.

Thank you for visiting my blog and your kind comment.


Sheila said...

Thanks for visiting, Flower Lady. It seems Confederate star jasmine has lots of fans!

Autumn Belle said...

It was a refreshing walk in your garden that is now filled with beautiful, colourful blooms. It looks like our garden friends are having a bug party.

Karin / Southern Meadows said...

You still have lots blooming in your garden! I have had
oakleaf hydrangea on my list for a long time. I must get one soon!

Wife, Mother, Gardener said...

I just planted my first Oakleaf Hydrangea on our Shade Path because I have long admired the one I choose while designing a friend's garden. They are such a charming shrub, I think.

Lovely blog! Thank you for your sweet comment on WMG. I enjoyed my visit here as well!

Anonymous said...

What great photos and lovely plants! I love that Oakleaf's on my "someday" list!

That Jasmine is incredible too...

You have such fabulous colors in bloom right now - I'm eager to see how your garden changes over the season!

Sheila Read said...

Autumn Belle, a bug party? I'm there :) Thanks for your kind comments!

Karin and Red Garden Clogs, I highly recommend Oakleaf hydrangeas. Mine takes virtually no care and grows on a slope with clayey soil under an oak and hickory. They don't need to be watered constantly, like other hydrangeas I've tried to grow. Make sure to protect them from deer, though!

Julie, I agree with their charm. They're so different from most other shrubs with their big leaves ... Mine is on a shady path, too.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Sheila - that's great to know re: the oakleaf hydrangea...we have a lot of shady areas in our yard (and definitely no deer here in Brooklyn - ha!) I think it might be a good choice for us (NEXT year, since I've already gone wild with the plant purchases this year!)

I will definitely keep it mind once I see how other things fare this year. Thanks!

Donna said...

Lovely lush and green...bright happy flowers...mine are just starting to bloom..

Sheila Read said...

Donna, I'm loving the lush green ... Still, I treasure early spring when each day brings such change. Enjoy!