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.
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.
|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'|