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Celebration of Spring: GBBD, May 2021

May 16, 2021

fading daffodilsIn mid-May, Spring has truly arrived in my Maine garden. With warming temperatures, the daffodils of late April and early May are fading and being supplanted by a whole host of spring blooms.

The native wildflowers that I have welcomed into my garden come into their own at this time of year. The slope by the driveway is now covered with flowers of sweet white violets (Viola blanda), which act as a groundcover in this part of the garden. viola blanda 2021
Fragaria groundcover At the top of the slope, another native groundcover, wild strawberries (Fragaria virginiana), forms a weed-suppressing mat around the foliage of peonies and daylilies.
Here and there, common blue violets (Viola sororia) are tucked in among the perennials. viola sororia 2021

bluets 2021Another carpet-forming native plant, Houstonia caerulea (bluets), is blooming profusely this year. On the front slope, they are joined by colorful carpets of moss phlox (Phlox subulata) in two shades of pink.

Moss phlox1 2021 moss phlox2 2021
pin cherry blossoms 2021 beach plum flowers

Trees and shrubs are also flowering. My volunteer pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica) has grown quite tall, making its blossoms harder to see from the ground. By contrast, those of the beach plum (Prunus maritima) in the new front border are blooming much closer to the ground. Lilacs (Syringa vulgaris) are also blooming at eye level.

lilacs 2021

In the shrub planting at the front corner of my property, Fothergilla gardenii is in bloom, and there are buds on the native pinkshell azalea (Rhododendron vaseyi).

fothergilla flowers 2021 pinkshell azalea buds

My morning walks through the garden have become a delightful experience of discovery as new buds appear and new flowers open every day. I am celebrating Spring and a new garden season.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted each month by Carol J. Michel at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her web site to find links to the May blooms of other gardeners.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 16, 2021 10:24 pm

    Ah, I did not consider that beach plum grew there. Are they confined to coastal areas, or do the venture significantly inland? Mine came from Long Island in New York (I think). I know it is a silly species to add to the garden intentionally, but I am unfamiliar with it. I would like to experience the fruit eventually, even if it produces only once in a few years. I am not expecting it to be any more impressive than the many other plums that I can grow here, but could be impressed anyway. There are so many species that are endemic to North America! Of course, in the Santa Clara Valley, we used to be very familiar with cultivars of prunes and sweet cherries, as well as the other stone fruites that grew in the formerly vast orchards. American plum is naturalized here because it was used as understock for some trees.

    • May 18, 2021 7:57 pm

      Hi Tony, Beach plum is native to Maine’s coastal areas. Although I am about 25 miles inland, my soil is primarily glacial sand, so this species should do well here.

  2. May 17, 2021 2:31 pm

    I’m a little in love with those bluets but, as the genus isn’t even listed in my western garden guide, I expect they don’t grow in my climate.

    • May 18, 2021 8:01 pm

      Kris, I looked them up in the USDA database, and this is definitely an east-of-the-Mississippi species. Houstonia caerulea is native to a broad swath of the east, from Quebec and Ontario south to Alabama and Mississippi.

  3. May 19, 2021 4:59 pm

    I look forward to seeing your azalea when it opens

    • June 1, 2021 11:57 am

      Diana, The morning after I took these photos, I went out to the garden and discovered that hungry deer had been busy browsing the azalea. Fortunately, they missed one blossom, which was lower down on the plant and escaped their notice.

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