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Advancing the Season: GBBD, May 2022

May 17, 2022

wildflower carpetsMaine’s spring has been long and cool this year, a slow unfolding more characteristic of regions to our south. But the arrival of unseasonably warm weather last week noticeably advanced the season as plants put on a spurt of growth and burst into bloom.

This is the time of year to enjoy colorful carpets of wildflowers, like these bluets (Houstonia caerulea) and moss phlox (Phlox subulata), growing at the foot of the front slope.

bluets 2022 moss phlox carpet

Wild strawberries (Fragaria virginiana), which grow abundantly in my sandy soil, are now in flower, promising lots of delicious tiny fruits in late June. I have transplanted these into some of my flower beds as native groundcover plants. But, even if I don’t plant them, they show up on their own. I did not plant these at the corner of the patio, but I’m happy for their weed-suppressing presence there.

strawberry flowers 2022 strawberry groundcover patio

Violets are another native wildflower that I welcome into the garden. Most common on my property are sweet white violets (Viola blanda), but here and there, common blue violets (Viola sororia) have also been popping up.

Viola blanda 2022 viola sororia 2022

At the front of the new woodland border, flowers of wild strawberries and violets mingle with the flowers of other native plants, including columbines (Aquilegia canadensis) and Geranium maculatum.

woodland columbine Geranium maculatum album woodland geranium maculatum

solomons seal 2022Not all the spring flowers blooming in my garden are natives. The serenity garden is currently featuring flowers of variegated solomon’s seal (Polygonatum odoratum variegatum), bleeding hearts (Lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Gold Heart’) and Epimedium.

goldheart bleeding heart epimedium 2022

The woody plants blooming in mid-May include both natives and exotics and both purchased plants and volunteers. The volunteer pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica) that I first noticed growing outside my study window half a dozen years ago now holds its spring flowers well above my head. Another member of the Prunus genus, beach plum (P. maritima) is blooming profusely for the first time since I planted it in the new front border in 2019.

pin cherry 2022 beach plum 2022
fothergilla 2022 pinkshell azalea flowers

lilacs 2022In a nearby planting of shrubs, old fashioned lilacs (Syringa vulgaris),  two varieties of Fothergilla, and pinkshell azalea (Rhododendron vaseyi) are all adding their lovely blooms to the spring scene.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month (although some of us are chronically late to the party!) by Carol Michel at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her web site for links to May blooms from many gardens.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. permalink
    May 17, 2022 10:49 pm

    Loved all the photos!

    Janet M. Powers

    “I object to violence because when it appears to do good,

    the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.”

  2. May 18, 2022 2:40 am

    Is that lilac a French hybrid, or a white common lilac?! The only common lilac that I know of blooms with lavender flowers. I have never seen a white common lilac. The while lilac here is a French hybrid. It blooms very nicely, but is not quite the same as the common sort.

    • May 21, 2022 11:50 am

      Tony, The blossom in this photo actually has a very faint lavender tinge, but the camera didn’t pick it up. The flowers on some other shoots are darker. I think this is just part of the natural genetic variation of the species Syringa vulgaris.

      • May 22, 2022 1:53 pm

        So it actually grew from seed?! I have never seen it do that before. Lilacs are uncommon and underappreciated here. For a long time, people believed that they would not bloom will with minimal chill, but we get enough chill locally.

  3. Anonymous permalink
    May 18, 2022 2:44 pm

    Just love Spring. Exciting to see what made it through yet another winter. Enjoy!!

    • May 21, 2022 11:51 am

      I agree! It’s such a joy to see plants emerging, growing, and opening their first flowers at this time of year.

  4. May 18, 2022 3:00 pm

    Lovely blooms, Jean. I especially like the groundcovers with their ample but tiny blooms. I’ve recently had wild strawberries popping up all over my garden too, although ours is the west coast version (Fragaria californica).

    • May 21, 2022 11:56 am

      Kris, I have learned to welcome the strawberries as a great (and free!) groundcover plant. Because they send out runners and only put down (shallow) roots where they find open ground, they don’t seem to compete with my perennials for resources.

  5. May 19, 2022 5:44 pm

    All your intense hard work is now looking delightful!

    • May 21, 2022 11:58 am

      Diana, Except for the frustration of plants getting eaten by the resident woodchuck (large member of the rodent family, also called a groundhog), I am very much enjoying the spring speed-up with new flowers blooming each day.

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