Gardening where the sidewalk ends

GBBD – May 15, 2009 May 14, 2009

Filed under: flora — greenwalks @ 8:06 pm
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I confess, I took these on May 13-14, since I knew I wouldn’t have time on the 15th (preparing to have a bunch of Kindergartners over for my daughter’s birthday party on Saturday, shouldn’t even be doing this right now, should be frosting cupcakes and picking up piles of toys and other messes, bad bad mommy etc etc). But I swear, all are still flowering today!

So, here’s a pictorial tour of what’s out there at the moment. As I looked around, I realized that most of what’s blooming right now is very small in terms of actual flower size, and I was glad to have the excuse to stop and look a little more closely at them all. This is not by design, just haphazard planting, my usual style.

Beginning in the parking strip garden, I have held off ripping out bolting veggies and salad greens, instead just enjoying their flowers and letting the bees have a little something to snack on. This weekend, it will all go in the worm bin and I’ll plant (belatedly) the rest of my small veggie patch there.

Bolting arugula (flowers are edible, a little peppery and a nice addition to salads):

Arugula blossoms

Spanish lavender, the first variety to bloom here, a volunteer that wandered across the sidewalk from the neighbor’s clump:

Spanish lavender

I thought this was Salad Burnet until Molly at Life on Tiger Mountain steered me in the right direction – its anise-y taste should have clued me in that it’s actually chervil. I’m letting it go to seed and hoping to see it return, as the taste is heavenly.

Bolted chervil flowering

I waited too long to harvest the Russian kale I planted last fall, and it went from baby leaves to huge tough inedible ones in a heartbeat. Oh well, I love the tall spikes of lemon-yellow flowers.

Kale flowers

My camera couldn’t quite capture the color of this English thyme, the first one to bloom and covered in a profusion of tiny pink blossoms.

Thyme in bloom

Culinary sage, next door to the thmye, is just about there too. I love how its closed flowers are green, then pink, then the flowers open purple:

Culinary sage about to flower

Moving away from the veggie patch to the wild rest of the strip, many of the self-sowers I rely upon to garden cheaply in this area have returned happily despite the awful winter. California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) have begun to bloom, along with Cerinthe major purpurascens (aka Honeywort or Blue Shrimp plant) and a few early calendulas.

First California poppies

Volunteer cerinthe

First calendula

Invasive weeds I mean violets are still hanging in there, a few anyway, plus my favorite friendly faces, pansy ‘Ultima Morpho.’

Violets still in bloom

Friendly faces of 'Ultima Morpho' pansies

The strawberries, including Alpine, Tri-Star everbearing and Pink Panda ornamental, all are flowering nicely at the moment, but I won’t bore you with pictures, you know what they look like.

Bulb season is pretty much over, since I don’t really have much in the way of late-spring/early-summer bulbs (c’mon allium, bloom this year, please, please??). A few stragglers in the way of tulips remain.

Fleshy pink tulips

Striped flame tulips

Moving up to house level, one last set of tulips, in various stages of decay. I think these are ‘Palestrina,’ unless they’re ‘Angelique.” Both are pale pink, and I know I’ve planted both in relatively the same area. Hm.

Palestrina tulips on the wane

I pruned the red twig dogwood back a bit this winter, and now I realize I should have pollarded it to make the twigs show up better, since only the new growth is red. Maybe next year!

Red twig dogwood in bloom

There’s a big dogwood of unknown variety behind my daughter’s room. Its bright white flowers show up later in the spring, but right now it’s getting ready. I’d never noticed its early-stage blooms before, they’re well-camoflaged in the leaves.

Dogwood fruit & flower in early stage

Plain spiky orange poppies are everywhere in this garden, I usually just leave them unless they’re not in the way. Here they are against the leafed-out dwarf Japanese maple, with some scilla in there too (also everywhere but easy enough to pull out where it’s not wanted.)

Poppies and scilla against Japanese maple

More scilla. I always laugh when I see these for sale in nurseries! Please, come to my house and dig up some bulbs, don’t pay good money – it’s the weed of the bulb family for sure!

Scilla forest

Another blue “weed” – I keep hoping for more Forget-me-nots to stray across from the neighbor’s yard. I guess I’ll just have to plant some one of these days.


The neighbors on the other side have a purple lilac, and we have a white one. I like when they bloom together and have a conversation over the fence.

Purple & white lilacs conversing over the fence

Almost done here, thanks for reading this far if you are still with me! This iris was here when we arrived, but had never bloomed before. I hacked the butterfly bush way back this winter and maybe that gave it enough sun to finally flower. No idea what it’s called, but my great-aunts were big iris fanciers so seeing these always makes me think of those great ladies.

Yellow iris, finally blooming

This poor bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis) is marooned back in a hidden corner next to the compost bins. I need to move it. Any idea when is the best time?

Dicentra spectabilis (bleeding heart)

OK, last one! The blueberries I ordered and planted this winter are still blooming, but when I looked yesterday, the blossoms are starting to fall off and the little fruits are beginning to form. I don’t even really like blueberries all that much but this was probably the most exciting thing I found in the garden this week. I need to figure out how to protect them from the hungry birds and other critters.

Blueberry blossoms becoming blueberries!

To see what else is flowering madly during these heady days of mid-May, visit Carol of May Dreams Gardens, monthly host of Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. This is, after all, her favorite month!


23 Responses to “GBBD – May 15, 2009”

  1. The flowers from your bolting veggies are wonderful — as pretty as if you’d planned it!

  2. Jane Says:

    I love all those flowers, especially the little humble ones like forget-me-nots and violets. What great soil you must have to engender such a collection of blossoms.

  3. Kanak Says:

    Karen, LOVED the photos! Most of us keep posting pics of blooms from flower beds but your veggie patch is a delight! What a pretty mix of blooms and colour! And for your other flowers, I’ll say ‘Aaaah…!!’

  4. jo Says:

    Hello there,
    That is what GBBD does so well: it makes you go out and take a good look at your own garden and appreciate the smaller flowers too.
    I wouldn’t mind some of that Lavender wandering over to me as well 🙂 A very striking plant.
    Good luck with the party today.

  5. Matron Says:

    That is a feast for the bees, for sure! I am relaxing my ‘veggies only’ principle this year to attract bees to my veggie garden. Interesting to see your kale in flower, bees just love any of those yellow brassica family.

  6. Erin Says:

    I’ve never seen culinary sage bloom before. How lovely! And the yellow kale flowers are great. I’d say it’s worth growing just for that! Happy GBBD!

  7. Cathy Says:

    Beautiful Flowers, you have so many unique flowers.

  8. Jen Says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen arugula or kale flowers for that matter. Everything looks fabulous, Karen.

  9. Robin Says:

    Your dogwood looks like the ‘Kousa’ dogwood that I planted here two years ago. My sparse blooms look exactly like that now. They also bloom later than other dogwoods.

  10. Catherine Says:

    It looks great there Karen. The yellow iris is very pretty. I’m wondering how long it’ll be til my iris’ bloom. I never knew it took awhile to bloom the first time. Don’t you just love the lilacs blooming, glad yours has a friend to visit with.

  11. RainGardener Says:

    Karen, everything looks wonderful up your way. Your pale pink tulip is so very delicate looking and I loved the lilacs visiting across the fence. You have a ton of flowers blooming. Nothing much up here yet but it’s already looking beautiful this morning so hopefully . . .

  12. Megan Says:

    Arugula flowers sound delicious, I’d let them go to flower, too. I have the tulip angelique, and it looks a lot like your pale pink flowers, for what it’s worth. Do they sell scilla in nurseries sometimes? Geez, they’re behind my more invasive bulbs as a priority, but I’ve been trying to get rid of those forever, and there seem to be more every year.
    I think you can just grab some of your neighbors’ forget-me-nots when they start to go to seed and shake them around your yard, and you’ll have them forever after that. I was just helping my mom pull weeds yesterday, and we were commenting on the forget-me-nots she got from her neighbor 20 years ago, that are still popping up here and there.
    I want blueberries, because they’re delicious added to oatmeal with vanilla, cinnamon, honey (agave nectar if you want to make it delicious/vegan), slivered almonds, and an optional spoon of peanut butter. There’s my blueberry recipe for today.

  13. Racquel Says:

    Who knew bolting veggies could produce such abundant & pretty blooms! Spanish Lavender is one of my favorites, it doesn’t seem to like our wet winters even though it is suppose to be hardy here. Yours looks great! 🙂 Happy Bloom Day Karen!

  14. Karen your ‘bolting’ flower collection is suburb! I planted my arugula late, but hopefully I’ll be able to test the flower for taste. I bet those lilacs smell fabulous, thanks for the tour!

  15. I love the Japanese Maple picture! Beautiful. The purple shrimp plant is pretty cool, too!

  16. Nancy Says:


  17. GardenJunkie Says:

    I love the bolting veggies – prettier than some of the “real” flowers in my garden! Isn’t it wonderful how we discover such beauty by accident? The tulip – I’m not sure that it’s Angelique. That’s one of my favorites and I’ve grown it for many years – it tends to have more petals, more like a peony. As for transplanting bleeding hearts – I’ve done it successfully during the spring a couple of times just as it’s flowering but I’m not sure that’s the best time to do it.

  18. Pam Kersting Says:

    They are all beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Ginger Says:

    Beautiful! I especially love the orane poppies against the Japanese Maple.

  20. naturegirl Says:

    You certainly satisfied my hunger for beautiful flowers and edible plants with this wonderful series of what’s growing in your May garden! Wow!! Beautiful!!

  21. Georgia Says:

    You have a calendar here!

    As a Cali resident, I heart the poppy but the Spanish lavender pic is really sweet.

  22. Linda Says:

    Love all your blooms – the close ups are great. And you were quite right to go out and take photos and leave the domestic chaos behind – it will always be there but the flowers won’t!
    I laughed when I read your wish for more forget-me-nots. It’s the weed of our allotment plot and I’m forever digging it out.

  23. Cami Peloza Says:

    Wow, I loved looking through all of those. What beauties! And I especially appreciated your introduction. I am right there with you. When my son was first born I looked for every window of opportunity to get out in the garden. On the weekends, my husband would be out mowing the law, washing the cars, ect and I finally told him that if he didn’t let me get outside I was going to go crazy! Happily, this year our son seems to be quite content to just sit and play in the middle of the lawn while I garden. Hooray! I wonder how long that will last?

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