May Flowers Can't be Stopped!

Primula sieboldii
Happy Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - the day that blogger extraordinaire Carol Michel invites bloggers from around the world to share what's happening in their gardens.
So what's up in my garden this mid-May day? The bad news is that the mosquitoes are back.
But the good news is that, this time of year, plants are popping into growth spurts on an almost hourly basis.

Primula sieboldii is one of the easiest primroses to grow. If given plenty of moisture (mine are in a low spot), they will take quite a bit of sun.

Rhododendron 'Ken Janek'

Rhododendron 'Ken Janek' is one of my favorites, with nearly spotless foliage and consistent blooms in mid-May. I love how they pop open slowly, one bloom at a time until they resemble a frilly party dress. 

When we first planted it many years ago, it was beneath a sizeable pin oak tree. When the tree fell down, it eventually came to thrive in its new, sunnier situation. It's backed up by Rhododendron fortunei, a Chinese species that has nearly reached its stated size of 10 feet tall. Last year, the three Rhodos in this grouping all bloomed at the same time, but the R. fortunei isn't even trying to bloom yet. Oh well, it's not a bad thing to stretch out the bloom sequence.

'Princess Chiffon' is the earliest tree peony to bloom in my garden.

I'd just been thinking how nice it was that the tulips were carrying on for awhile until the early tree peony opened up when I noticed it had.
From yesterday's tightly furled bud with a hint of pink at its tip to a full-blown show of compressed petals in a 24-hour period is what a May garden is about.

Both lilacs--'President Lincoln' and 'Beauty of Moscow'--are gifting our noses with the epitome of May fragrance, but Viburnum 'Aurora' is no slouch in the scent department. We moved it to its current location last fall, but it's still managed to throw out a few blossoms.
Viburnum carlesii 'Aurora'
If you have a spot with great drainage and lots of sun, I hope you're considering Dianthus. While some of the newer hybrids are not known for their fragrance, 'Red Beauty' won't disappoint. It's a sport of 'Firewitch' but more heat tolerant.
Lilac 'President Lincoln'

Dianthus 'Red Beauty'
Promising bud of peony 'Roselette'

As for the mosquitoes, the people at ThermaCELL sent me a portable mosquito repellent appliance last year and it really works! I used the appliance that covers a 15 by 15 foot square area, which was perfect for use when relaxing on the patio. I liked that there was no strong chemical scent that I would have to wash off when I got inside. These appliances are available at lots of chain retailers for under $30, well worth the price for enjoying the outdoors without those buzzing, biting little blighters.


  1. Ooh, a tree peony? I didn't realize they came in tree form! What a gorgeous flower! I'll have to check out the mosquito gadget-they luuuuurve me. :( A product that we use and like is Cactus Juice. You still have to apply it, but it smells orangey, not pesticide-y, it works pretty well, and it has SPF.

  2. Beautiful blooms! I have to say, the mosquitos are bad here in Portland this year...I've been getting eaten alive!