“Sweet April showers do spring May flowers,” wrote Thomas Tusser in 1557.
“When April steps aside for May, like diamonds all the rain-drops glisten; Fresh violets open every day: To some new bird each hour we listen,” penned Lucy Larcom.
If the earth does indeed laugh in flowers, as Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, it surely must be May that binds poetry and botany forever together.
“May and June. Soft syllables, gentle names for the two best months in the garden year…”~ Peter Loewer
“The May-pole is up, now give me the cup; I’ll drink to the garlands around it; But first unto those whose hands did compose the glory of flowers that crown’d it.” ~ Robert Herrick, The Maypole
Come take a tour of the melodious garden, located in zone 8a, southern Denton County, Texas, and see what is blooming this first day of May, 2018.
“Horticulturally, the month of May is opening night, homecoming and graduation day all rolled into one.” ~ Tam Mossman
This deep purple clematis is always a show-stopper. And a reminder that I simply must plant more! While many vines are aggressive overachievers (I am talking to you, trumpet vine!), most varieties of clematis are well-behaved and grow lightly over rose branches or trellis.
“Now every field is clothed with grass, and every tree with leaves; now the woods put forth their blossoms, and the year assumes its gay attire.” ~ Virgil
Wine Cups (Callirhoe involucrata) are a native wildflower that rivals the best patch of bluebonnets, in my honest opinion. It grows from a rhizome, with foliage branching out along the ground. The hot magenta flowers (shaped like… wine cups!) attract bees and butterflies. It is extremely drought tolerant and slowly reseeds in the garden. I thin out the older rhizomes when the Wine Cups have finished blooming, then I thin out a few more so I can share this beautiful flower with fellow gardeners.
“Sweet spring, full of sweet days and roses…” George Herbert
Green Ice, a unique miniature rose, is one of the few roses in my garden that survived the plague that is Rose Rosette Virus. I am not sure why or how not one, but two! Green Ice roses survived when the other roses in the area were infected. Miniature roses are not known to be exceptionally hardy, after all. But here they are. Beautiful. The white blooms will take on a greenish cast over the next few weeks, hence its name. Green. Ice.
“The world’s favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May.” Edwin Way Teale
The photo above shows the mini rose Green Ice with Wine Cups scrambling through its branches. Wine Cups do not smother out other plants, in my experience.
“Never yet was a springtime, when the buds forgot to bloom.” ~ Margaret Elizabeth Sangster
Ah. One lone poppy. I have no idea why, but after years of not growing in my garden, I had one lone poppy pop up this year. It is a stunner, isn’t it?
“A little madness in the spring is wholesome even for the king.” ~ Emily Dickinson
I love plants that reseed here and there. Above is Penstemon tenuis, the perfect reseeding perennial. Tough as nails, not aggressive, lovely shade of lavender. What more could one ask for? Well, it also makes a great cut flower. I do not dead-head this plant when it is done flowering. Rather, I let the seed pods dry completely on the plant, then I cut them way back and cast the seed heads here and there, wherever I would like to see it spread. On-site composting and super easy seed sowing all in one.
“O the month of May, the merry month of May, so frolic, so gay, and so green, so green, so green!” ~ Thomas Dekker
I love the greenness that hostas add to the garden. While flowers are lovely, sometimes green – different shades of green, different textures of green – are a welcome relief to the riot of color that is spring. The above hosta, Curly Fries, has been a great container plant in my garden, nestled back into my one shady spot.
“I think that no matter how old or infirm I may become, I will always plant a large garden in the spring. Who can resist the feelings of hope and joy that one gets from participating in nature’s rebirth?” ~ Edward Giobbi
And who can resist a shot of bright red on the first day of May? Hippeastrum (amaryllis) is a great addition to any southern garden. It is often dug up, divided and passed along to others after it is done blooming.
“Sweet May hath come to love us, flowers, trees, their blossoms don’ and through the blue heavens above us the very clouds move on.” ~ Heinrich Heine, Book of Songs
While there is no such thing as a blue rose, Veilchenblau may come closest of all. This is another RRV survivor in my garden. A rambling old rose, its blooms start out crimson colored, then fade out to the above colored grayish mauve. While it only blooms in the spring, it is worth the garden space!
“Among the changing months, May stands confest the sweetest, and in fairest colors dressed.” ~ James Thomson, On May
As I was contemplating my RRV devastated garden a few years back and wondering how I would ever be able to garden again, something hit me. Orange. Bright orange! Gone are the soft pinks of my dear antique roses. I am now playing more with colors and adding in splashes of oranges, yellows and reds. Above, Munro’s Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea munroana) blooms happily alongside Wine Cups.
“Be like a flower and turn your face to the sun.” Kahlil Gibran
I couldn’t resist. She was blooming in my garden today and I just could not overlook her. The dandelion. The lowly dandelion. Why it has that reputation, I do not know. Please, please leave dandelions in your garden. They are an important source of nectar for honeybees!