Welcome May! Welcome Friends!
What a curious opening to Spring we have had here in the Midwest. With temperatures often way above normal, we suddenly are down in the low 4os this morning. The flooding has washed out lots of beds at our lake home and there is so much cleanup to do.
Fortunately I have been taking photos all along the way, so I gathered many while the blooms were still on the trees. You will see lots of close ups this tour because the beds were ridden with blossoms fallen from the trees or they may have been beds we have not yet gotten to weed. Much like when I take photos inside the house, if you saw the full room it would not inspire anything but a call to an organization company….just being real.
Thank you for joining me and be sure to check out the links after this post to visit some of my friends who also put out a Home & Garden Tour with me. My tour will be of the Garden only, some may be of both Home & Garden, and those in the colder climates may be only Home. Whatever their choice, I am quite confident that you will enjoy the tours.
Garden Tour Inspiration
This year we had lost several of the landscape shrubs and needed to bring in some new life. In my post on Color Combining, I mentioned that I wanted to have pink and yellow as my primary colors in my front yard garden this year.
I spotted this gorgeous Hot Pink Wonder Ice Plant with the bright yellow centers and knew this was a keeper. They are mounding plants and will work beautifully in the river rock portion of my landscape.
What do you think of them? The color is just spectacular and the lush, plump leaves bring such a full texture to the bed.
We raked out the leaves and old mulch and picked out every stone and washed them and then put in fresh brown mulch and set the river stones on top again. These new mounds of Ice Plant look very comfortable after about two weeks in their new home.
Yellow has been more difficult to bring into the garden than pink. We decided to start with some Yellow Snap Dragons for the front porch and where another bush died we planted a Yellow Euonomous. So that is bringing a bit of yellow in the midst of the new Pink Azaleas.
I adore Hostas. They come back faithfully year after year and in a matter of a week go from barely bursting through the earth to these full blown bushes of beauty. We have resident deer and this is one of their favorite delights, so we do have to spray regularly to keep from walking out one morning and seeing stubs in the ground.
Room With a View
This is one of my favorite garden spots in the front. The window is in my laundry room, so when I am loading and unloading, folding and ironing, I have this most lovely site to lay my eyes on. Not to mention that the real birds come for drinks and baths frequently. So let’s take a closer look at what we have growing here.
We added the Butterfly Bush new this year, two of them directly beneath the window. I can’t recall how big they will get but I will keep them trimmed down to window ledge height. I am so looking forward to the butterflies that will light upon them. The tiny deep pink flowers in mass as a cone is such a show-stopper. I love the wispy feel of the stems and the textured leaves.
Flanking the inset of the laundry window, I have two trellis that used to hold the ever popular Mandivilla with bright pink large blooms. They did very well, however, they run at least $40 each and are an annual, so last year we found these Climbing Hydrangeas! I had never heard of such a plant and was thrilled to anticipate the lovely blooms of the hydrangea climbing on my trellis. Last year it did not bloom, but the leaves fill in nicely rather than look viney and it adds a great presence of green in column form flanking the windows.
So the blooms are beginning on the Climbing Hydrangea this year. At the moment they are space and small, but the make up of a Hydrangea bloom on a bush is made up of lots of small blooms. I am eager to see how this fills out. There are so many surprises when we garden.
What a wonderful carpet! I love walking barefoot on these. I am a huge fan of the different varieties of ground cover. When I first started gardening years ago, I dreamt of a flower bed covered in Baltic Ivy. I got it. Then I got rid of it…or should I say I tried. One thing with ground covers are their instinctive desire to spread which is why we love them, it is also the invasive nature that can kill out other plants and as with Ivy they can climb your home and get inside windows, siding and just do damage.
I purchased this Blooming Thyme because I had a plan to put stepping stones from the road to my sidewalk and wanted to grow a ground cover around them. I purposefully left space around the rocks for them. I have tried and tried over the years, however, in the heat of Missouri Summers the rocks end up killing whatever grows around them, so they ended up over here accidentally and I love how they are covering the floor around the bird bath. They will bloom all season.
These are the largest variety of Hostas that I am aware of, Elephant Ears. The leaves are large, heavily textured and thick. This is one variety that the deer do not care for because they are no too tender.
I don’t over do the garden statuaries but I do love them, especially if they look old. This was probably purchased at TJMaxx years ago and it has aged nicely over the years. This is a super tiny spot between my driveway and two sidewalk areas that forms a little triangle. When we first moved here we had a tree planted in it. That quickly proved to be a mistake because it was in the way of vehicles. Since we have often planted a Mandeville here until last year when I kept the profile low and added the angel, the river rocks and assorted small plants. Behind the angel you see one of my Columbines moved over from another space.
Here is one of the other perennials in the small triangular bed. The low growing but very impactful Hot Pink Dianthus. Stunning!
Can’t Get Enough Pink!
Now to the other side of the front porch. You can see a few of the Azaleas in full bloom, the lilac and the dogwood.
What an intricate flower in the Pink Blooming Dogwood. This sets outside of my living room with two floor to ceiling windows and it is also high enough to be seen from the upstairs guest bedroom. What an announcement of Spring!
I think a lot of times our love of gardening or cooking or something comes from a wonderful childhood memory. My grandma Dunham didn’t have much of a flower garden around her home, but she definitely grew Lilacs. When I stayed with her, we would go out and cut a bunch and wrap them in a wet napkin and bring them in and place them in a mason jar. Hers were far more purple in color than this one. I had one similar and it got very stemmy and large and had to come out. We replaced it still because I am so attached to them and this is probably the second or third year for this bush.
What memories stir in you when you garden?
This Rhododendron was also in that bed along with some Boxwood and other smaller bushes. The leaves on this plant are substantial and thick and make it a bush that truly has a presence even when the blooms are gone. But speaking of its bloom! Wow. Look at all of the stamens coming out of what appears to be one blossom but is actually several that peel off of one central bloom. Like pink?
I love driving through Savanna, GA during this time of year because the Azalea is a staple shrub and they are full and large and used for hedges. In Missouri, they struggle a bit. This is one that we transplanted because it really has few leaves now, but I did add an acid granual to the soil as suggested by the nursery, so hopefully they will come in stronger next Spring.
A Cutting Garden
Another dream I have had when it comes to the garden is to have a cutting garden. My problem is that I love seeing the blooms in the garden too much to cut them away. Oh I can steal a couple for a huge lilac bush but when it comes to cone flowers and others that I would enjoy cutting, I have not got a garden large enough to not miss what I would cut. This rose bud is from the Ever Blooming Roses that I have placed between my driveway and my neighbor’s yard. I wanted a hedge but I love blooms. These have done well for the nearly 4 years we have had them here and I really cut them back a couple of times a year to keep them bushy and filled with leaves on the bottoms and they bloom like crazy.
This is commonly known as a Flag, though it must be a miniature one. I have two clusters of these in the back garden and they really need to be thinned out. The deep purple flower is lovely, no fragrance and the bloom is only for a brief time. But the grassy foliage that remains through the season is a really lush look around the patio and pool.
We have a rail around the patio and I have climbing Clematis here. Such a large bloom that comes back year after year. I also had a climbing Jasmine, but it has probably been edged out by other plants. This particular bed has about 3 ground covers fighting over the space and I never planted them there, the birds did. I used to plant herbs and lavender here but it will take a lot of work to get it ready for that again, we shall see how that works out this year.
This bed is next to the pool and the fence and was supposed to be my perennial bed for showcasing some special blooms. The landscape architect insisted that we put in these “dwarf” Lilacs as a backdrop to them. Well, as you can see there are no cone flowers in there. On the other hand, when in bloom as they are now, I can step out on my deck a floor above and quite a ways away and the scent of the lilac wafts in. I think they also provide a great hiding place for the Spring babies being born. We have ducks that return year after year. Did you know they mated for life? Anyway they are somewhere in or near this area and once hatched, the little ones are often taken to the “cement pond” for swim lessons. That is a really difficult issue because once in they can’t get out. We are ordering a duck ramp this year just in case they jump in.
Spring Brings New Life and Surprises
In closing, the wonder of God’s creation. In my floral basket door hanging, I found this nest and eggs. I was wanting to change it out for a pretty pink and yellow wreath I had my eye on at a little boutique, but I was able to save my money because birth is so much more precious than my wreath.
This sits against a leaded glass in my door so I can see the mama sitting on the eggs. She was feeding them and then she kind of disappeared, so I took my camera and held it up aiming down and got a picture of what was going on.
I guess mama can’t sit on them any longer, they are growing by leaps and bounds. Check out the little fuzz halo!
Thank you for joining my on a tour of what was in bloom for May! I would love to hear your thoughts on your garden, the wildlife you enjoy or not and what you thought of my tour.
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Now I invite you to visit my friends as well.