Welcome to my zone 9 garden. My roots are deeply planted in the sandy soil of sub-tropical central Florida, where the summers are long and hot, but the rest of the year is paradise!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May at a Glance

Oranges & Lemons Gaillardia
~~~ Notes from the May Garden ~~~

Wow, it seems like May has just whizzed by in such a gosh darn hurry to get on to summer. And, speaking of summer...isn't this Orange & Lemons gaillardia just the epitome of a summer flower? She's like a ray of sunshine beaming up at me everytime I pass her in the garden. She makes me smile!

This May has definitely been the driest month of the year so far. While three separate storms brought hope and a bit of windy weather with them...in the end, they only managed to sprinkle the garden with a bit more than an inch of rain. That was a big disappointment!

But May did bring a pleasant and unexpected surprise...a "real" cool front that actually lasted for 3 whole days. A reminder of those pleasantly cool spring mornings followed by humidless afternoons in the 80's. That was a total joy!

Even though we didn't have too many April showers, we did have plenty of May flowers. A lot of  plants are blooming, but I'd have to say the daylilies are at the head of the class. 
 These daylilies act as border plants for the island bed when they're not in bloom. The island bed has changed quite a bit in the last year, so I'll do an update on it soon.

Last year the red/yellow variety bloomed along with the solid yellows, but this year the red/yellow variety went first, followed by the solid yellows. Hhmm, I wonder why that would be?


Finally, two finicky hydrangeas have decided on a location in the garden. Both of these plants have been relocated a couple of times in search of the right spot, and THANKFULLY they've finally found it! 
Now they're deciding if they're going to bloom blue or pink!
I'm envious of those gardeners who can grow them in full sun with very little water. My two "princesses" want very little to do with the sun, and they demand that I provide cool splashes of water on them regularly.
And, to make matters wors,e I've got an Oakleaf hydrangea that I've had to move once...he finally found a spot he likes, only to be somehow broken off near the base of the plant...and now, finally is about 2 feet tall again. I think he's gonna stay, too. I have to admit...quietly though...they are quite pretty and have attractive foliage.

More Flowers in the May garden....
Texas sage, Fruit cocktail shrimp plant & Agapanthus

Unknown cold-hardy butterfly plant (if anyone can I.D. it that would be great), Russian sage & Simpson Stopper

Coneflower, Yarrow, Sweet almond (heavenly fragrance) & Mealy cup sage in a pale shade of blue.

Two nice-sized patches...one pink, one white...of Gaura a/k/a whirling butterfly. The pink looks so pretty against the gray fronds of the Bismarck palm.
And some fruit and veggies, too...
Blackberries (Navaho & Apache - both thornless varieties), Fennel producing seeds, Sungold tomatoes (excellent producer/wonderful taste), Currant tomatoes (terrifically sweet taste) & Red mulberries (a yummy memory from my childhood)

And, some orchids, too...

May's Simple Pleasures...
Enjoying a bowlful of warm blueberry crisp on Memorial Day in complete gratitude to the men and women who so bravely serve(d) our country to protect the freedom that we enjoy today. Thank you!

Queen butterfly on Milkweed

And, in closing, I have to say that even though the afternoons are quite warm...the humidity has been low (for this time of the year)...and it was a very pleasant month right up through to the end.

That doesn't always happen, so I'm VERY thankful that May is gently easing us into summer!


NellJean said...

Oh, my. The end of May holds such joys. You have so many pretties!

I think the difference in bloom times and habit had to do with the unusually cold January we had. My daylilies had a different succession this year, too.

Some of the hydrangeas had the entire old wood die out so there are no blossoms on some of the younger plants. The tougher, older ones of the same cultivar are blooming as usual.

daisy said...

Wow! What an array of beautiful blooms! I've never seen a gallardia that color! Those daylillies are divine! I'll have to think about growing some of those as a background border plant. So glad that you have all these scrumptious things around you!

FlowerLady said...

Susan~ You have such wonderful blooming beauties. It is always a treat to see what is growing in other FL gardens. I am inspired and encouraged to keep going.

Hugs ~ FlowerLady

NanaK said...

You certainly had it all going on in your garden this May! Beautiful flowers, especially the daylilies and hydrangeas, and fruits and veggies too. That fruit crisp looks scrumptious.

Thanks for reminding me to be thankful for the rain we DID get this month and for that actual cool spell. I get grumpy in the heat and forget to be grateful.

The summer solstice may not officially be here yet, but in Florida I do believe it is summertime.

Susan said...

Hi NellJean...You could be right on the daylilies. I guess plants can even be off sometimes. :-)

Fortunately, hydrangeas don't seem to be bothered by the cold weather here. I'm going to try my luck with another one. I'm a glutton for punishment...but they are really pretty plants.

Daisy...I just discovered that gallardia in a local nursery...it might be a new variety. These old-timey daylilies are super performers. I'd be happy to share some seeds with you if you'd like some.

Flowerlady...So glad to be able to post comments on your blog again. May is such a great time for blooms.

NanaK...It's definitely easy to get grumpy in the heat, but hopefully the summer rainshowers will start up soon...that at least makes it more tolerable.

sherryocala said...

Susan, your yellow daylilies are so bright and cheerful, and they do make a great border plant when not blooming. That little bit of a thought will help me in planting mine in the front garden. Your beauties are too numerous to mention them all, but I do love your hydrangeas. Hopefully, they'll get settled in and be happy. Maybe they want to be lavender. And the blue of your agapanthas is just extraordinary. I don't have much experience with them, but I really didn't know they came in such a lovely deep blue. And yes, May was definitely a good month - even though it's ending dry as a bone.

Susan said...

Hi Sherry...You won't believe this but I bought a new hydrangea today. A variegated one. I have the perfect spot (I hope it agrees with me) for it. I have seen lighter and medium blue agapanthus. I've also got a small sized flower in a deep blue. Very pretty, too.

Ami said...

Susan: Love that Oranges & Lemons Gaillardia, so pretty! I am always amazed that you can grow hydrangeas. I always thought these are for zone 8 or lower areas only. Your daylilies border is beautiful. It is such a pretty scene with them all blooming in large clumps. I have been handwatering almost everyday for a longest time, hope we can get some generous rain soon.

Meems said...

Yes, May is always a great month in the garden. You have really got it going on there with so many blooms and color variations! So pretty and cheery.

My neighbor grows hydrangea in part shade and they are happy (and beautiful)as can be. I just bought one plant and I'm trying to root a cutting from hers as well. It would be nice to grow them. I DO love my oakleaf hydrangeas ... they are foolproof.

I've even appreciated the low-er humidity this week even though it has been in the 90's. It has felt like summer for a while now. I hope that isn't a sign of July/August to come. :-)

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