Archive for GGW Photo Contest

May GBBD: An Embarrassment of Riches

Posted in Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, Gardening Gone Wild Photo Contest, landscape design, native plants, Shade Shrubs with tags , , , , , , on May 15, 2011 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

English primrose, Primula x polyantha ‘Cherry Pinwheels’, from Garden Vision Epimediums, one of my favorite nurseries.

Spring is with us in all its glory, and we have reached the middle of the month when I encourage each of you to walk around your garden and assess what you need to add to make mid-spring an exciting time in your landscape.  Do you need more flowering trees, shrubs, and vines to give you a reason to stroll in your garden?  Could your garden benefit from more flowers that bloom in May?

Late-blooming European wood anemone, Anemone nemorosa ‘Blue Eyes’: can you see its blue eye peeking out?

Make a list and take photographs so that when you are shopping for plants you know what you need and where it should go.  It’s beautiful outside, and you never know what you might find hiding in your garden like the cheerful English primrose (photo at top), which I discovered during my own  inventory.  Come visit Carolyn’s Shade Gardens to find even more inspiring ideas!

Whipporwill flower, Trillium cuneatum

Today is Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day for May when gardeners around the world show photos of what’s blooming in their gardens (follow the link to see  photographs from other garden bloggers assembled by Carol at May Dreams Gardens).  Here are  some more highlights from my mid-May stroll through Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, but to see it all you will have to visit.

Japanese roof iris, Iris tectorum, in my gold garden.

Readers really enjoyed my photos of trees and shrubs on April’s GBBD so I have been photographing every woody plant that has come into bloom since then.  Some have finished blooming now, but most are in bloom.  Let’s start with the trees:

Saucer magnolia, Magnolia x soulanginana: this magnolia was done blooming in the beginning of May, but magnolias are my favorite tree so I had to include it!

Flower of saucer magnolia

Ornamental crabapple, Malus species: this is my only ornamental crabapple and was here when we moved in so I am not sure of the variety.

Flower of the ornamental crabapple (also done now)

Kwanzan cherry, Prunus serrulata ‘Kwanzan’: also here when we moved in.

Flower of Kwanzan cherry (done flowering)

Native Carolina silverbell, Halesia caroliniana ‘Rosea’: a beautiful small flowering tree with amazing orange-streaked bark.

Native flowering dogwood, Cornus florida ‘Cherokee Brave’

Flower of ‘Cherokee Brave’ flowering dogwood

Native cucumber magnolia, Magnolia acuminata ‘Yellow Bird’

Flower of ‘Yellow Bird’ cucumber magnolia

Native green hawthorn, Crataegus viridis ‘Winter King’: I thought it would be fun to see what this tree looks like from inside our house.

Flower of ‘Winter King’ hawthorn: it also has beautiful red berries.

Native pagoda dogwood, Cornus alternifolia ‘Golden Shadows’, with native vine Carolina jessamine, Gelsemium sempervirens ‘Margarita’, and native (to the U.S.) camassia, Camassia leichtlinii ‘Caerulea’.

Wilson’s magnolia, Magnolia wilsonii: a real favorite because it grows and flowers in the shade.  I can’t show you the whole tree because a London plane tree branch fell on it and destroyed its shape.

Oyama magnolia, Magnolia sieboldii, has flowers similar to M. wilsonii but does not tolerate as much shade and blooms later.  Both trees should be planted so that you can view the flowers from below.

I love the buds of both these magnolias: they look like eggs hanging on the tree.

Are you ready for a few shrubs?

This is the biggest doublefile viburnum, Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum, I have ever seen, and it started as a 3″ sprig.

Flower of doublefile viburnum

Dwarf Korean lilac, Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’, with ‘Winter King’ hawthorn in the background.

Flower of ‘Palibin’ dwarf Korean lilac

Old-fashioned weigelas, Weigela florida ‘My Monet’ and ‘Variegata’, with Hosta ‘Stained Glass’

Flower of old-fashioned weigela ‘Variegata’

Tree peonies, Paeonia suffruticosa, take more shade than herbaceous peonies.  These plants did not come with names other than the color.

How about some vines?

My husband’s dedication to training this Chinese wisteria, Wisteria sinensis, across our front porch has really paid off.  I have  a native wisteria too, but it isn’t in bloom yet.

We grow the Chinese wisteria entwined with native honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens ‘Blanch Sandman’, and they both reach the second story.  This photo is for Tina at In the Garden who also has this combination.

The view out our dining room window of the pink anemone clematis, Clematis montana var.  rubens, growing on the deck railing.  This is a very vigorous and long-blooming clematis that does well in part shade.

The flowers of pink anemone clematis start out pale pink (above) and deepen in color as they age.

A few scenes of the flower beds in mid-May:

The garden surrounding our deck with Spanish bluebells, Scilla campanulata ‘Excelsior’, variegated Solomon’s seal, Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’, and white old-fashioned bleeding-heart, Dicentra spectabilis ‘Alba’, in bloom.

The view from upstairs of our main perennial border by the front door.

The woodland garden in mid-May with native hybrid sweetshrub, Calycanthus raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’ in bloom in the upper left.

This post is dedicated to my husband, Michael, who plants most of the plants and does all the dirty jobs at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

Please let me know in a comment/reply what flowers are blooming in your spring garden.  If you participated in GBBD, please provide a link so my nursery customers can read your post.


Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information.  If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.), just click here.

Nursery Happenings: We expect to have our traditional open hours over Memorial Day Weekend, but remember you can make an appointment to shop 24/7 by sending me an email at  Saturday was one of my best open houses ever (thanks to everyone who came), but there is  still a great selection of hostas, ferns, and hardy geraniums.

%d bloggers like this: