Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – May 2015


Unusually for me I’m a day late with the GBBD post but I had a wonderful surprise on my return from Rome as the Alliums have just started to open their puff-ball flowers and there are a whole array of them dancing above the prostrate rosemary.


Allium cameleon (above) is a new addition this year and I rather like the pink tones of the buds and newly open florets which then go whiter.  Its a very pretty flower.

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Alliums aside May is the month of the Aquilegia in my garden.  I have loved Aquilegias for years and have a growing range of plants.  I prefer the ones with larger flowers to the more, shall we say dumpy, flowers which I think are related to our native Columbine.  I am rather taken with the second and last of the four above, both in their first year of flower so it was a nice surprise to see what the flowers looked like. 2015_05150041However, I have a special soft spot for Aquilegia canadensis (above).  I adore the vibrancy of the flower but it is also one of the first species Aquilegias I grew from seed and was the start of a quiet fascination.

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Orange seems to be making more of an appearance in my garden than at this time in previous years.  Both Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ and Lathyrus aureus were bought last year.  I like the contrast with the purples which seem to be the prevailing colour in the garden at the moment and I think small dots of orange, especially from the geum flowers which have a habit of nodding above other plants on long stems really add some zing to the border.


Talking of purple one of the first plants I sought out on my return yesterday was the Buddleja salvifolia.  I have been waiting for it to flower for weeks.  Another new purchase last year it is just heavenly, the leaves are wonderfully soft a bit like Stachys byzantina and the scent is wonderful.

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Umbellifers seem to be creeping into my garden more and more.  I have started to appreciate the added texture their frothy flowers bring.  At the moment this is from Sweet Cicely (bottom) and Chaeropjyllum hirsutum roseum (top).


In startling contrast we have Arisaema consangineum (I think) which I grew from seed many years ago and seems to really like its new location on the slope.  As ever in my garden the flowers are pointing in the opposite direction to I had planned but I learnt the other day that you can rotate the bulb to put the flower in the right place and the plant will stay like that, the flower doesn’t grow towards the sun like other plants so I might give that a go.


And finally we have the wonderful Lamprocapbos spectablis ‘Valentine’ which is a real show stopper.  There are other flowers in the garden, the geraniums are just starting to open as are the irises but these are the plants that are flowering their  best today.

For more Garden Blogger Bloom Day posts visit Carol at May Dreams



22 Comments Add yours

  1. I remember an opportunistic allium popping up in my grandparents’ garden. We’d none of us seen anything like it, but it was a lovely sight!

  2. Superb pictures Helen.I love this time of year,something new blooming practically every day. My aquilegias here in the East are a bit behind yours,only a handful in bloom at the moment…and at least they don’t seem to have secummed to that dreadful virus that is threatening to wipe out most of the National Collection.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Sue
      I keep checking my aquilegias for the dreaded virus

  3. Rome must have been a nice break Helen, you have some nice blooms to come home too, I like dots of orange in the garden too, it makes a nice bright compliment, your Arisaema is beautiful and it is interesting that you can turn the bulb, Frances

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Frances
      I haven’t tried turning the plant yet,methinks I will wait until the flower has finished, will have to think how to mark the plant so I know which way to turn it!

  4. Wow, your Arisaema is quite something!

  5. Kim gibson says:

    Lovely, lovely, lovely

  6. Juliet says:

    Ooooh, I love the Aquilegia canadensis – that’s a new one on me and is going straight on my wish list. I was going to say how much I liked the yellow one too, before I saw that there was an orange one! The ones in my new garden are mostly pink and purple, though there are some lovely blue and white ones as well. They are making a bid for world domination this month – I had more photos of them than of everything else put together.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Juliet
      I think I got the seeds for canadensis either from Chiltern Seeds or Special Plants.

  7. Beutiful blooms in abundance in your garden. And that Allium with the pink buds is lovely.

  8. Gorgeous!! I started Columbine from seed this year and I can’t wait to see what they look like in bloom!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      hi Nova
      I love columbines they are so easy and you never really know what the flowers will be like.

  9. Brian Skeys says:

    Allium chameleon is one I must look out for in the bulb catalogues this autumn Helen.
    Aquilegia are a must have in our garden too, I hope we can avoid the terrible fungus wilt that is spreading across the country decimating them.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Brian
      I have found myself peering at aquilegia leaves checking for symptoms. Would hate to lose the, having grown so ,any over the years.

  10. Lea says:

    Have a wonderful day!

  11. Lucy Corrander says:

    How interesting and fortunate that you can turn the bulbs of Arisaema consangineum to get them to flower in the direction you want them to. I hadn’t realised any plants did that.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Lucy
      I haven’t tried it yet and I don’t think it is common amongst plants but I was told this by a leading plants,an so hopefully it will work.

  12. Anna says:

    Hope that you enjoyed your trip to Rome Helen – city of some of my ancestors 🙂 Chaerophyllum hirsutum roseum is one of my favourite May plants. If you’ve not already come across it you might also like pimpinella major rosea, which flowers later but has a more attractive warmer pink flower. On the minus side the leaves are not as ferny and don’t have any scent.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Anna
      Rome was great although hot and busy but then I am a country girl at heart. I think I had heard of pimpernella so I will check it out. I have some Ammi seedlings and some Baltic Parsley which hopefully will add some fluffiness later in the year

  13. Yvone Ryan says:

    Hi Helen – I also love Granny Bonnets and quite a few have followed me to Whangapararoa. I quite like the popping up in odd places of them. I also prefer the larger single ones and have never seen an orange one. Yikes another virus to worry about – haven’t heard of it here!

  14. Helen,
    I grew allium ‘Camaleon’ last year and got some more for this year. I decided a good clump made more of an impression than just a few of them.
    If you like specie aquilegias, I can recommend A. viridiflora (green and brown flowers which is something different), and a taller one, A. buergeriana var oxysepala (maroon and yellow).

  15. polbishop25 says:

    These are some amazing species you’ve captured there. I will surely download some of the photos for my personal collection. I hope that you don’t mind. 🙂

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