Papaver rhoeas Angels Choir
Papaver rhoeas ‘Angel’s Choir’

May 15th, 2010
GBBD 201005: May, 2010

Carol at May Dreams Gardens invites us to tell her what’s blooming in our gardens on the 15th of each month.

May 15, 2010

Spring wanes and May ushers in the early summer flowers as well as early summer temperatures which soared into the 90s a few times. Although we’ve had little rain until last night’s downpour of more than 2 inches, cloud cover has kept temperatures in the 80s. Unfortunately it’s also kept the humidity very high so May has made gardening uncomfortably sticky work.

The height of the flowering season at Zanthan Gardens is over. About half of what was flowering in April GBBD is gone but there are almost as many new flowers. The palette morphs from blues and purples into yellows, oranges and reds.The bluebonnets have completely gone to seed. The poppies and nigella last only a couple of weeks, a very short bloom season given that their growing season is almost as long as the bluebonnets and larkspur.

The big difference this year compared to earlier years is that some flowering bushes and small trees that usually flower dependably in May (such as duranta and oleander) were frozen to the ground in our uncharacteristic January freeze. They are alive but they haven’t started flowering yet.

Between GBBDs

A couple of flower bloomed and faded in my garden between GBBDs and so didn’t show up in the inventory for either April or May.

  • Amaryllis ‘Black Pearl’.
  • Lonicera japonica
  • Louisiana iris ‘Full Eclipse’
  • raspberries

Complete List for May

This is the list of all plants flowering today, May 15th 2010, at Zanthan Gardens. I’ve also noted if the plant was blooming this month in previous GBBD years, 2007, 2008, and 2009.

  • Abelia grandiflora (2009, 2010)
  • Antirrhinum majus (2010)
  • Aristolochia fimbriata (2010)
  • Commelinantia anomala (a few flowers revived by rain) (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Consolida ambigua (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Crinum bulbispermum (2007, 2009, 2010)
  • Engelmannia peristenia/pinnatifida (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Eschscholzia californica ‘Mikado’ (2008, 2009, 2010)
  • garlic (2010)
  • Gaura lindheimeri(2010)
  • Hesperaloe parviflora (2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Hibiscus syriacus (full bloom) (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Lavandula heterophyla ‘Goodwin Creek Grey’ (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Lilium longiflorum, Easter lily (2010)
  • Lupinus texensis (a couple of fading flowers) (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Mirabilis jalapa pink (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Nandina domestica (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Nierembergia gracilis ‘Starry Eyes’ (2009, 2010)
  • Nigella damascena (2007, 2008, 2010)
  • Oenothera speciosa (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Oxalis triangularis (2007, 2008, 2010)
  • Papaver rhoeas ‘Angel’s Choir’ (2010)
  • Papaver somniferum (a couple of fading flowers) ‘Lauren’s Grape'(2010)
  • Parkinsonia aculeata (2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Phlomis lanata (2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Polanisia dodecandra (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Portulaca grandiflora (2010)
  • Pyrrhopappus multicaulis (2007, 2010)
  • rose ‘Mermaid'(2007, 2010)
  • rose ‘New Dawn’ (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • rose ‘Red Cascade’ (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • rose ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Rudbeckia hirta (2008, 2010)
  • Sedum album (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Setcresea (both purple and green) (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Thymophylla tenuiloba ‘Golden Fleece’ (2009, 2010)
  • tomato (2007, 2009, 2010)
  • Trachelospermum jasminoides (starting to fade) (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Verbena canadensis (lavender wilding) (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Viola cornuta (one selfsown plant) (2007, 2008, 2010)
  • Zexmenia hispida (2007, 2008, 2010)

Papaver rhoeas Angels Choir
2010-05-11. Papaver rhoeas ‘Angel’s Choir’. Austin, TX.

May 11th, 2010
Papaver rhoeas ‘Angels’ Choir’

One of my favorite flower tales is of the Rev. W. Wilkes, the Vicar of Shirley, whose keen observation and tenacious dedication is responsible for the Shirley poppy. He tells how “in the summer (I think) 1879 or 1880 I noticed in a wilderness corner of my garden among a patch of field poppies, one bloom with a narrow white edge”. He selected and selected over generations of descendants until he had obtained a strain of poppies with white edges and petals of pale pinks, mauves, and lilacs from the ordinary red corn poppy.

Papaver rhoeas Angels Choir

Papaver rhoeas Angels Choir

Papaver rhoeas Angels Choir

Papaver rhoeas Angels Choir

Over the years his single-flowering poppy was further selected for double poppies. On January 27, 2010 (a bit late) I planted the strain ‘Angels’ Choir’ from Renee’s Garden Seeds. The seed packet describes the ‘Angel’s Choir’ strain as an “award-winning combination of silken-petaled, double poppies featur[ing] shimmering watercolor shades including cream, apricot, peach, coral, lavender, pink and bicolors and picotees. It took breeders years of selection to develop these absolutely magical forms and lustrous soft colors”.

Going Rogue. Or Rouge

Following generations of work by those who carefully selected only the most delicate colors, I feel that I must dutifully rogue out the red and orange flowers. Although I like the clear hues, they really clash with the more delicate ones. Anyway, I can enjoy them inside.

Papaver rhoes Angels Choir

Nigella damascena

May 4th, 2010
Nigella damascena

I mentioned that I love white Love-in-a-mist, Nigella damascena, for the way the flowers look like fallen stars caught in a mist in the meadow.

Nigella damascena

Last year Lancashire Rose gave me seeds for a double form she has. They began opening this week and they are just as enchanting but in an entirely different way. Some are solid and some are bicolor.

Nigella damascena

Nigella damascena

Nigella has the same growing habits and requirements as cilantro and larkspur. It is usually the last of the three to flower. For more information, see Zanthan Gardens: Nigella damascena.

photo: Zanthan Gardens larkspur
2010-04-29. The front yard has been given over completely to larkspur. In the foreground the pale pink rose ‘Blush Noisette’ is in full bloom. ‘New Dawn’ is also in full bloom rambling along the pickets beyond the pecan tree now fully leafed out.

May 3rd, 2010
Week 17: 4/23 – 4/29

“The flowers that bloom so sweetly wither and fall. Our human life, too, is fleeting. Today, again, I will cross the mountain pass of this uncertain world, and will not entertain shallow dreams or give away to drunkenness.” Iro no Ha. Translated by Francis G. Drohan. A Handbook of Japanese Usage. p. 90.

Dateline: 2010
The scent of honeysuckle and jasmine pervades the garden. The week began hot and sticky with a 90°F temperature recorded at the Bouldin station (4/23) and worse, overnight temperatures barely dipping below 70°F. Then a couple of fronts blew in bringing cooler temperatures but no rain. It was a beautiful week for spring cleanup.

I spent all week cutting back bluebonnets and cilantro. I let too much cilantro bolt and it dominated the meadow. As I cut it back, I reveal drifts of yellow (Engelmann daisy), pink (pink evening primrose), and blue and white (Love-in-a-Mist). The last I love best in white because at dusk it looks like little stars are floating in the meadow.

The oleander damaged in January’s freeze is producing new shoots from the ground. Some new shoots are also sprouting from old stems but I probably should cut them all the way to the ground so that it looks compact and bushy. The opuntia is putting out new pads but I don’t care if it never comes back. Both are a long way from flowering unlike this time last year.

The tomatoes are all setting fruit. The biggest and most prolific so far are ‘Jaune Flamme’. Both plants are waist high.

First flower: rose ‘Red Cascade’ (4/23), Trachelospermum jasminoides (4/25), Papaver somniferum ‘Lauren’s Grape’ (4/29), rose ‘Mermaid’ (4/29), amaryllis ‘Black Pearl’ (4/29).
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