The Flowers That Bloom in the Spring (Tra La)

A great deal can happen in the garden between the first of May and the middle of the month. Much depends on the vagaries of the weather, and we’ve had a surplus of vagaries this year. In this two week time span, some flowers fade and others emerge.

Every inspection of the garden at this time of year inspires excitement and discovery. Let’s review a few of the flowers that are making me particularly happy in mid-May.


For some reason, the rabbits forgot to chew the Woodland Phlox (Phlox divaritica) down to the ground this year, and so there are several patches of these enchanting blue flowers growing close to the ground.



A week ago this corner was full of the cheerful yellow flowers of Celandine Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum). Now it’s the turn of Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum) a North American native that likes shade and blooms earlier than hardy Geraniums from other parts of the world.


The lavender flowers are simple, but they make me smile.


The palm-shaped foliage is nice, too.


The dangling yellow-green flowers of Wild Currant (Ribes americanum) are now on display. Not showy, and yet I find a patch of Wild Currant in bloom deeply satisfying.


Wild Currant is a plant with a cast iron constitution. It will spread, but is not hard to contain. Birds love the berries. It dominates the understory of the southeast corner of our back garden.


The first of the peonies to bloom. For a long time I thought this was Paeonia anomala but now I think it might be P. tenuifolia. Any peony experts out there?


Bleeding Hearts (Lamprocapnos spectabilis).


They grow happily with Ostrich Ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris) in the front foundation bed. The ferns were getting a little too rambunctious last year, and I had to dig some out. I was afraid I had seriously damaged the roots of the Bleeding Heart in the process, but apparently not.


There are also some white Bleeding Hearts by the garage.


This is the second year our ‘Golden Raindrops’ Crabapple has been in the back garden. I was astounded by the masses of flowers in clusters and trusses all over this young tree. The light was such that Judy couldn’t get a good photo of the whole tree, but here’s a pretty good picture of some of the flowers. ‘Golden Raindrops’ blooms later than the ‘Donald Wyman’ Crab we have in our front garden.


Ah, Lilacs (Syringa vulgaris). Kind of a dull shrub most of the year … but that fragrance! I planted this one by a window on the east side of the house, thinking we could catch the scent indoors. Only later did I realize that this window had been painted shut.


OK, now I’m going to show some plants that I’ve already shown on recent posts. Sorry, I can’t help it. I am so glad I planted patches of Prairie Smoke (Geum trifollium) by the front sidewalk. Between the flowers and the seed heads, it has a very long season of interest. Definitely a conversation starter with passersby, but you need a decent-sized mass to have an impact.


Also, we’re in the final days of this year’s tulip season. Still enough color to have an impact at the front door, but not for much longer. There are just three varieties that are still going strong.


Goodbye, ‘Ballerina’, see you next year!


Same to you, ‘Kingsblood’!


Parting is such sweet sorrow, ‘Annie Schilder’.

What flowers are making you happiest in your garden right now?

68 Comments on “The Flowers That Bloom in the Spring (Tra La)”

  1. I enjoyed your May flowers Jason, all of them gorgeous. Yes,, that does look like Paeonia tenuifolia to me. Wow, your Dicentra is amazing. Whoops, sorry it’ s Lampro- thingy these days, isn’ t it? I love that geum, I’ ve never seen one like it before. I am interested to hear about your new Malus, I don’ t know this one. I remember your Douglas Wyman is beautiful. Bloodgood is one for next year, such a gorgeous colour.

  2. The Woodland phlox is so pretty. Do you think there’s room to squeeze a couple more pots of tulips in next year..?! They are outstanding. Ballerina is my absolute favourite and I never tire of seeing it. Here in my garden it’s the aquilegias, lilac (almost out!) and geums making me smile. And my young plants grown from seed waiting to be planted out. Such an exciting time.

  3. I enjoyed your peony and the geum in particular – you have really woven your plants together in such a natural way (wish I could be complaining about the ostrich fern!). At the moment I’m enjoying seeing some new iris bloom for the first time.

  4. The prairie smoke is what intrigues me. I need a long swathe of it. I was afraid to purchase more than one not knowing if it would grow here. It is and I want more. The irises are what make me happy here right now. They are about to shut down. I will miss them. They are big bold and reliable. I need to thin out a bunch of the wild columbine. It absolutely will take over an area if you let it. I need some wild phlox to go with it. Happy May…

  5. Oh, Jason! So much beauty in your gardens that I could hardly stand it. My gardens are July gardens, so not much in bloom yet. But my favorite flower—irises—are in bud so we’ll have a bit of color in the next couple weeks.

  6. Your Ballerina is a stunner.

    In fact, all your May flowers are delightful.

    Here in Tennessee, the sundrops and lanceleaf coreopsis are making me happy at the moment. The blanket flower is in full bloom (as it will be for probably, oh the next 5 months!) and blue wild indigo (Baptisia australis) is just about finishing up its show for the year. Didn’t see as many bees as usual on the Baptisia this year, but then it’s generally been a bee-light garden so far this year. The mock orange is almost finished too, but it put on a great show this year.

    Oakleaf hydrangea is coming into full bloom too and a couple large patches of cranesbill geraniums (G. x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’ and two different G. sanguineum cultivars) are covered in blooms. And then of course there’s the yarrow…

    An embarrassment of riches! 🙂

    I do wish I had more floral fragrance in the spring garden. The ‘Natchez’ mock orange offers a bit, but it’s not an especially fragrant variety, so I’ll confess a twinge of envy over your lilac.

  7. The species columbine I have spread all over are blooming. I’ve seen a hummingbird twice at our feeder as well, but I hope they’re making good use of the columbine! My pink bleeding heart is blooming, but what used to be an enormous bush is just a couple of stalks. I’m not sure what happened –do I need to replace it or feed it? And I have one purple and white iris putting on a show, and several other colors waiting in the wings 🙂

    I love how your back garden is such a lovely woodland –it must be so peaceful to sit out there.

  8. Nice looking Woodland Phlox and Wild geraniums. In fact everything looks great. Best time of year for gardening I think, when things are young and fresh. Looks like my mophead hydrangeas survived a late cold snap without serious damage for first time since they were planted about 3-4 years ago.

  9. The way you group your bleeding hearts is very effective.
    The blue of your phlox is impressive, usually their color tends to be rather less assertive and talking of assertiveness, “Ballerina” is assertive just the right way.

  10. The spring flowers in your garden look lovely. We are on holiday in Italy this month and the spring gardens are wonderful… I love the blue white and pink hydrangeas … Hardly anyone grows these in Canberra these days because they need lots of water… Enjoy spring!

  11. The Wild Currant is such an understated thing, I find it captivating as well. When plants are in bud stage — as so many are right now — I almost want to wet my pants! I showed my neighbor my one blooming Clematis. After she left I began to count the ones I have – NINE! Can’t wait!

  12. Hello Jason, it’s “Bleeding Hearts” season here too and the three that I planted the year before were split into four pieces each so now I have them dotted about the garden; funnily enough, I’ve paired them with ferns and hostas too. Great minds think alike!

  13. Oh, your peonie is lovely as are those beautiful ballerina tulips, what a vivid colour, I can understand why you’re upset at parting from them. Wow, that crab apple is laden, looks like lots of fruit. What a shame about the painted shut window, you’ll have to sort that out!xxx

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