We should really tear ourselves away from the Tulips out front and catch up on what’s happening in the Back Garden. For most of the year this is the shady part of the garden, but to date the tall trees have just barely started to leaf out.


Right now the Celandine Poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum) are blooming their hearts out. They’ve taken over the whole corner that sits between the back of the garage and the west side of the back porch.


Some people look down on this native wildflower because it is so prolific in the wild, and even more so in the garden. But how can you not love those four-part golden flowers and the deeply-lobed, blue-gray leaves? Celandine Poppy gets ratty over the summer, but I wouldn’t call it a spring ephemeral. It will rebloom and put on fresh leaves in the fall.


Great Merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora) is another of my favorite spring-blooming natives. With sufficient moisture, it makes a nice groundcover that lasts all season long. It tends to bloom before fully leafing out.


I love the drooping flowers with long, twisting tepals. Great Merrybells is a wonderful common name (there are others for this plant, but I ignore them). It sounds like something out of Chaucer.


And here was a nice surprise: Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris) survives the winter nicely in a pot with no special coddling. Basically it sits in a container without drainage holes, and that keeps it happy enough.


Meantime, the foliage of the Lenten Roses (Helleborus orientalis) have filled out nicely.



Oh, I should mention that the plastic netting continues to protect the Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica). As for the scare cat, it’s too soon to say.


The ‘Autumn Brilliance’ Serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora) seems unusually full of flowers this spring.


So delicate.


This afternoon Judy was inspired to make a May Day wreath with flowers from the garden. Nice, isn’t it?

A happy and floriferous May Day to you all!

56 Comments on “A Flowery May Day in the Back Garden”

  1. The wreath is gorgeous. When I was a kid, May Day baskets were the tradition: tiny little baskets filled with flowers (I remember violets and lily-of-the-valley) and left anonymously on people’s porches. Just once, I was present at a Maypole dance. The ribbons, as I remember them, were all the colors of your garden flowers.

  2. How lovely to dip into some old traditions! The wreath is wonderful! I don’t want to know what other names Great Merrybells might go by; I agree that it has a ring of Chaucer (pun intended) and must be, therefore, the best name. Thanks for the close-up of the Serviceberry blossoms with the soft woolly leaves — almost like lambs’ ears. Delicate indeed. Very whispery.

  3. What a pretty May Day wreath and as Shoreacres notes above, puts me in mind of May baskets. My celandine poppies are in bloom as are the mertensia. Donโ€™t know what happened to my serviceberry, the blooms were not up to snuff this year and have already disappeared.

  4. Lovely wreath Judy … it made me wonder if I should try an Aussie autumn wreath, there are some colourful leaves and a few autumn flowers blooming. Great MerryBells is the perfect name for a spring flower.
    Your garden is looking lovely. ๐ŸŒž

  5. What a beautiful garden you have, and I love the wreath!
    I’m intrigued by your celadon poppies. Mine appear here and there throughout the garden, popping up here and disappearing there. I’ve never seen it form a nice colony like this. I don’t believe it is native here but I don’t care, I love it. Merry bells is a delightful name for Uvularia! What a nice colony you have of that, too!

  6. Just a couple of days ago I saw some Marsh Marigold growing down near the stream where we walk our dog. So your garden will be catching up with us quickly too I suppose! The garden looks lovely, and Judyโ€˜s May Day wreath too. The Lenten roses are particularly pretty.

  7. Wow, your Amelanchier is stunning! The Merrybells are also very unsual-looking with their twisted leaves and flowers. With your hellebores, do you get Hellebore leaf spot? It’s one of the main reasons we don’t have them in the garden.

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