For most of May my garden flowers languished in bed, hunkered down and hitting the snooze button thanks to an endless month of unseasonably cool, wet days. With the first week of June delivering temperatures a few degrees above 70, my plants are finally beginning to answer the wake-up calls. Ferns unfurl. Lilies tower. Snapdragons tease. The first act of a lengthy seasonal show is garnering rave reviews from this head weeder, full-time waterer and constant admirer.
Hardy Gloxinia (Incarvillea delavayi) is hardly known, though once a hugely popular cottage garden perennial. Maybe it’s time you rediscover this stunning classic.
Lewisia cotyledon: This Pacific Northwest native is one of my favorite flowers, erupting each spring with parasols of shockingly bright (and bossy) pinks, oranges, golds and yellows.
Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale ‘Beauty of Livermere’) : If flowers are showgirls, then the Oriental poppies are strippers, uh make that burlesque performers. Bold, cheeky, in-your-face, these posies demand your attention every step of the way, from buds to flowers to seed heads. And the above variety, Beauty of Livermere, dresses (and undresses) in the reddest of reds.
Siberian Iris (variety unknown): As the name might suggest, this plant is as tough as nails and can take cold winters, hot summers, periods of drought and general neglect. It creates a lovely drift of blossoms and the leaves look good all summer and into fall.
Omphalodes verna: Creeping forget-me-not is a charming ground cover that sports sky blue blossoms in spring and gently spreads without overtaking the flower bed.
Madame Alfred Carriere Rose: This heirloom rose (noisette) is one of my favorites, and while I eat it up visually, the deer take a more literal approach. After the first flush of blooms, I’ll be transplanting this fragrant beauty behind the deer fence so she can establish permanent roots and rambling growth, protected from a herd of antlered overeaters.
Stay tuned; dahlias, zinnia, lilies and hollyhocks are preparing to take the stage.