GBBD: May With Mouse 1 (Town Mouse)

So many blooms, so little time! Ah, where to begin. I've been crawling around the garden for the last two days making photos, trying to get that perfect angle of all the wonderful plants. But, inevitably, the three-dimensional and truely multi-media presentation (birds singing, the soft touch of the saliva leaf rubbed between finger for fragrance) does not translate so well to the two-dimensional. Or maybe it does?

Let's start the garden walk with Aquilegia formosa (western columbine), now blooming prettily in the area where I ripped out the juniper bush.

Tumbling down that same retaining wall I have some Mimulus hybrid (monkeyflower) that love the extra drainage and put on quite a show each late spring. Pomona at Tulips In the Woods had two excellent posts about Mimulus just recently, please go there to read more.

Next, we come upon two Styrax officinalis (California snow drop bush). This is the fourth spring for those two small, elegant shrubs, and they must have listened to my threats of removal because they're finally showing off glorious blossoms. After three years of 2-3 blossoms on a 5 foot shrub, I'd worried that their location was too shady. But I'm learning that several of my natives don't bloom well until they've been in the ground for a few years.

Next, let's look at the bridge with Heuchera limelight on both sides. I always enjoy how the different shades of green harmonize (that's some California Fuchsia in the front, which won't bloom until September).

On our way to the front garden, we come upon some Epipactis gigantea (Stream orchid). The name always amuses me, Epipactis is only 7 -9 inches tall.

In the front garden, we first notice the first blossoms of Lepechina fragans (fragrant pitcher sage).

We crush a leaf to enjoy the minty fragrance, then move in a little closer to look at the first blossom.

Just a few steps further, we see Penstemon heterophyllus (foothill penstemon). I'm really not sure which cultivar I have, but I love what I got. This penstemon does not always survive a wet winter, but I'm willing to grow it as an annual if I get a show like this!

With the sun now up, I return to the back garden for just a few more photos. Here we have Allium christophii (star of persia), which is not a native but reblooms every year with a sphere that's 8 inches across.

Next, I have to make a photo of another Mimulus hybrid, this one more orange and looking stunning with some non-native Salvia.

And finally the light catches some non-native columbine that came with the house and reseed gently every year. I hold my breath, both because it's all so beautiful, and because I don't want to ruin the picture.

And I wish you all Happy Bloom Day!

(Thank YOU to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for making it happen, do go over there and have a look at some other gardens).


Love all the great blooms, especially fragrant pitcher sage which I'd never heard of. It's great! It's interesting how your climate is way ahead of ours in MI, as one would expect, but I notice columbine seem to bloom at the same time. Happy GBBD!
WiseAcre said…
I shouldn't be surprised by seeing your monkey-flower in a place I never expected it to be - nature and genus are far to varied to pigeonhole.

The wild monkeyflowers (mimulus ringens and alatus) in my neck of the woods are wetland growers. Well drained soil means nothing when they emerge from shallow water :)

Glad you added posted the monkey-flower again - I could have sworn I commented when I saw it on your propagating post.
Gail said…
Really lovely blooms...and you can't beat the penstemons and the many to choose among! I would love to try even more of both , but getting the sun and soil to cooperate might be an issue! Gail
What great natives!

I was amused at the size of your epipactus as well. I had some bloom in February in a pot that's set in a fishpond, and the plants weren't any larger than yours. I did see some in the wilds, in of all places Saline Valley, which is immediately northeast of Death Valley and almost as hot/dry. But the plants there (growing in mountain runoff) were probably pushing 2 feet. Finally, they earned the "gigantea" moniker.
Town Mouse,

I've just discovered your blog, and I'm really enjoying it!

Beautiful photos - I will definitely be following you and Ms. Country Mouse.

Chloe M.
Town Mouse said…
Garden Faerie, I agree, it's very odd how bloom times map or don't map.
WiseAcre, we just switched to Comment Moderation after getting two consecutive phishing comments, maybe something happened to a comment along the way. Regardless, we also have seep monkeyflowers here and I'm planning on a post about the CA lot some time soon.
Cloe, Welcome, and Happy Bloom Day everyone.
NellJean said…
I did come back to sort out my confusion over two bloggers, two gardens, one blog. I've had two gardens before, but never just one blog and never shared a blog. Well, there was the high school reunion one.

In my haste to look at as many blossoms as possible, I failed to read all the 'fine print,' not expecting to find this situation. I think I scrolled right on past the break and then scrolled back until I found a comment spot. I think I understand now. Sorry.
Town Mouse said…
Ah, well, that happens all the time ;->. But we really enjoy having a shared blog, a great opportunity for me to see what's going on in the hills, and for CMouse to see how we're faring in suburbia.
ryan said…
Healthy looking plants, everything looks happy. The penstemon looks like margarita bop to me. But I don't know for sure. Real pretty, whichever it is.