Gray Makes May

A mostly cool April and a very gray May makes a flowery May.  I've been gardening like crazy, because the cool overcast is perfect to work in all day long.  While I work there is floral beauty to savor.  Wherever we go, it seems there is even more.

At home the Dahlias begin.   A new big-box store impulse-buy rose, 'Miranda Lambert', at top right.
 Promising rose.  We'll see how it performs. 
 What was resting since November is now in full flower.
The last of the Hippeastrums for this year
 I moved 'Cinco de Mayo' to the back gully because it was so disappointing out front.  Perhaps it was too hot out front.  It's doing splendidly in the gully.
 One flowery place we visited this month was Roger's Gardens, a local garden center.  
 Roger's had masses of flowers for sale for Mother's Day.  This is Rhodohypoxis baurii 'Pintado', a native to summer-rain alpine areas of South Africa.  Since its a somewhat alpine plant,  and because it wants dry winters and wet summers,  I didn't get one.  Tempting, though. 
 A mass of Scabiosa
 A mass of Achillea, probably 'Moonshine'
 A mass of Ozothamnos with a mass of Euphorbia flowers above
A massive number of Leucospermums for sale.  This is 'Rainbow'
 A mass of Anigozanthos for sale

 A mass of Cantananche caerulea.   Roger's was seriously flowery this gray May.
 The Huntington was also seriously flowery.  We visited on yet another cool gray day.
 The entrance garden looks cramscaped and particularly lush this spring despite the dry winter. 
 An army of vertical purple marching in
 Grass blooms, too. 
 No heat waves to destroy the Foxgloves.

 The Desert Garden was blooming, too.  Agave marmorata has intensely golden flowers.  The grey sky does not detract.

 Puya alpestris. 

 Back at home again,  Aloe pseudorubroviolacea is the common warbler's favorite.
 Some Iris even this late, not destroyed by heat
 In cool grey weather, individual rose flowers can last seven to ten days.  In heat, they are gone in three. 
 The volunteer seedling Clematis is having an excellent spring.  Rose 'The Prince' below and left, matches the purple-red anthers of the Clematis.  Happy accident, that.
 'Twilight Zone'
 What used to be a lawn.  I don't miss the lawn. 
 We had some drizzly days.  'Sombreuil'
 Nice to be working away and look around at this.
 Even when the day is drippy
 'Old Port' with Salvia 'Embers Wish'
 Gardens in the neighborhood look fabulous.  K's garden with Felicia and Leucospermum 'High Gold':
 Fabulous, K!
 Also in the neighborhood, this brand new xeric garden is having a chance to settle in before summer heat arrives.  I spy Calylophus, Lavender, Epilobium aka Zauchsneria, Sedums, bunch grasses, Salvia clevelandii, and Hesperaloe. 
 Way cool!
 More beauty in the neighborhood at another new garden.  The big bold Aloe barberae in a frothy sea of Gaura and Cistanthe.  Wow!  Gray May is A-ok.
 Cistanthe with Romneya, too.
 On the same street, May Gray has enabled a somewhat neglected garden to also look splendid.  Lots of Salvia clevelandii,  Hesperaloe,  gold Alyssum, white...something.  And big gray rock.
 I also had the opportunity this month to visit the CoastKeeper's Garden at Santiago Canyon College.  Also looking fabulous.  Some more photos of that in another post.  
Echium with a blurred background of Bougainvillea

 Salvia clevelandii is having a very good year everywhere, it seems
 Back at home...daylilys, Leucanthemum, and 'Rozanne' Geranium.
 Salvia 'Love and Wishes',  roses 'Disneyland' and ,Geranium Red', Clematis, and so forth. 
 Rose 'Drop Dead Red'
 Salvia 'Waverly'
 It's been a wonderful May.  The Austin Fling, and a very gray May at home.  This flower floozy feel so very fortunate.  Not everyone enjoys a gray May--a lack of blue skies and bright sun makes some people want to crawl into bed and pull the covers over their head.  I totally understand that!  I can only say I've been paying attention to the flowers, not the sky. 


  1. HB, your garden looks stunning, what a glorious display of colors specially the Foxgloves, I love them but here they fall to pieces when sun gets too harsh. Your new rose is lovely I hope she fares well in your garden. Days here are sunny and cool, perfect for gardening too, I am planing new rose beds, you'll see! Have a great week.

    1. Wonderful you are getting some cool weather. Enjoy! Have fun with your new roses.

  2. Outstanding conditions not only for flowers, but also photography: This is one of your most sumptuous posts ever. The somewhat neglected garden full of Salvia clevelandii looks so wild and natural. One of the most appealing aspects of K's garden is the way the repetition of intense yellow carries your eye through the planting. And that fabulous cramscape at the Huntington entrance garden! But the last of the desert garden shots is the most arresting, as a garden composition and as a photograph. Thanks so much.

    1. The pre-summer overcast makes for good photos. Once that season hits, everything, including the gardener, is sun-blasted.

      Glad you enjoyed the photos! Thanks!

  3. Grey makes it easier for the photographer too sometimes and what photos they are. I’m still in awe of those leucospermums. The felicia combo is sublime.

    1. I'm in awe of the Leucospermums too, even though I see them every day. The bees I think see them as fully stocked super markets where everything is free.

  4. I can see why you are enjoying your gray May. I would too if I had all this to admire daily. I love those gray cooler days. I think we have been getting all of your sunny dry days.

    1. You can have all of our sunny dry summer, if you like. Not looking forward to July...

  5. Woke up to blue skies a couple days ago and thought the grey was finished and the heat was on, that the inversion layer had been pierced -- not so! Grey again today. This spring has been so kind to gardens, esp. the flowery kind, as your wonderful photos attest!

    1. It's been a lovely, lovely May, hasn't it?

  6. May was good here as well, though we expect to hit 90 today. I hope for the arrival of June Gloom. The K garden vignette--so wonderful.

  7. What a wonderful - and comprehensive - celebration of May Gray! I felt my own joyous twirl-around-in-the garden moments this month, something I usually experience in late March. Given the light (well, pathetic) winter rains, May Gray is especially appreciated. We even picked up 5/100ths of an inch of precipitation in the form of drizzle over the course of the month.

    Your dahlias are astounding and offer evidence that I need to start mine much earlier than I have the past 2 years. I visited Sherman Gardens and Roger's over the weekend and there were dahlias all over the place in both locations, although the dahlia garden at my local botanic garden seems as slow to get its blooms going as I am.

    Best wishes for a happy holiday!

    1. Twirl around like Mary Tyler Moore throwing her tam in the air. Yeah, like that. :)

      A few of mine are just sending up shoots. They are late this year. So maybe it's not you. Trees were late leafing out here, too. We had all those colder nights in April and May--kept the soil a little cooler maybe.

  8. Gray? I didn't see any gray, just glorious floral color everywhere. Your garden always looks amazing but is spectacular now spangled with so much vibrant color!

  9. That Puya is an unusual and intense colour.

    1. It looks like some sort of painted metal. When you see them in person it's hard to believe they are real.

  10. I now enjoy May Gray or June Gloom, at least through you and others in your region. I didn't when I was younger, but living in the desert I've changed. A great year for Salvia clevelandii here, too. It's great to see blooms last, and believe it or not some of our's in the wild still are going 3 months later, with .75" rain in our last 6 months.


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