Garden Activities -- Last Days Of May

Geum 'Totally Tangerine'.  '23 is their "Leap" year(?)

Time to start dead-heading roses and daylilys

Time to cut back the Callistemon which had a huuuge crop of flowers.  Three weeks ago:

Whew!  That took some time.

Pulled some Dutch Iris out front because their saturated purple-blue flower color looked dreadful next to the muted shades of 'Harlequin' Leucadendron.  The day lily in front of 'Harlequin' needs moving, too.   Several Catharanthus will replace the Iris to provide some summer interest.  In the foreground some Tritelia 'Queen Fabiola'  added last fall is about to flower, and a compact Lantana planted last spring is cut back hard and recovering from winter to flower again this summer.

Move Dutch Iris?!?? I never used to be so fussy about color 

  Replanted the Iris....

...there.  The Iochroma shades the area from late spring to October, but the Iris grow and flower in late winter to mid spring.  Should work. 

 Also pondering colors here.  Would a peachy Day lily be better than the red-purple?

Dug up and potted up some miserable plants in hopes of nursing them back to health:

Actually made the effort to create a temporary potting bench on the patio table.  It worked well for the unhappy plants and for Zinnias, too:

Saved the Aloe cameronii 'Red' swallowed up by a very happy Lotus hirstutus.  See it?

How about now?

Below, replanted (arrow) near two others red from sunlight (on the left). Burgundy Eucomis (foreground) is re-appearing after vanishing for the winter. 

Zinnias from seed--potted them on.  The seeds planted directly in the ground all sprouted quickly and were all just as quickly eaten by--something.  Hence, planted the remaining seeds in six-packs.  The bottom three six-packs 'Giant Purple' are six days ahead of the top 'Northern Lights Mix':

Potted up, bigger, some almost ready to pinch.   The plan is to pinch and fertilize more generously, to grow them better than last year (which won't be hard).

 Screening the gates was so worth it.  No rabbit damage to the plants inside the gates.  A little damage still--this stem got its foliage stripped:

At least the flower survived.  Grasshopper?  Katydid?  Still, minor compared to what rabbits ate.  

Spoke a little too soon.  Planted a few strawberry plants and screened them:

But despite the screens, something got that one:

Move that volunteer Trachelium...

...there (arrow, by potted Avocado tree)?   Where to plant the potted Avocado purchased last year?   I considered offering it to a neighbor who planted several this winter.  That's a thought.

Pot-up tomatoes one more time because the onions are not quite ready to harvest:

 but the tomatoes are growing fast and already have fruits:

 To do: 
find places in the ground for Dahlias.  Lots of places.  The big pot can just be moved to an empty place in a garden bed among other plants. That worked pretty well last year.

The garden has been so beautiful this spring it's a  struggle to get anything done--still a lot of walking and gawking--even sitting under the pergola gawking for a few minutes.   

Clematis 'Wisley':

Finally, Larkspur!


Pretty!  I wonder if I could seed-in-place these beauties this fall, or if creatures would eat them.  They take up hardly any space--it's all vertical. 

Not bad.  Really not bad: 

Last autumn, rose 'Princesse Charlene de Monaco' sent up a strong, healthy 10 foot/3 meter cane with three flowers at the very tip.  I could not chop down the healthiest cane on the plant so I arched it over and secured it to the trellis on the wall.  Now it is breaking out new stems (I count seven) along its length, each with a flower bud or two or three.  Without all the rain the cane would have sun burnt and grown only a few leaves.  

 Same phenomenon on the two young 'Golden Celebration' roses.  Lots more flowers than they would have produced without so much rain:

Wonderful leaf imprints on a pristine Agave ovatifolia.  Sweet! 

Bit of a disaster.  We got so much drizzle (0.12") the masses of sweet peas flopped and turned into a mushroom cloud of flowers:

The ones on the tomato kennel collapsed:

Sigh.  Still, plenty to enjoy.  There's an 'Iceberg' rose in there...somewhere in there:

Green and white soothe:

And Itoh Peony 'Bartzella' peeks out through the drizzle.
What are you up to in the garden these last days of May?


  1. Can’t wait until my Geums are as floriferous as yours. I think a peach daylily would look better with the soft blue Iris and it would repeat the Geum color. I am ridiculously picky about color combinations. Very dry here and we keep having a few nights per week dropping down into the 40s. But the plants that are happy are very happy.

    1. Just have to find a soft peach day lily that performs as well as the red-purple one, which repeats and repeats and repeats and does not offset too fast. Usually the roses produce their first round of flowers and finish up before the day lilies start, but this year the roses were so late, they overlap somewhat.

      I'm waiting to see how well the Geum repeats--if it can really be happy here without winter chill.

      Wow still in the 40sF for you. Slows the plants down I would guess. Your "moon garden" looking so fabulous I think you have quite a few plants that are happy!

  2. Oh, it's just so pretty and lush! The bottlebrush was a BIG job. You must be out there every minute moving things around. I'm laughing at "finding a place for the dahlias", that is how I feel about various purchases now. Isn't it nice to have a table to work on. The agave ovatifolia is pristine, I need one!

    1. Wasn't too bad--not like digging out a stump! Table did help a whole lot. Will be using it from now on.

      We have May-Gray in a big way right now so I can spend the day out there pretty much. This morning I was thinking most of the Dahlias could stay right where they are--all they need are bigger pots.

      Ovatifolia is very beautiful, yes I think you need one. The 'Vanzie' selection is particularly attractive.

  3. May is a crazy month, especially after all that rain we got. I'm glad the larkspur came through for you.
    Mine grew very tall this year but the marine layer hasn't done much for the foliage, although in retrospect I should have thinned mine more. I've never seen evidence of them returning due to self-seeding but, as the seeds like a bit of cold to promote germination, my area may be just too warm. My dahlias tubers, planted later than last year, are sprouting much faster then they did last year and I also have a placement problem.

    How many years did it take for the Geum to leap? I'm already giving my 'Koi' Geum the side-eye but it's only been in the ground a year.

    1. I am thinking to scrounge some larger pots, pot the Dahlias up and leave most of them right where they are. The space isn't doing anything anyway.

      Purchased & planted the Geum February 2021, so this would be their "leap" year. First year I got 1 flower stem from 3 plants--two did not flower. 2nd year just 2 or 3 stems on 2 plants (one died) this year has been the best---but will the flowering continue all summer or even into summer? We'll see.

  4. You sure are particular about color :-D
    I'm not a huge fan of peach (unless I can eat it). Looking at that bed, you seem to have a lot of day lilies, but just one TB Iris. If you replace it with dark purple, black it would not compete with the lilies and be a lot less work.
    The photos of the bird in the fountain are so sweet!

    1. There are several clumps of the 'Thorn Bird' TB Iris in that bed which is Ecru/pale greenish yellow with touches of purple. I will replace them with the blue as the blue one produces new offsets. The day lilys bloom from now to October, a much longer season than the Iris.

      I really enjoy all the birds. Would not be a garden without them.

  5. Oh! That Agave ovatifolia is gorgeous! Up here I'm still trying to whip the garden into shape, thankfully I can see the work is paying off.

    1. And better weather to work outside by now? Hopefully!

  6. It's so frustrating to see your hard-earned labor disappear in the night! It's probably smart to grow the zinnias to some size before planting them out. But I really wonder who ate all your rose leaves? So strange...
    So far this spring has been mostly about other people's gardens and prepping for last weekend's plant sale. When I finally thought I would have a few days for mine I got sick - so so far, no go. Hope tomorrow is a better day - I would love to spend Sun-Mon out there planting all my new babies, waiting in nursery pots. Evan - who was a vendor at our plant sale - provided me with one of my holy grails: Farfugium japonicum 'Argentea'. Funny thing was, I had been to Salem the day before to pick up a few trees for a client and stopped at Sebright, specifically with the intention to buy one of those. (Got one from them before, but it died this winter.) Bummed to learn they didn't have any, and the very next day Evan shows up with one! I was SO HAPPY!!

    Anyway, when you said you bent down the rose stalk and it sprouted more side shoots, it made me think of this article I read from one of the gardeners at Sissinghurst. You've probably read it, but if not, I'm posting a link below. Very interesting read, I thought. I learned a lot researching roses for that little museum I designed a rose arbor for earlier this year.

    1. Oooh, thanks very much for that link. Had a tough time understanding the method in words, but found two very helpful photos showing freshly tied canes bare of leaves (so the structure shows) here:

      I chopped 'Sombreuil' to the ground this winter, so with all the new canes sprouting I'm going to try this method next winter--though I bet it is far more difficult than than it appears and takes great patience (and safety glasses, and thick elbow-length gloves).

      Sometimes we plant afficionados are just meant to have a plant, and your 'Argentea' appeared just at the right moment. Hope you enjoy and have success with that beauty!

  7. That Geum is stunning! I'll have to look into that one as it appears to be hardy to zone 4. Beautiful! You have been BUSY! Darn rabbits: That is one thing we, unfortunately, have in common ... although, we've seen a fox in the back garden lately, which appears to be keeping the rabbit numbers down a bit.

    1. If it likes my climate over the longer term I'd be thrilled. Usually they need vernalization which we cannot provide here.

      Yes that fox photo was great!! Yesterday on our walk there was a rabbit head in the road. A coyote must have eaten the rest of it, right in the street. I was not sad. Not gleeful, but not sad, either.

  8. I've been busy protecting my own plants from mysterious nibblers too. Somehow whatever it was went through and picked out some of my more rare native plants and mowed them down. Annoying. Hopefully, they have enough roots to make it through a whole year because these particular plants only put out one flush a year. I'll also be doing some pruning this weekend, though nothing as large as your Callistemon.

    1. "Mysterious nibblers" -- yes but greedy gobblers, too. Despite screening and caging my strawberry plants have vanished. grrrrr!!!!!! Probably more annoying for you with rare natives. :(

  9. No big pest issues in the Oregon garden so far, knock wood, just unsightly foaming of spittlebugs -- they're definitely a thing up here in spring/early summer. Don't remember having them down south. With the two photos adjacent, 'Golden Celebration' looks like it's leaning over to have a chat with the agave, maybe admiring the leaf imprints!

    1. No slugs? Good! We get spittlebug spittle here on the lavenders, but nothing a spray from the hose can't tidy up.

      Hah! Good observation! Yes the roses do look like they are chatting with the Agave--"How did you do those? How are you never thirsty?"

  10. I cut back my Geum, too. What a show it put on this spring!

    Lotus hirsutus: For years, I couldn't wait fori it to finally take off. Now it has and it's swallowing everything in its path, LOL.

    1. Will your Geum repeat now? GardenBook says hers flower all summer--

      The Lotus manage to look good even dry in summer heat--but yes they are on the march here too. Many seedlings survived and thrived. In past years, too dry for them.

  11. Can't find it again. You wrote once about bird-feeders and how far away from neighbouring shrubs?

    1. 10 - 14 feet, (3 - 4 meters). The birds first select 1 tree nearby to study the situation, then approach the feeder or bird bath one or two tall shrubs (3 - 4 meters tall) at a time. This was described in a bird lecture I attended, and I've seen this behavior with the urn fountain/bird bath/oak tree/Aloe 'Hercules'/Lagerstroemia arrangement in the front garden.


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