Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day 5.15.2012

Paeonia hybrid, tree peony
 We didn't have many April showers, but May flowers are still in abundance - hurray! The hands-down star of the show is this tree peony.

Although classified as a woody shrub, it typically suffers severe die-back every winter (in my garden) then bounces back to form a 3'x3' shrub with these beautiful, 6-7" diameter blossoms. This is one plant in my garden that I'm willing to provide with a bit of extra water. Every garden needs one or two exotic specimens, right? A gift from a gardening friend many years ago, I'm sorry that I can't recall the specific variety.

Update:  After doing some research, I believe that this is Paeonia suffruticosa 'Kinkaku' or 'Souvenir de Maxime Cornu'

May is also prime time for Iris germanica, bearded iris. There are two fantastic iris farms in the region where you can see scores of varieties in bloom and place your orders directly with the grower for post flowering delivery. Iris 4 U is in the Englewood area, and Long's Gardens is in central Boulder. Always a fun outing and it's nice to support our local farmers, too.  But don't delay, the gardens are only open for a few weeks during the peak blooming season.

White iris & white flowering Cerastium tomentosum make an elegant and xeric combination.
Love the hidden "zebra" stripes here!
Another of my springtime favorites is Centranthus ruber, red valerian or Jupiter's beard.  The rich intensity of color adds vibrancy to both sunny or shaded settings:

A great, water-wise butterfly plant. Deadhead for repeat blooms all summer.

An underused perennial that is also quite drought tolerant is this sweet Verbascum hybrid. It stands about 20-24" tall and blooms for several weeks.
Brightly colored flower spikes above a basal rosette of coarsely textured leaves.

Our native spiderwort, Tradescantia occidentalis, adds a col hit of blue and is happy to reseed itself in the driest garden areas.
This linear, horizontal foliage is a favorite of mine.
Thanks for visiting The Art Garden today, I hope you'll head over to Carol's May Dreams Garden for links to additional garden sites from around the world.

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