Oh my gosh, it's so CRAZY that spring is so early here in Raleigh. When I compare it to what I'm accustomed to from living in Maryland, it's like living in a whole new world! I'm really enjoying having such an early spring, and the blooms that are happening already in the yard. Here's a quick look at what's blooming here in our Zone 7/8 gardens in Raleigh, NC on May 3rd, 2014.
(For a tour of our yard this spring, click here.)
We have dozens of clumps of these irises all across the front of the house. They have unusual coloring, with beige petals on the top, yellow beards, and then crimson petals on the bottom. Does anyone know what the name of this variety might be? The previous owners of our home certainly liked them, and spread them all across the front yard.
These white irises are blooming too, in a large clump in the front yard. These are so pretty and delicate looking, with their slight yellow beards and the fluttery, crepe-like petals.
We have one clump of this pretty purple and white striped iris in the front yard, and one lone bloom on it so far, with more buds coming along.
And we have one lone bloom of this pretty peach colored iris. It has flopped over due to my lazy no-stake gardening habit, so I had to hold it up for a photo. There are some more buds coming of this pretty color.
The prior owner of our home certainly enjoyed irises!!! There are two or three other clumps which are just beginning to put out buds... I wonder what color they'll be?
I was surprised to find a lilac bush in the yard this spring. It's small - only about 3 feet high so far - but it did put off some beautiful blooms this spring. I thought lilacs only grew in colder climates, so I'm happy to see that this is here!
This is a red penstemon that I purchased at the NC State Farmer's Market, and planted in mid April. I have three plants of this, and am looking forward to having the hummingbirds visit this and other plants I'm putting out for them. These have been blooming now for about a week, and I'm wondering how long they'll last. Do you know what I can expect?
The new Double Pink Knock Out Roses are putting on a great show. All three shrubs are just covered with blooms and buds. I'm looking forward to having them grow into sizable clumps and really put on a show all summer.
In the front border where I planted the roses, there are some more plants that have come up this spring that were left by the previous owners. There are two clumps of shamrock with red leaves, like this:
and there are two shamrocks with green leaves, like this: (sorry about the weeds)
In the back yard, one of eight little $2 transplants of candytuft is blooming, and a few of the other little plants are showing buds. This is one of my favorite spring plants, and I'm excited to have a drift of it next spring if all goes well.
Also in the back yard, one of the new phlox plants is blooming. I planted two of these Phlox "Minnie Pearl" in mid April. I've never had this variety. (who am I kidding? I've never had *any* variety, since all my phlox in my old house got munched on by deer!) They're only about 18" tall and are kind of spindly plants, but both are covered in buds for future blooms. I hope they have a nice long season.
A couple weeks ago I planted six Salvia Nemorosa 'Blue Queen', and a couple of them have valiantly put out some blue spikes. I say this, because the poor little plants were in tiny pots at only $2 each, and they're fighting to look important in the huge expanse of mulch. But I'm hoping they'll grow big and strong, and my $2 perennial plant investment will pay off big.
And finally, there are three clumps of these bright fuscia pink flowers blooming right now. Last fall I had assumed they were annuals, because they bloomed all summer up until frost. I was surprised to see them come back this year and bloom again. Are they pinks? Are they annuals who happened to be hardy in my Zone 7/8 garden with an unusually hard winter? Or are they perennials with an extremely long bloom time?
If you squint really hard, you can see that we still have some pansies blooming from when I planted them last fall. I guess it's about time to pull them out and replace them with summer annuals.
I think that rounds it up for what's blooming right now. I'm looking forward to many more blooms this spring and summer season as we explore and improve our new Raleigh garden.