An Executive Summary for May

  • Lockdown continues
  • Working from home keeps us surprisingly busy considering we’re home all day
  • Laziness could still be a factor in things not getting done
allium gladiator

The Potager Pandemic Project is progressing at a pitifully poor pace.  I will not share pictures until it looks a little better (Allium ‘Gladiator’)

  • Multiple harsh, late, freezes did in another year of wisteria blooms and damaged many early risers
  • Spring continues regardless
primula sieboldii

Surprisingly, Primula sieboldii continue to do well in a damp, part shade location.  I divided and moved a few in early spring and they haven’t complained a bit. 

  • I still love you spring
primula sieboldii

A range of seedling Primula sieboldii.  I’m pleased with how well they’ve done, obviously they’re not that hard to grow!

  • iris have been delayed and disfigured by the cold
  • lilacs have not
father fiala lilac

A selection of lilac flowers, mostly Father Fiala hybrids and older varieties.  

  • Older lilacs with names such as ‘Atheline Wilbur’, ‘Paul Thirion’, and ‘Marie Frances’ roll off the tongue in a way that ‘Bloomerang Dark Purple’ and ‘Pinky Winky’ never will
  • Have a wonderful week

28 comments on “An Executive Summary for May

  1. Your primroses are gorgeous! The late frost does not seem to have damaged anything at my house, but then, I don’t really have anything so very delicate. My allium are just starting to show a little pre-opening color. I planted a lot of new ones last fall. I cannot even begin to express how lazy I’ve been! I’ve also lost all concept of time. It’s as if time has stood still since March, which of course it hasn’t, but I just have a hard time realizing that yes, it is May, and the gardens need attention! It’s all so odd.

    • bittster says:

      It’s an odd scenario yet spring is flying by as usual. I was surprised this afternoon to realize the lilacs are all brown and gone and many of the iris are over as well. You could almost say it’s summer now, with roses open and tomatoes growing. Now if only I could get a few squash planted, my neighbors are already a decent size and I don’t even have a bed ready!
      I hope you put up a few allium photos. I always seem to find one more that needs to be added 🙂

  2. Spring does continue no matter what. We are behind where we were two years ago as Facebook tells me I was arranging lilacs on this day, and they are a few days away from blooming this year. For such a mild winter it’s been a slow spring, which meant many plants escaped damaged from that polar freeze because they were not very far along. But I think we had our last frost Wednesday night, so–onward!

    • bittster says:

      Funny what a distant memory frosts already are. It was that one last freeze and then tomatoes could go out the next day. Weird.
      But then there’s always something weird going on. We’re a little dryer for the first time in what seems like years, and I actually had to water a few new transplants. It’s anyone’s guess what the summer will bring since people south of here were nearly flooded last night with all the rain they got.

  3. susurrus says:

    How wonderful to see the different Primula sieboldii. The lilac is looking good too.

  4. Beautiful Primulas! While visiting southern Norway last summer I saw absolutely gorgeous Primula species and hybrids in an old friend’s garden (the friendship is old, not the friend). Wish I could grow them here, but dry oak/pine woodland in a warm climate does not a Primula paradise make. I have one P. sieboldii in my garden that is hanging in there but doesn’t bloom.

    • bittster says:

      Even up here primula are iffy. It seems they’re all just one dry spell away from kicking the bucket, but the P. sieboldii at least try again next year after they just go dormant. I have killed plenty of others!

  5. Pauline says:

    I’ve just started growing Primula sieboldii from seed, they are beautiful flowers aren’t they. I’ve put some of them in the woodland and some in the drier end of the bog garden, hopefully they will be happy there, I’ll have to wait and see which area they like best.

    • bittster says:

      You don’t seem to have any troubles with the other candelabra primrose, so I bet the sieboldii will do just fine. Actually if I was able to grow the others I might just stick with them since I do like the warmer colors better… this week…
      The various petal shapes for siebodii are really interesting though, so I guess a little space for them wouldn’t be wasted at all.

  6. You always have so much blooming all the time. Late winter/spring was not good to my garden. I had several shrubs die to the ground. I lost one Witch Hazel. I thought they were indestructible. Primulas are a sweet bonus in the garden. My alliiums are all coming to an end. These 80 degree days that are moving in will accelerate the garden. Have a great weekend.

    • bittster says:

      We just made it through a warmer spell and suddenly roses are opening and all the roadside weeds are looking very summerific! Sorry to hear about the winter losses. Only a few things died completely here but fortunately nothing too treasured.
      It’s been dry lately. I suspect it will be our first dry summer in three years and all my drought resistant plants have rotted away in the last couple summers. We will see whats left in August, but if worse comes to worse there’s always mulch and open ground for new plants next year 😉

  7. Eliza Waters says:

    Your primula flowers look like snowflakes! It has been an odd spring with the wet/cold/warm fluctuations. Bad year for bearded iris here as well. My poeticus narcissi were setting up nicely, but the heat today may have changed that. I’m afraid to look.

    • bittster says:

      I think one of the primula seed packets was actually named ‘snowflake’ so you’re right on target!
      We are suddenly into summer and I have no idea what happened to the lilacs and tulips. I always dread that moment when you realize spring is gone for another year and all the anticipation is replaced by ‘I thought I was going to get this done’ or ‘I forgot to transplant all those’… but then the clematis start to open and daisies fill the roadside and it’s all good!

  8. Cathy says:

    Lovely to see you have Alliums, Primulas and Lilacs all at the same time! Late frosts are a pain and always spoil something, but not seeing a wisteria bloom must be tragic. I have always fancied one, but the idea of waiting on tenterhooks each spring would be unbearable! Still, lots of lovelies to compensate. I wonder how long your lockdown will last. We are slowly opening up a few things here, but only with face masks which are unpleasant in the warmer weather and mean I am staying at home most of the time anyway… When it is over we gardeners might miss all this extra time we have had! 😉

    • bittster says:

      Yes, all this extra time has me tackling quite a few things out there, but sadly it doesn’t look much better than any other year!! Maybe I’ll appreciate things in August or next year, I’ve been trying to make a few longer term changes and take care of things which have been bothering me for years.
      Some more stores here have opened up in the last week. Masks are required, there are sometimes lines to wait on before entering, but still no haircuts. I’m starting to like my flowing locks though, but we will see if long hair survives the summer heat!

      • Cathy says:

        Our shops and hairdressers are open now, but having our hair cut with a mask on doesn‘t appeal, so we are also growing our locks! No problem for me really, but my partner hasn‘t had a hair cut all year! Another reason for staying home and in the garden for a while yet… 🤪

  9. Primulas and lilacs! I used to live in Rochester, NY aka Flower City (originally Flour City) and they had a lilac festival that was a delight — and I wasn’t even a gardener then. Here, the UW-Madison Arboretum has a stunning lilac collection, but I am staying away. It’s too popular! How many specific Primula sieboldii did you start with to get such variation? I am only growing one and keep thinking about more. The problem is not a new plant obsession, but a lack of space to put more plants. Rain and suddenly hitting 80° have my garden looking good. I did have late frost damage on the foliage of my dwarf Ginkgoes. Hoping they recover.

    • bittster says:

      I think over the last few years I probably started a dozen seed packets, most were for certain forms or colors but a few were mixed. I can try and remember to catch a few seeds this summer and maybe there’s a spot you can scratch them in. I don’t think there have been any self-sown seedlings here, but the bed is quite packed, and in a more open spot maybe they’ll come up easily… but like you mention, finding a spot will be the problem!
      A few frozen things are starting to recover. It’s been a slow process, but new leafs are coming out and I’ve been trimming the worst of the damage here and there. Some woodland things just went dormant (I hope) and will try again next year. As always we will just have to wait and see.

  10. You need to conclude with a slide that says ACTION STEPS. You don’t need to list the steps, though. In my experience better to keep people guessing. Our May was cold and wet until just recently, then got all summery all of a sudden.

    • bittster says:

      Haha! Action steps sounds like an excellent idea, and I doubt anyone will bother keeping tabs on them to see if I followed up or not.
      But then again the guilt of looking back and seeing all that wasn’t accomplished… nahhhh, better to not put those plans in print!

  11. Indie says:

    I have a love/hate relationship with primroses in that there are varieties I love and those I don’t care for, and it might be impossible to dislike sieboldii! Gorgeous!! I always do crazy things towards the end of winter/early spring, and one of those this past year was acquire primrose seeds from overseas. Wish me luck, ha! It’s been crazy weather this past winter/spring. Happy gardening!

    • bittster says:

      I like how you think! I’m sure the primrose seed will yield something exciting, you just need a good spot to give them a chance at surviving the rough and tumble of that summer garden. Good luck!
      The weather has been exceptional here lately, or perhaps it’s just that I’m able to enjoy nearly all of it rather than being stuck inside most of the time. I wish the garden was more impressive for all this quality time we’ve been spending together 😉

  12. Oh, those lilacs!! 😀 😀

    • bittster says:

      I wish I had more room. I think a lilac meadow filled with a carpet of late daffs and bleeding hearts… and a few forget me nots… would be an incredible spot to contemplate life in.

  13. Chloris says:

    I’ve never tried Primula sieboldi from seed, I certainly will now. They are lovely.

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