Gardens in spring – part 2

I can’t leave out my own garden, right? First up, a columbine that never opened up. Looks like a shooting comet. All of the other flowers on the plant were fine. Has anyone else had this happen?

The scent of cloves permeates the front rock garden throughout the month of June.

The scent is coming from drifts of cottage pinks (Dianthus plumarius)…

Cottage pinks smell like sweet, sweet cloves
Dianthus plumarius

…and this giant Jerusalem sage (Phlomis fruticosa ‘Nana’). This is one of the first things I planted when we moved in 13 years ago. I can’t say enough good things about this plant. Drought tolerant, attractive gray-green fuzzy foliage, and copious amounts of clove-scented yellow flowers. Supposedly a smaller selection (hence the cultivar name ‘Nana’) of the regularly sized Jerusalem sage. You coulda fooled me. This thing is huge coming in at about 6 feet tall x 9 feet wide.

Gigantic Jerusalem sage covered with fragrant yellow flowers. A floral powerhouse.
Phlomis fruticosa 'Nana'

A nice cheery yellow rock garden St. John’s wort. Not sure of the species, maybe it’s Hypericum olympicum.

Yellow St John's Wort in the rock garden
Maybe Hypericum olympicum?

And, a close-up of the pink soapwort in front of it.

Another late spring favorite is the firecracker flower. Native to southern Oregon, but does fine here too. Seeds around. These flowers are almost impossible to photograph nicely because they are hanging down from the top of a 1 foot to 2 foot stalk that moves in every tiny little breeze. So here is the flower perched on a Lady’s Mantle leaf (Alchemilla mollis).

Bright red and green firecracker flower. Boom! Pop! But, too early for the 4th of July.
Dichellostemma ida-maia

My dragon arum (Dranuculus vulgaris) bloomed for the first time! I started this from seed probably about 10 years ago. Here is the full plant.

Lush leaves of dragon arum before they wither away in summer
Dranunculus vulgaris

Honestly, though. Even better than the flowers (next pic) and the leaves (above), the best part of this plant is the stem. Here’s a close-up of vegetative visual heaven.

Dappled spatter pattern on the stems of dragon arum
Dranunculus vulgaris stem

And probably what you’ve all been waiting for…The flower! This thing was huge. A good 18 inches from the base to the tip. And, yes, it stank to high heaven of rotting roadkill. Since it was hot, the smell wafted through the garden up to the house. Not nice. Luckily, the flowers only last a day or two. The really cool thing though was the pollinators. I expected the flies. They were crawling all over the spadix (the spikey part). But, down at the bottom, the spadix goes into a hole and down into a little goblet of stank just chock full of carrion beetles! There were so many, you could hear them crawling over each other. Lots of cute little black round ones a couple larger long beetles with bright red spots. Sadly, the photos didn’t turn out. Next year.

Big maroon dragon arum flower
Dranunculus vulgaris flower

Leave a Reply