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Late August (actually May)

May started beautifully, but ended up feeling like August with near record breaking temperatures and almost no rain. I have hope for June as we had rain and normal temperatures on May 31st. These photos range from May 5th thru May 12th.

Confederate Jasmine. This fragrant evergreen vine likes shade. I was introduced to this vine by my neighbor, Cheryl, when my nose led me to it. Our vine faces North and is growing on the backside of our house. It even grows in deep shade. Ian started some in the backyard under pine trees to cover up an old chicken wire fence.

Lavender Lavinka columbine. Julie, thank you again for this wonderful plant! I have harvested some of the seed this Spring to start some more plants.

Heirloom Lily of the Valley. This came from my grandmother's yard.

I've had it since the late 1990s. We are both vintage!

Aquilegia canadensis (wild columbine) I've had minimal success with these plants in the dry shade garden. Only one has come back this Spring. I haven't given up hope though. I still purchased three more this Spring.

Sambuca Black Lace elderberry. This is a wonderful shrub, however, it hit hard times a couple of years ago when a ground hog devoured the main branch. We purchased this plant in a tree form (one main branch). Fortunately, new shoots returned and three Springs later it is looking lovely. We are training the tallest branch to grow over a sapling support. I saw a photo of something similar in a Wayside Garden catalog. We are starting to get the effect of a flowering vine. Some people cut their's back each year to generate growth. I tried this one year, but the limbs grew horizontally and were weak. It seems that the best approach is to cut them back to the ground and let new shoots come up on their own. They will be strong and straight.

White Salvia. I have white Salvia in several locations in the yard. This one always looks good in mid Spring, but it eventually gets too floppy searching for the sun. It has more western sun exposure than east due to a nearby Silver Maple. I have transplanted this one to the other side of the garden in hopes that it will be happier there. In fact this entire garden bed is my bane. It has brief periods of interest early Spring and late summer, but most of the time it is just a wall of mid-green. I keep working on it. I'll discover the magic formula one day.

Lipstick sage. This is a woody perennial that the hummers like. It just needs some sun and a good trim in late winter or early Spring .

Some people aren't excited by rabbits, but we are. We don't see them often due to the free range pet cats in the neighborhood. This guy might have come for the clover. We like to leave a few patches around for the bees and the meadow effect.

Speaking of the meadow effect..... This self seeder, Love in a Mist or nigella damascena attracted Eastern bumble bees this year. I'm thrilled that pollinators are using this plant. I have not noticed any interest from the pollinators until this Spring. I've had these for at least three years. This wasn't a one time stop. The bees have been repeat visitors.

I've seen other mentions on line that the bees use this plant.

Yellow pin cushion flower with Love in a Mist. These reside in a small meadow style garden in the front yard . Small butterflies and bees love the pin cushion flowers.

Larkspur in the meadow garden. This is also a self seeder. Pollinators have shown little interest in these so far. The gorgeous green seed heads are on the Love in a Mist plants. I don't have a photo, but a small pink Larkspur came up this year. I'm hoping for more pink!

I think this iron butterfly is well suited for the meadow garden. Durham is fortunate to have the talented metal sculptors at Cricket Forge (Vega Metals) You can find their art at several Durham retailers. I purchased this one years ago at Zola Craft Gallery.

Not a great shot, but hey it's a Ruby throated hummer!

Louisiana Iris in the pond. I'm guessing at the name. A neighbor gave me this beauty. It looks very similar to Black Gamecock iris.

Garden on May the 11th. Very lush and verdant, right?

Just two weeks later, June 1st, a photo of the yard next door. It might even look worse than late August. Day lily fronds and even butterfly bush leaves are yellowing in our yard. The rain on May 31st and cooler temps have saved the day. We'll still get flowers.

I can't leave you with such a dreary picture. The red bee balm is one plant that appears unfazed by the unexpected weather. The photo was taken May 30th. Our wild bergamot, another form of bee balm does not like it. They should bloom in a week or two, but the plants are very wilty.

I'm looking forward to June!

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