Flower Time

Visitors have described Chickadee Gardens as a foliage garden rich with textures. While it's true that to me foliage is more important than flowers (whose blooms can be fleeting), it's also true that I love color. This is the beginning of prime flower season, so let's indulge and celebrate the flower floozie in all of us and take a look at what's happening on this two-acre parcel of dreams and see what colors we can find. Some are subtle and pale while the farther away you are from the house the hotter they become.

It is certainly California poppy season. The traditional orange as well as Eschscholzia californica 'Alba' seed around in the sunnier areas, the orange blending in with the hotter colors of the garden while the white and cream colored ones harmonize with purple and blue hues. This shot also includes Oregon sunshine, Eriophyllum lanatum, in the background.

Pops of bright color beginning their season of bloom on the outer edges of the garden.

Abutilon 'Mother of Pearl' in a shady pot by our front porch.

Baptisia in yellow (there's a blue one in there, too, and they were given to me as simply B. australis) start the yellow and blue show in this part of the dry labyrinth garden. 

Delosperma 'Fire Spinner' has spread nicely and is pretty much the inspiration for color choices in this part of the dry garden.

While neither Arctostaphylos 'Saint Helena' nor Ceanothus 'Italian Skies' in this shot are fully in bloom, they are quite a presence in this part of the garden which gave me pause. The ceanothus on the right is just finished with its flurry of blue blossoms.

Sambucus nigra 'Thundercloud' pink flowers and bronze cast to the foliage are a winning combination.

Salix eleagnos var. angustifolius in the center of the labyrinth with an unknown variety of Lavandula stoechas in the foreground.

Persicaria affinis, Heuchera 'Old La Rochette' and Erigeron karvinskianus ‘Profusion’ are a study in shades of pink.

Kniphofia thompsonii, a fairly new addition to the garden, is tucked into a frothy mix of perennials in the dry garden and really adds a bit of structure. This is my favorite kniphofia by a long shot.

Dianthus 'Frostfire' had been nearly destroyed by critters tunneling through, in and under it last fall. I kept giving it some love hoping it would recover, and it certainly did. I'm not too surprised as dianthus are generally tough plants. I see no evidence of critters any longer, perhaps the hawks took care of them.

Parahebe catarractae at the white end of the berm garden.

Good ol' Lobelia 'Crystal Palace' - one annual I can get on board with.

In the heart of the labyrinth garden, many mounding sub shrubs, shrubs and grasses are poised to bloom very soon. Santolina virens in the foreground.

An unknown lupine backed by another unknown plant, a vining lonicera of some sort. There was a suggestion this lupine might be a Texas bluebonnet, however they are annuals and this is this lupine's third year. In any event it's a happy accident and I enjoy the color combination.

Nepeta 'Walker's Low'

Saxifraga x urbium 'Variegata' makes an excellent front-of-the-border shade plant (well, a bit of sun but not all day sun) and spreads nicely to form a colony.

I am not a fan of Euphorbia species in general, but E. 'Dixter''s great orange flower got my attention. This is not a re-seeder like other euphorbias, so it may stay.

Stachys 'Helen von Stein' paired with white flowers in the berm garden.

A wide shot of part of the labyrinth garden with the hoophouse in the background.

Tetrapanax papyrifer while not blooming, is just very cool. I guess I gravitate towards foliage and textures naturally.

Geranium harveyi is a good small-scale groundcover or if it were spilling over a ledge, it would look fantastic. It's a sun lover and handles dry soil quite well. Pretty silver foliage is why I grow this one, but the flower is sweet.

Stipa gigantea is in full bloom right now and is so showy and breezy, I could do a whole post just on it.

Dianthus deltoides 'Flashing Light' is a tiny little carnation in full sun in a rather dry part of the garden. It thrives and looks so sweet. The flowers are quite small, so not as showy as big pink pom pom kinds of dianthus but I prefer the electric rose color of this any day.

Baptisia australis, once settled in the garden is so carefree. The pollinators seem to be especially attracted to it.

Erigeron karvinskianus ‘Profusion’ seeds about profusely, I see why it was named as such. It's still a pretty frothy romantic filler of a plant and handles dry soil and sun quite well.

Penstemon 'Electric Blue' - I have tried so many Penstemon heterophyllus (Electric Blue, Margarita BOP, Blue Springs) in the garden and 90% of them pitter out and die after a year. This one, ironically purchased via mail order from High Country Gardens, has lived the longest and is the prettiest. The irony is I work for a mail-order (and retail) nursery, I had to order one from another state apparently to get a keeper.

Heuchera, poppies and Oregon sunshine, all hot colors at the outer reaches of the garden.

Clematis durandii is really more indigo colored in person, although it reads on the purple side in this photo. A drought-tolerant clematis, it is in the labyrinth garden.

Heuchera 'Old La Rochette' backed by Hebe 'Quicksilver' make for a pleasing color combination.

Amsonia hubrichtii is a fabulous foliage plant for autumn color as it turns glowing orange, but its flowers are also quite lovely and a pretty sky blue color.

Teucrium chamaedrys line the edge of this border. Evergreen, drought tolerant, easily clipped to shape if desired, it will soon also bloom with spikes of purple flowers that the bumblebees go nuts for. Off to the side is Nepeta 'Dropmore' with Cotinus 'Pink Champagne' behind it, both beginning to bloom.

The Eryngium giganteum (Miss Wilmott's Ghost) wall of plants. I did not plant one of these. A couple showed up two years ago and now I have a forest where my gravel path once was. 

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Chickadee Gardens has been described by more than one person as primarily a foliage or texture garden, so I leave you with this parting shot. Not much in the way of flowers, but soon the hebes and cistus will be blooming. I just liked the textures of this Hebe 'Karo Golden Esk', one of the most asked about plants in my garden.

Flowers, color, foliage, texture . . . they are all part of my garden. The waves of interest come and go, peak and plummet and I simply try to appreciate it as it happens. I hope you've enjoyed a tromp through a small part of the garden and a few of its flowers in early June.

Okie dokie, that's a blooming wrap for this week at Chickadee Gardens. As always thank you so much for reading and commenting, we love hearing from you all! Happy gardening!


  1. Miss Wilmott has apparently found her spot in your garden. That is hilarious. Your garden is lovely as always.

    1. Ha ha...I'm glad you see the humor in it, it is so funny! I just grin every time I see it. It's impenetrable!

  2. As I've acknowledged my inner flower floozie, I of course love this post. I enjoyed your mass of California poppies, especially as my problems in growing them persist, here where they should grow with abandon. I sowed more seeds again this year but haven't seen more that a few in the two locations I chose this year - I'm blaming our extremely low rainfall this year. A Euphorbia that doesn't rampantly self-seed is appealing so I'll be on the look-out for that one.

    1. Aw, glad you are a floozie, too ;)

      It's so odd you can't grow California poppies. So odd! Yes, perhaps rainfall is to blame (lack thereof).

      Euphorbia 'Dixter' is worth seeking out - that or 'Fire Glow' or 'Fire Charm' - all very similar and stay put in our gardens.

  3. I love your garden. Such verve!

  4. I loved your pictures and your color combinations. I guess I’m a flower floozie too! Happy gardening to you. Gayle

    1. Woo hoo...here's to the flower floozies of the world!! :)

  5. Spring is such an exciting time with everything bursting in to bloom. Don't think I would describe your garden as a 'foliage one' but one where the foliage highlights the blooms really well. Just the right balance. Especially taken with the Oregon Sunshine. Can't help but smile.

    1. Spring is amazing around here,

      Thank you for your description of the garden, I never really thought of this as a strictly foliage garden, but others seem to see it that way. The Oregon sunshine - so cheerful indeed! Glad you like it!

  6. Anonymous11:12 AM PDT

    your NOID lavender looks an awful lot like my 'Marshwood'...an absolute favorite. We foliage floozies do still get a kick out of the shots of color about now.

    1. Aaah, thank you Rickii. I think you are right, I've wondered about that one!


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