Sun Loving Plants Blooming in May

May is one of my favorite months to spend in the garden, as flowers are plentiful and temperatures are still delightful. The garden is constantly changing so I walk daily to see what is emerging and enjoy other blooms as they fade. For this post, I'm sharing a few sun loving plants on the south and east facing gardens.

Baptisia australisa is one plant that we have incorporated in many flower beds. The bumblebees that are constantly buzzing around its blue flowers are mesmerizing. Check out my video on Instagram to see the bees working the flowers.

These native flowers have a spectacular blue color and the seed pods that form after pollination are just as remarkable.

Because I am so fond of the wild indigo, I am experimenting with two cultivars, 'Pink Lemonade' and 'Dutch Chocolate'.

The dark purple, almost black, flowers of 'Dutch Chocolate' pairs nicely with the yellow bearded irises from my mother's garden.

'Pink Lemonade' has soft yellow blooms that fade to a stunning lavender. Ours grow on a slope where it shines against the pink evening primrose, hot pink creeping phlox, and blue-eyed grass. Other plants that will follow their bloom time, shown in the photo below, are narrow leaf mountain mint, rattlesnake master, and purple coneflower.

My observations are that the bumblebees are just as fond of these Baptisia cultivars. The Mt. Cuba Center did some trials on various cultivars. You can see their findings here.

Nearby the fragrant mimosa (Mimosa borealis) shrub is in full bloom. Its dainty, yet showy, fragrant blooms are characteristic of mimosa flowers and enjoyed by pollinators.  Native to Texas and a few of its surrounding states, we purchased them locally at GSU Perimeter College native plant sale years ago as a specimen plant in our garden.

In the front porch garden, the golden alexanders have finished flowering and the gaillardia are holding down the fort until the butterfly weed and rudbeckia begin to bloom.

Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica) 'Henry's Garnet' is a prolific bloomer. An easy to grow shrub, we have it in several flower beds around our garden, including the space between the house and walk to the front door. I hope the Amazon delivery folks have been enjoying the blooms these last weeks.

I love the arching branches, which give it a willowy look. The flowers that emerge in late April and bloom through May are visited by bees and butterflies. The tree frogs also like to hang out in this shrub, where they blend with the foliage.

Itea virginica above stack stone wall and path to kitchen garden. Notice brown turkey fig in back.

Tip: For Mother's Day this year, we cut flowers from our garden and discovered that Itea lasts a long time as a cut flower.

Virginia sweetspire and wild indigo in vase
The penstemon has been prolific this year. We have two colors in our front bed. The foxglove beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis), with its crisp white blooms, are particularly fabulous in the evening.

The penstemon 'Prairie Twilight' was added to accent the dark leaves on the redbud (Cercis canadensis) 'Forest Pansy' and pink blooms of the yarrow.

Penstemon make good container plants too. Here's Bella showing off our patio container.

The Southern Wax Myrtle (Morella cerifera), has unremarkable blooms to the human eye, but bees adore them. Our shrubs are abuzz with busy bees, and when their work is done, berries will form  supporting birds throughout fall and winter.

I'm days late for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. This seems to be how I roll these days. Graciously hosted by May Dreams Gardens, I encourage you to pop over to Carol's blog and see what fellow gardeners from around the globe have blooming in their gardens. It's always an inspiration. 


  1. Fabulous blooms! Love the Mimosa borealis.

    1. The blooms are fabulous but be warned it has some pretty wicked thorns. But deer don't touch it!

  2. Much to celebrate in your garden, Karin. Thanks for the tip on the Itea cut flowers. I'm hoping mine survived the winter; they're slow in coming back to life this spring. So many good ideas here!

    1. It's been a cooler than normal spring so maybe it is being cautious. Hope it comes back and blooms beautifully for you soon.

  3. So lovely! I planted some Baptisia in the garden last year as well and am so looking forward to seeing how it does (hopefully it gets a lot bigger!) this year. The Dutch Chocolate & Pink Lemonade is gorgeous. You've also reminded me to add Penstemon to my list - every fling I discover one or two new plants, and that one was "discovered" in Denver.

    1. Both worthy plants and great for supporting pollinators. Did you look at the link of all the Baptisia trialed at Mt. Cuba Center? So many gorgeous cultivars to choose from!

    2. Just took a look at the doc - such a wealth of information! I've saved it and will definitely refer to it when choosing more varieties for the garden (and there definitely will be more!)

  4. What wonderful bits of beauty, even the dog!

    Feel free to share at My Corner of the World

  5. I love Baptisias! I had a big one I lost to the sewer repair project. Now I'm planting some young ones but it will be years before they reach a comparable size.


Post a Comment

One of my favorite things about blogging is the conversation with readers. Leave a comment and let's get talking. ~Karin

Popular Posts