May showers bring June flowers

That’s how the saying would go if the poet had lived in Maine. Flowers here in April are few and far between, especially when the bergenia has an off year. (I think of bergenia as indestructible, but it was a poor performer in 2012.) By May, we have:

Isatis tinctoria, Dyer’s woad. The leaves produce a blue dye famous in olden times, until it was supplanted by indigo. The blossoms are always full of bees.


Papaver alpinum, alpine poppies. Short-lived but amazingly generous in self-seeding everywhere.

papaver a

Hesperis matronalis, Dame’s Rocket. Another generous volunteer year after year.

Hesperis m

Tree peony, unknown variety because I bought it at Marden’s, our local salvage chain. The box was labeled as a yellow flowering type and I imagine that’s why it ended up there for $5.00. This plant has been growing on an exposed hillside for 15 years and has 15 buds on it this spring. I hear the peonies in the Emperor’s garden had 100 each. . .can’t wait.

peony covered in beeeeezzz

I think the buds look like strawberry ice cream cones.

single scoop

Centaurea, cornflower. This particular plant has proven a little too generous with the re-seeding – and it’s difficult to weed out, so I can’t recommend it. On the other hand, the bees love it in the morning. I’m still going to try to limit it’s range next spring.


1 thought on “May showers bring June flowers

  1. Hi Amy I see you are up and running again. Was wondering how the bees are doing? I started 4 new hives from splits this year and have harvested about 2 gallons so far. Splits came about a month apart.
    What do you do for winter hive protection? We have about the same weather up here as you do in Bar Harbor and wondering to what extent you go to for wintering over. Such as insulated covers and ventilated top boxes, outside insulation, tar-paper wrap? I think your blog would be a good place to put any info on wintering over as moisture along the coast is a problem and as they say cold doesn’t kill but moisture does.
    Thanks, John

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