May Blossoms


Hi Friends!

Such incredible Springtime extremes! Very likely, you might also be noticing extreme weather events in your little corner of the world, as coverage of terrible flooding, violent storms, devastating wildfires, and dangerous volcanic eruptions fill our news reports on a daily basis. I just returned home to the Midwest after spending several weeks visiting the Sonoran desert of Arizona. Throughout this month, my thoughts often turned to extreme weather contrasts offering just a tiny glimpse into the month of May on our fragile planet.

I boarded my flight in late April on a frosty 31 degree morning and landed a few hours later in the warm sunshine. It was such a blessing to spend a few weeks making precious memories with my parents in their lovely Southwest home. ♥♥

I enjoyed many peaceful mornings in my parents’ desert garden. Unfamiliar birdsong, gentle breezes, and mountain views nourished my soul as I worked outside very early to avoid the afternoon temperatures of 111, 108, and 106 degree days. We were experiencing typical July temperatures in May.

Pulling weeds ‘desert-style’ requires a large brimmed hat, thick gloves, and long-nosed pliers. Although I didn’t know the names of any of the weeds, it was easy to identify intruders that didn’t belong in the their tidy yard covered with tiny pebbles, smooth river rocks, and beautiful granite from the foothills of Red Mountain. The red, parched earth in their yard anchors the deep roots firmly as they reach for water.

Less than one inch of rainfall in 2018 has caused extreme drought conditions in their area. The last measurable rainfall was in January. However, my parents’ desert neighborhood is in full bloom this month. The stunning colors, against the bright blue skies, were a remarkable treat to behold!

Palo Verde tree in full bloom


Jacaranda tree filled with blossoms


Pink blossoms of the Ironwood tree


Blossom-filled stalks of the Joshua Tree

Whenever my mom and I took early morning walks, she shared fascinating facts about the desert plants. We both love the majestic Saguaro cacti. This month my mom has noticed more Saguaro blooms than she has ever seen in her 23 years in the desert.

The white blossoms not only crowned the tops and arms of the Saguaros. The blossoms lined the prickly sides of the Saguaros, too. We were in awe of these plentiful blossoms everywhere we walked. The pollinators were quite thrilled with this spectacular blossom display, as well!

Some of my solo walks became ‘Artist Dates’ as I observed…

the beautiful shadows created by the Red Yucca blossoms…

the brilliant, ombre color palette of the Mexican Bird of Paradise blossoms,

the pale, pink Prickly Pear buds that opened into sunny, yellow flowers,

and the hummingbirds sipping nectar from the blossoms of the Ocotillo cactus. I’m quite certain that some of these desert wonders will inspire watercolors in the weeks to come!


While I was away, I was so grateful that my sweet husband was keeping watch over our Midwest garden. He told me of hot weather, cold weather, huge rainstorms, and a microburst causing a tree to fall onto a home just three doors down from us. Each evening after work, he checked on the garden, sent frequent photos of our Magnolia in bloom,

and updated me on the activities of a very hungry groundhog.

(Last week, it devoured all of the buds on our Columbine plants. 😦 )

May has always been my very favorite month in the garden. I wondered if I might miss seeing my perennials in bloom with our unpredictable Spring weather. We had almost five inches of rain during my absence and I was so curious to see all of the changes!

My return flight landed late at night.

I was so excited for the dawn’s early light…

and my first peek

at my Friendship Garden!

Everything has changed so much!

I’m absolutely thrilled that the May blossoms waited for me!

Can’t wait to play in the garden!

Spring blessings!

♡ Dawn

P.S.  How is the weather in your little corner of the world?








26 thoughts on “May Blossoms

  1. Oh, Dawn, your garden looks lovely, and how thrilling it is to see your parents’ garden in bloom right now. Awesome, awesome.How you could capture the hummingbirds as you did is amazing.

    We’ve had some mighty storms lately, including today! It was so dark at 5 pm I could have mistaken it for night. Fortunately, no damage – and the tree peonies are blooming!

    Welcome back! I can’t wait to see how you interpret these beauties as time goes by.

    • Heartfelt thanks, Penny! It’s nice to be home again for a while. I will continue to plan long visits with my parents in the coming months. So, having a ‘right-size’ garden feels like a much better fit! My mom’s desert garden is lovely. I also enjoyed deadheading the spent blossoms to encourage a re-bloom. It’s amazing just how quickly things grow when it is warm all year there! Most of the photos in this post were taken on walks through my parents’ neighborhood. There was so much color everywhere! I used my iPhone to capture the hummingbirds. The Ocotillo blossoms are up so high, I actually wished I had packed my camera with a better telephoto lens. (Next time!) It also would have helped me zoom in on the Saguaro blossoms.

      Today’s storm was unbelievable! So glad to hear that all is well. I think I will be cutting the grass more often after all of this rain. It’s really growing fast! Your tree peonies must be just gorgeous again this year, Penny! Can’t wait to see photos! Hoping to visit the lilacs soon. I’ll bet they are in full bloom now! Thank you so much for always being here, Penny! I know this is a very busy time for you, my friend! ♡

  2. The desert is so amazing! How can such beautiful blooms exist in such extremes of heat and drought? It is truly a wonder! The Palo Verde tree caught my eye because it looked like my Jerusalem Thorn. A quick google confirmed it! The Latin name is Parkinsonia Aculeata and is in the pea family of all things! Someday I will tell you the story of our Jerusalem Thorn and how it came to live with us. It has since graced us with another tree in our pasture, complements of some bird I am sure!😀 Mine is blooming now, but it always amazes me that in the heat of summer when everything else is spent, that tree will put forth it’s yellow blooms! Also beautiful is my desert willow tree, with pink blossoms similar in color to the ironwood tree, but not in clusters. In fact the desert willow is in the catalpa tree family. As a child in Ohio we had a catalpa tree by our house and I used to string the blossoms on thread to make a lei of sorts!
    I laughed at the image of you out there in your wide brimmed hat with gloves and needle nosed pliers….weeding! Yes everything in the desert either stings ya, stabs ya, sticks you or bites you!! This past weekend I removed a large prickly pear cactus from the yard, I have a different vision for that spot! Let me just say it was exhausting and even gloves didn’t fully protect my hands!
    While the desert holds aluring blooms I prefer the gentleness of a mid west garden. It is softer and gentler and I feel there is peace there! And the picture of your yard and picket fenced garden is a prime example! I wish I could spread a blanket and read there. Enjoy!
    We have had over 3 inches of rain in the month of May; Mom and I are pulling weeds with a frenzy. We are already hitting near the 100 degree mark, so the growth of everything will slow soon enough. Enjoy your spring!

    • Springtime is my favorite time to visit the Sonoran desert, Chris! Right now, everything that could possibly bloom is in full bloom! When the high temperatures of Summertime arrive, the wild desert will turn brown. Wildfires will become a very real threat! Many of the landscape plants that I photographed on our walks through the neighborhood are on a drip system providing water. There are lots of citrus trees nearby that also rely on the drip systems to produce large amounts of fruit.

      Chris, you perfectly described desert gardening! Fortunately, there aren’t as many weeds most of the time. However, a dust storm or a haboob, carries weed seeds from across the entire valley and drops them everywhere. They lie dormant until the next rain and then the weeding begins.

      I have always loved the unique shapes and forms of the desert plants! The Saguaros, Ocotillos, Prickly Pears, Joshua Tree, and so many more look like pieces of art and architecture in gardens and in the wild. (Although there are many Palm trees, they are not native to the Arizona desert.) The native plants and their blossoms have always fascinated me! They are so different from anything that grows in the Midwest.

      Many of the desert creatures are way beyond my comfort zone, however.:( Over the years, I have learned how to stay safe when the rattlesnakes are waking up from hibernation. This visit, I had a close encounter with a scorpion. Too close for comfort! I’m delighted to see the jackrabbits, road runners, the quail, and the hummingbirds anytime. 🙂

      I wondered if your Texas landscape has many of the same desert plants, Chris. So happy to know about your Jerusalem Thorn! The Palo Verde is an amazing tree, with its pale green trunk and limbs. It is often the “mother tree” that shades the young Saguaros as they grow and mature.

      So true, Chris. While I love to visit the desert (actually, it’s my dear parents that attract me to the area!!♥♥), I will always prefer the gentleness of our Midwest gardens. Soft, lush, and oh-so green, with all of our recent rains. I’ll try not to complain about our mosquitoes and hungry groundhogs. Perhaps I’ll complain a wee bit. *wink* They are more of a nuisance as we garden here. I feel so blessed, however, to have the chance to learn to garden in both the desert Southwest and the Midwest from my sweet mom! I think both of our moms could be good friends, just like their daughters. 🙂 Gardeners are always so friendly, love to share plants, and love to chat over the garden gate (just like we do here!). Thanks for always being here, Chris! I always learn interesting, new things from you! Sunny hugs! ♡

    • Many thanks, Marcia! It’s such a crazy, mixed up weather cycle this Spring. You really have had heavy rains in Maryland! I’m sure you are enjoying the views of the lush, green everywhere from your balcony. What a treat that you were able to travel during Springtime, without having to worry about a garden a home! Marcia, you visited so many of my very favorite places in Europe on this trip. I’ve been saving all of the email alerts to your posts until I can sit and enjoy them with a cup of tea… and reminisce! It will be so nice to revisit these special places via your blog! Welcome home, Marcia! Thanks so much for stopping to visit today and joining in the conversation here. Sending sunshine! ♡

  3. Dawn, thanks so much for sharing the beautiful desert blooms…they are absolutely beautiful. Happy that you didn’t have any damage at your home while you were away. From the sounds of it, you need a Have-a-heart trap to catch that groundhog.

    • Oh, thank you, Karen! It was very comforting to know that my husband was here to check on everything while I was away. One evening, when he arrived home from work, our street was blocked with firetrucks and police cars. A microburst (intense, small-scale downburst during a thunderstorm) caused a huge tree to fall on our neighbor’s home. Fortunately, they were not at home, so no one was injured. Their home has been repaired and a new, small tree has already been planted to replace the huge tree. I was so grateful for my husband’s nightly updates and photos of the changes in the garden. My parents and I were able to enjoy our Magnolia in bloom from across the miles. We will definitely check out the trap you mentioned, Karen. It would be nice to move the groundhog to a nearby wooded area where he could nibble to his heart’s content! Hope your Florida garden is bringing you glorious smiles and joy this Spring! Thanks for being here, Karen! Sending hugs! ♡

  4. What amazing sights you have shared of the beautiful desert blossoms, Dawn. I’ve always wanted to see the blooming desert–maybe one day. I’m so glad you and your mother enjoyed morning walks and talks about gardening. As I’ve said before, I would have no idea how to garden in the desert. Your mother must be a wealth of knowledge about gardening there. I hope she and your father are doing well. I was thinking about them the other day. Your garden treated you with such a lovely welcome home. John surely took care of everything so beautifully. I always love seeing your pretty garden. Now that you have returned home I hope you are enjoying every moment you can spend there.
    Our weather has been quite warm and humid and quite wet! We’ve had over four inches of rain this month and there will be more in the rain gauge tonight as it’s raining now.
    Welcome back home, my sweet friend. Have a lovely week back home. ♥

    • Huge hugs for your kind thoughts, Martha Ellen! It’s definitely a different kind of gardening, but I love being out in nature and nurturing the flowers. Blue skies and mountains views were an added treat! I love taking walks with my mom and learning all about the plants we pass. She has been sharing her love of plants with me my whole life. I’m so grateful to have inherited my passion for flower gardening from my dear mom!💕

      I spent the whole afternoon in my garden today. Ahhhh… such a treat! Yesterday we had 1.5 inches of rain, so it was very easy to pull weeds. I transplanted the Rosemary and Cinnamon Basil plants that I overwintered in our sunny dining room. They are back in my Herb Garden for the Summer. The next few days will be sunny and warmer. Everything will grow very quickly now! I think of you so often, my friend! I brought along stationery to write you a letter, but I never had a chance. Wishing you and Grayden happy, healthy days and a nice holiday weekend!💗

    • Many thanks, Judy! I’m looking forward to watching your garden evolve in the coming years! Dwarf Korean Lilacs are on my wish list. I’m planning a few more changes in two garden beds next year. So exciting… and lots of work, too! Wishing you a great Memorial Day weekend, my friend!💗

  5. Dawn, what a study in contrasts spending part of spring in the cold, wet midwest, and the exceedingly hot (and out of season heat) desert. I’m glad you could spend several weeks with your parents, and how sweet to have your husband send you garden updates from home. You have a gorgeous garden, a lovely reflection of you.

    I can not imagine so little rain! I know how hard it was here during the recent five-year drought, and that was nothing compared to your parent’s one-inch rainfall.

    I broke into a smile when you described using pliers while pulling weeds. Ohmygoodness that’s funny, and brutal. I hope the rest of your season behaves in a moderate fashion, but it’s hard to know what’s in store for us. Here we’re enjoying a mild May, one of the coolest in recent memories. You’ll get no complaints from me as I much prefer moderate temps, but it does feel different to be starting a memorial day weekend with cold feet and the need of a sweater. On of the positives is the longevity of my sweet peas out front and nasturtiums in back. They both general volunteer in the fall, and hang around till the first heat wave. Then they fold up shop. So far, so good. Welcome back.

    • It really has been an unusual Spring for us in the Midwest, Alys! We have been riding on a ‘wild weather’ roller coaster! Today we reached 97 degrees. Perennials with small buds a few days ago are suddenly in full bloom! I was so surprised to see so much color early this morning while I was cutting the grass. 😊 It’s time to begin picking flowers to fill vases! On Wednesday, we are expecting heavy rains to reach us ~ remnants from tropical storm Alberto. So, it looks like we will be on this roller coaster ride for a while. Hope you and your family are enjoying a nice holiday weekend together, Alys! Wishing you happy days in your ‘new’ garden, sweet friend!💗

      • Dawn, 97 is brutal! I hope you were able to find a place to cool off. We’ve been watching the weather channel off and on to get updates on Alberto. It seems like hurricane season just ended and here we are again. Perhaps because we’ve done so little to help in Puerto Rico. What a tragedy.

        I digress! I’m so happy you’re enjoying full blooms. Will the rain you get bring warm humidity or will it be a cooler storm? It is a roller coaster indeed. We’ve had a nice three-day weekend, part with family and part with friends, but too hot today for the garden. I’m so glad I got my big projects done through the cooler days of early spring. Enjoy all those cut flowers.

      • Oh, my goodness, Alys! I just discovered this comment hiding as I scrolled waayyyyyy down today. My sincerest apologies, my friend !
        I’ve been talking with a few people who have planned lovely trips to Puerto Rico recently. They all raved about the wonderful welcome and amazing times they had on the island this Summer. I’m so glad to know that the tourists are coming back, helping the people and their economy. Maybe tourism dollars will help in ways our government hasn’t over the past year.

        Heavy Springtime rains have made our Midwest gardens so lush and colorful. My perennials are blooming about two weeks later than last Summer, but the blossoms are huge and so plentiful. How does your garden grow, my friend? Maybe we should plan a Skype-walk together through our gardens one day this Summer? I think it would be great fun!
        Thanks so much for always being here, Alys! Wishing you and your family a very Happy 4th of July! ♡

  6. You have such a wonderful eye for nature’s beauty. Loved seeing both the blooming desert as well as your green Friendship Garden. Mom and I explored the Sonoran Desert one May (which is her middle name.) She turned 97 this month and loved seeing your photos.

    • Very belated, heartfelt thanks, dear Anne! Seeing the desert in full bloom in Springtime always awakens my Winter-weary soul. Best of all, by the time I return home, my Midwest perennials welcome me with a colorful show, too! What could be sweeter than enjoying two very different Springtimes? It’s always so special to me since Spring is my very favorite season of all.
      I’m so happy to hear that your mom enjoyed the photos. Please give her a BIG birthday hug from me! I treasure our long friendship, dear Anne! Thanks for always being here! ♡

    • Wishing you delightful June days in your Savannah garden, Jayne! I was so blessed to enjoy the peak bloom time desert and then to return to my own garden in time to enjoy Springtime in full bloom.

      We had over eight inches of rain here in May (our wettest May on record)! During the last week of May, everything seemed to blossom overnight. It is truly breathtaking at the moment! Upon returning from a few weeks in the desert, I am constantly aware of the ‘lush’ greenery all around me. Earlier this week, remnants of subtropical storm Alberto reached our area, dropping over three inches of rain in two hours! After a hot week, this morning we woke up to cool breezes. Sending refreshing breezes your way, Jayne! Your garden must be absolutely beautiful at the moment. Thanks so much for stopping to visit today!💗

  7. Dawn such wonderful desert pics. I have a friend that lives part if the time in AZ & part up east. To say I had AZ envy this past cold long winter was a understatement. But we are warming up ourselves now…Your beautiful garden shows that. So enjoy your posts and pics.

    • So great to hear from you, Cynde! Springtime is my favorite time to visit the Arizona desert. Snow flurries were falling at home as I left for the airport. I landed three hours later to everything in full bloom. Instant Springtime! It was so nice to spend this precious time with my parents. It was such a treat to find my garden putting on a colorful show when I returned home! I thought I might miss the Springtime blossoms here… but they waited for my return. I was truly delighted! Hope you are enjoying happy days in your garden, too! Thanks so much for stopping by, Cynde. Warm hugs!💗

  8. Dawn, those desert flowers look so interesting and lovely! I hope you had a great trip. It’s always nice to come back home, though, especially with your garden waiting for you. ❤ Stay well xo

    • Thanks, Chris! I treasure every precious moment that I spend with my parents. Years ago, my mom helped me grow into a gardener. So, it gives me such joy to help in her desert garden now! Although I thought I might miss the Springtime colors in my garden, most of the blossoms waited for my return. It was our wettest May on record and June seems to be following the same pattern.

      How is your garden growing this Spring? I think of you when I am in my Herb and Tea Garden, Chris. I didn’t plant Pineapple Sage (yet) this Spring. It always reminds me of you! Thanks so much for stopping to visit today. Wishing you a great week ahead, Chris! 💗

      • Aw, that’s so sweet, Dawn. I bet your parents were so glad to have you with them, and it’s great that your garden waited for you! My garden is coming along pretty well this year. We already have lots of lettuce and some collard greens, and the herbs and snap peas are coming in pretty nicely. We have a few little tomatoes and peppers starting to bud, and strawberries! They’re so tiny but still so sweet and delicious.

      • Oh, Chris! Your garden is truly flourishing. I can only imagine all the fresh meals that you and Todd will create all summer long. You definitely have a green thumb, sweet friend. Wishing you happy summer days! 💗

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