Adding splashes of color and height to the May garden are a number of unexpected columbines of mixed parentage. Some are single colors while others are bicolored. Note the long spurs behind the purple flowers while the bicolored ones have short spurs. The spurs actually contain the nectaries that hummingbird adore. ANDREW MESSINGER
This is one of our native Thalictrums (pubescens) found on Long Island. It prefers a shady and damp location while the garden varieties will tolerate full sun. ANDREW MESSINGER
Baptisia "Lemon Marange" is much denser than "Royal Candles" with bright yellow flowers that last up to two weeks. The purple in the background is from Thalictrum "Black Stockings." ANDREW MESSINGER
Thalictrum "Black Stockings" towers over just about all the other June garden plants aside from some Lilium. A large and tall plant, it puts on a wonderful show from May into June but it can take a good deal of space. ANDREW MESSINGER
Baptisia "Royal Candles" has a lupine-like flower, but the plant is much hardier than a lupine as well as being a reliable perennial. Small plants may take a few years to be a great performer, but then they never stop. ANDREW MESSINGER
The Japanese maple to the left was only 2 feet tall when the Crocosmia bulbs were planted to the right of it. Now the maple shades the Crocosmia most of the day, causing the leaves, then the long arching flower stalks, to lean far forward toward the sun causing the stems to weaken and fall. Late in the summer when the plants go dormant they can be lifted, the bulbs harvested and moved to a sunnier location.
One fine body…