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The Buttonbush ( Cephalanthus occidentalis) is an unusual shrub with curious white pincushion flowers. It is found in the wild all over the United States, usually in swamps and moist areas.  Growing up in rural Alabama, I remember seeing it in the woods behind our house.  It doesn't garner much attention until the blooms make their appearance.  Sources vary on the size of the plant. In the wild, it can get to 20 feet but in gardens, most likely under 12 ft. In my garden, it is about 4 feet tall after five years in the ground. It is located along the back fence in an area that doesn't get much supplemental water although I am working on the area and watering more often this year. The flowers have a slight honey-like fragrance. Bees love this plant! Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day for April

Rhododendron 'Blue Baron'

Time seems to be flying and things look a lot difference from last month. We are back to Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, a blogger participation event on the 15th of each month hosted by May Dreams Gardens.

And what a way to begin with the vivid violet-blue blooms of Rhododendron 'Blue Baron'. The plant itself is a bit scraggly but the blooms are a show-stopper. This is a small shrub, only about 1 foot tall.

Another beautiful rhododendron that I shared in my last post but deserves another look is 'Taurus'.

 Another beautiful red one - 'Hills Bright Red' -

Barberry 'Orange Rocket' and Spirea 'Ogon'

Clematis armandii

Camellia 'Donation'

Camellia 'Nuccio's Bella Rosa'


Rhododendron 'PJM'

Dicentra spectabilis 'Gold Heart'


Daphne tangutica



Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles 'Double Take Orange Storm') and Veronica 'Georgia Blue'


A few tulips -

Serviceberry (Amelanchier 'Autumn Brilliance')

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Gorgeous! I can't say there's any overlap between our floral displays unless you count the last of my Narcissus, rapidly beating a retreat in the face of our dry and very warm spring. Seeing your blue rhododendron makes me regret the fact that I haven't managed to grow anything in this genus in my current garden, not even the paltry few Azaleas traditionally sold locally.

  2. I remember how I longed for Camellia 'Donation' when I moved into this house 30-odd years ago. Could not find it anywhere so I settled for 'Pink Perfection'-long gone now. The shade in my garden is unfortunately totally dictated by the tree canopys of the neighbors to the south and west.

  3. Very pretty!
    Have a wonderful day!

  4. Your Vancouver garden is a quite a bit ahead of my north Seattle one. Rhododendron 'Blue Baron' is so striking! I'm still searching for Veronica 'Georgia Blue'.

  5. What a gorgeous selection of flowers, Phillip. I like the Berberis combined with the Spiraea, that's a great combination. Happy Bloom Day!

  6. The red of those first two rhodis are almost artificial looking. A beautiful color. Happy GBBD.

  7. Intense red and blue on the rhodies - so unusual and patriotic. The golden bleeding heart looks almost gawdy to me.

  8. Not only the flowers, but the photos. Gorgeous!

  9. Spring is lovely in your garden. Beautiful flowers.


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