May Flowers in Sonoma (part of May Flowers blog project)

Today is my post for the May Flowers group blog project organized by natural perfumer and artist Roxana Villa of Illuminated Perfume. You can visit her Illuminated Perfume blog to find links to the fun and creative May Flower posts that have been made every day in May by other participants in the project. Thanks very much, Roxana, for including me!

My topic is “May Flowers In Sonoma,” and I’ll share flowers from my own garden as well as ideas for places to visit in Sonoma to see spring flowers (some still coming for this year and others to plan for in spring of next year). I’ll start with a quick rundown of spring flower visits you can make in my area.

May Flowers To See In The Sonoma Area:

Wildflower Walks: This spring from March 27 through May 22 free wildflower walks were offered in the local parks with experts who taught how to identify our wildflowers. If you want to partake next spring you can find more info at We have beautiful fields of blue lupine in some areas each spring, along with wild iris and many other wildflowers.

Perfume Rose Fields: Each May the perfume roses bloom at Russian River Roses, and they have open days when you can come to see them.

Garden Tours: Each spring and summer various organizations hold open gardens at some of the large estates in the area, and some of the large wineries have gardens open for viewing as well. One way to check for these events is in the local newspaper called the Press Democrat.

Lavender Fields: In summer you can walk the 2 acres of beautiful lavender fields at Matanzas Creek Winery (6097 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa; 707-528-6464, It starts to bloom in late May but peaks in mid to late June and is quite spectacular. There is still plenty of time this year before the bloom peaks (it is too early yet to go) so if you are going to be in the area in June it might be a fun stop. They have a nice garden video tour.

May Flower Photos In My Garden:

Here are some May photos I’ve taken of flowers in my garden. The first is clematis viticella with rose Madame Alfred Carriere on my arbor:

The next is the climbing rose Awakening (a baby of New Dawn):

And this is how Awakening grows on the front porch post. I need to train it better — it’s gotten big! This photo is a bit washed out from the bright sun so the pink color looks lighter than it is (the close-up shows the flower better but this shows the climber aspect):

This is my long back planter box with ferns at one end and blooms of geranium Biokovo and heuchera tumbling out of the planter:

Here are some California poppies in a soft rosy color rather than the native bright orange. They are in a pot on the deck but I want to try to get them to naturalize in the garden:

Here is the shade area by the Japanese maples under the oaks where geranium and heuchera bloom in May:

Here is the single-petaled shrub rose called Ballerina. It blooms many times throughout the summer starting in May, and although it has no fragrance the shrub is nice enough to make up for that.

Here is a very similar shrub rose to Ballerina but with red flowers instead of pink. It’s called Marjorie Fair. This one is still young and not very big yet.

Here is a close-up of a little geranium in the shade:

Here are a couple small iris pallida plants in bloom with geranium behind them. This is the type of iris that is used in perfume, but it is the root rather than the flower that is used. The roots provide a natural source of irones, which are aroma chemicals used in violet and iris accords. Iris absolute, or orris, smells quite woodsy and earthy but also with floral tones. The plant has foliage with white or creamy yellow stripes and is attractive even when not blooming, providing a bright spot in the garden. My plants shown here are young and not very big yet, but my larger ones are not blooming this week so I photographed these newer little ones instead.

Here is the little crop of sweet peas just picked this morning. Wish I could send their scent out from this photo! Yummy.

I posted this photo last year; it’s not of flowers but is looking off the back deck with the ferns in the foreground and an oak just off the deck. I love the oaks. 🙂

That’s it for photos for today! Happy May Flowers!

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  1. How glorious Laurie, this post makes me want to get in a car and drive up to Sonoma NOW! These links you’ve posted with local activities are terrific as is your garden. Thank you so much for participating in this fun May Flowers project. oxox

  2. Thanks Roxana! It was fun to get the camera out and see what I could snap this past week. You live in a great area for wildflowers too — I remember you posted some pretty wildflower pictures on your blog. Thanks for organizing the month of May Flowers! 🙂

  3. Hi Laurie,

    I love your May Flower’s ideas! I need to make it up to Matanzas Creek Winery to see the lavender. Russian River Roses is a lot of fun, too, I went last year to pick roses and distill them , it was wonderful. You have a gorgeous garden! Love the roses and clematis!

    Thank you~Laurie

    1. Hi Laurie! I’ve admired the photos of your garden on your site! You have a really special spot. Your garden looks more established than my garden — it’s clearly had a lot of great TLC!

      My parents take walks in a nearby park and said the lupine was really pretty this year. Those wildflower walks sound fun. Glad you enjoyed Russian River Roses! Thanks for stopping by the blog!

    1. Hi Ann, thanks! The sweet peas are special to me since they only come for a short time each spring. The one good thing about our weird cool spring this year is that it’ll keep the sweet peas blooming longer before our heat sets in!

  4. Oh my! Can I come live with you???? I do not have a green thumb, but adore flowers. Your garden is SO gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Elizabeth! It’s not very big (contained behind the deer fence), but it’s stuffed with flowering plants. I really enjoy the garden — it brings a lot of pleasure.

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