May in my garden

It's May in my garden again already, where is this year going? I think it may have something to do with the recent glorious Easter sunshine, but our garden has just exploded with Spring colour. Warning: this is going to be a VERY photo-heavy post because there is just so much going on this month!

What's flowering now?

Sadly, with one or two exceptions, many of our tulips failed to flower. However, they are well over five years old and most of them are in pots. Looking on the bright side though, that means I can go shopping this Autumn and stock up with lots of lovely new varieties and colours <grin>.

But our aquilegias are all having a moment. Many people uproot them because they do have a tendency to self-seed with abandon, but I think they're beautiful. A proper wildflower that comes in all colours and grows happily just about anywhere. Including this deep purple one that's popped up in our greenhouse.

Last year I collected some seed pods and shook them over any bare patch of ground I could find. And I'm delighted to see some new baby plants beginning to poke through now.

Our Viburnum Opulus Roseum at the front of the house is flowering beautifully. Nicknamed the snowball bush, the blooms start off pale green and over time turn white, a stunning contrast with the bright green leaves. And they work beautifully as cut flowers mixed in with some fragrant pale purple sprigs from our lilac bush. Alan bought this twiggy youngster from a Poundstore about five years ago and it's now taller than me...

On the edible front, the wild garlic is starting to grow in our woodland area - garlic pesto will be on the menu soon. And a very early borage plant is providing nectar for the bees and pretty blue decorations for my gin and tonics :) Fun fact: did you know that pansy flowers are edible? I've used them in salads before, and I've been told you can decorate cakes with them too.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may remember me berating myself recently about always having pulled up my stocks after they'd finished flowering. And sowing seeds again every Spring, not realising they were perennials. Well, these plants grew on happily throughout winter and just look at them now - gloriously bright and fragrant. Lesson learned.

You may also recall that last May I bought a cheap end of season Brunnera Jack Frost, whose pretty silver foliage and tiny blue flowers are lighting up a shady corner. Much like my beloved white Dicentras in our woodland area. Honestly, end of line shade-loving perennials are such a good buy. Tip: don’t worry about dead foliage on sale plants, as long as the roots haven't dried out. A quick soak in a bucket of water before planting out and they'll be absolutely fine.

Talking of planting out, how gorgeous are the vibrant pink flowers on one of our rhododendrons? And the scented blue bee-magnet flowers on the Ceanothus? Both were in pots for quite a while but ever since they've been in the ground, they've flourished. Now they need very little watering or other maintenance.

Flora told me that "something smells quite nice by the pond," the other day, and that will be the pink-yellow wallflowers next to the blue ajuga. They do have a heady fragrance, which is out of all proportion to their size. And I adore my beautiful Clematis Montana shrouding our side of the orchard wall. She also hangs all over our neighbour's side too although, luckily, they don't seem to mind.

What's sprouting now?

The early spring blossom on some of our fruit trees has given way to baby fruits. From left to right we have kiwis, damsons, and pears. I'm so excited about the damsons, this is the first year we've ever had more than three fruits. And this year the tree is smothered already. Provided the birds don't nab them all, I might be making damson gin and damson jam with our own fruits in Autumn, as well as raiding our neighbour's tree. Fingers crossed...