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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...

Our two newest fruit trees are doing well too. On the left is a Victoria plum and in the foreground is another apple, a Braeburn. Our gorgeous old (mystery) apple tree behind them is also smothered in blossom, so we're hoping for another good harvest.

Outdoor jobs for May

I've made a start on weeding and mulching my solitary vegetable bed in readiness for sowing some sugar snap peas and carrots. Regular readers of my gardening posts will know we're more fruit fans than vegetable enthusiasts. Which is why this bed is also given over to some potted blueberries, raspberry canes, a rhubarb, and some self-sown wild strawberries. Oh, and a solitary white freesia - I have absolutely no idea where it came from, but it smells lovely!

Over in the greenhouse I'll have some potting on to do shortly. The top shelf holds some white, yellow, and pink Cosmos seedlings. The second shelf has a couple of tomato plants and stock seedlings, which will also need pricking and thinning out. (When sowing tiny seeds, sow lots and throw the weakest ones away in due course because gardening is brutal, oh yes... And the third shelf has more tomato and cucumber seedlings.

Happily, my chocolate cosmos, dahlia, and rescued sunflower seedlings (from the seedhead I'd left out for the birds last winter) will be ready for planting out soon. Along with some salvia seedlings I bought online.

I planted out our sweet pea seedlings at the end of April, tying them in to their cane wigwams. Tying in is something that I've been doing a lot of recently, making full use of last month's lovely gifted Home Bargains twine tin. I think I may have been a little heavy handed with my (yellow) Welsh poppy seed sowing last year... So I need to clear and mulch the rest of the flower beds once the alliums become visible.

May in my garden brings back fond memories of last year’s summer heatwave. We've recently invested in a proper cantilevered sunshade for the patio, and I'm very tempted by these hammocks and hanging hammock chairs* as well. I particularly like the Denim Hanging Chair. And the eucalyptus tree in our orchard has enough strong branches to take one, or even two, because Flora would never let anyone else climb in ahead of her!


All of our ponds are absolutely seething with tadpoles, and a few newts (not the endangered kind). Pond dipping gives Flora so much pleasure and it's wonderful to see how careful she is with all the aquatic life. Shoutout to Alan for keeping all the water levels and bird feeders topped up too.

He's been mowing the grass on a high setting each week, so our lawns are looking nice and healthy already. I don't know if it's just me but I think there's been an absolute explosion of dandelions this year. Yes, they're an annoying weed, especially in the middle of your nice green lawn. BUT they're also food for birds and bees. The bees adore the yellow flowers and I recently spotted a goldfinch gorging on the fluffy seedheads. And any excuse not to weed gets a thumbs up from me...

Flora's garden

Flora's new raspberry canes and solitary broad bean plant are doing well. And her purple heuchara is storming away.

And her new rose plant (grown from a cutting taken last September) is putting on slow but steady growth.

Like me, she's a fan of Clematis Montana, so we've installed a new one in front of the fence. Next to it looks like a bed of weeds but is, in fact, a collection of wildflowers. Hopefully these will bloom around June, watch this space.

And once again, she's been tardy and not weeded her path. A job for the weekend, I think :)

May in my garden

And there ends my monthly ramble through our garden, greenhouse, and orchard. May in my garden is going to be another busy month with lots of potting, planting, tying, and sowing. Plus plenty of weeding and mulching too.

But most importantly, I'm planning on taking time to stop and enjoy everything we've worked so hard to achieve. Sitting outside with a mug of tea or glass of wine and appreciating the colours, scents, and sounds of Nature. It's one of my greatest pleasures. I've said it before but it's true, my garden is my happy place and getting my hands dirty is one of my favourite acts of self-care.

What will you be doing in your garden this month? What are you looking forward to in May?

* This post has been sponsored but all opinions and photos are my own and unbiased. This post first appeared on Lisa's Notebook.

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