Darling Buds of May

Suddenly, although there is quite a bit of bare soil showing still between plants, there seem to be flowers everywhere. And not ‘just’ those purchased in our Malvern spree…

Garden border mid-May

Centaurea montana, forget-me-nots, Omphalodes 'Cherry Ingram', Geranium cinereum Subcaulescens

The handful of leftover Tulipa ‘Barcelona’ bulbs that I thrust hastily into this border towards the end of February have come into bloom – albeit only a few inches above the ground, which is quite extraordinary. The Omphalodes cappadocica ‘Cherry Ingram’ gives a burst of true blue further around the edge of this bed, and in the background you can just see the vibrant magenta Geranium cinereum Subcaulescens blooms in a gentle mist of blue forget-me-nots. There are more forget-me-nots, and splashes of deeper blue, across the garden in the form of Centaurea montana, vivid against a background of purple honesty.

Aquilegia Lime Sorbet, grown from seed

Self-seeded pink aquilegias

Aquilegias are suddenly the star of our May garden: from the nine or ten plants of A. Lime Sorbet dotted about the two main borders that I grew from seed last year, to a motley collection of self-seeded plants which I have rounded up into the borders as we developed the garden.

Deep purple aquilegia

mid-May blooms around the garden: pansy friolina, Aquilegia 'Red Hobbit', Briza media and Cirsium rivulare Atropurpurem, Melica nutans

I am particularly mesmerised by the deep purple aquilegia that sprung up beside a huge clump of purple honesty. Above, the longer-spurred A. ‘Red Hobbit’ that we bought at Malvern last year is joined by the flowering grasses, one old and one new, and the first small trailing pansy. I have raised a range of various spurred, mostly yellow, aquilegia seedlings in the greenhouse this spring that should expand this collection further next year.

blue spires of Camassia leichtlinii

Clockwise from top left: Lychnis clos-cuculi 'White Robin; Veronica gentiana 'Tissington White'; Cirsium rivulare 'Atropurpureum'

Some more recent acquisitions have joined the garden: the Camassia and Cirsium were bought a week or two ago from a nursery, while the beautiful white ragged robin and Veronica both came from the weekend’s trip to Malvern.

Viburnum plicatum 'Pink Sensation'

Horse chestnut flower and Viburnum opulus

The red-blushed corrugated leaves of our Viburnum plicatum ‘Pink Sensation’ are topped with clusters of pale pink flowerheads, while its cousin – the Snowball tree V. opulus that my Mum and Dad bought us as a wedding anniversary gift last spring – also has one or two pale green globes beginning to turn white. Above, the horse chestnut tree has managed to hold onto a handful of flower stems despite the rampaging winds, but I suspect there won’t be much of a conker harvest this autumn.

Anthriscus sylvestris 'Ravenswing'

Centranthus ruber and aubretia; Erysimum cheiri 'Blood Red'

The lovely dark foliage of Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Ravenswing’ is laced with delicate white flowers, through which the border dances when the sun shines.

Away from the main borders, Centranthus ruber, both pink and white forms, have joined the aubretia in the herb bed, and in the front garden the velvet red display from the wallflowers shows no signs of stopping.

Apple blossom in May

Strawberry flowers

It’s not all purely decorative, either. All three apple trees are bedecked with delicate blossom (even the foreshortened espalier in the aftermath of the flying trampoline), while the bed of strawberries at the feet of one of the espaliers are in full flower. The four planters of strawberries on the roof of the woodstore are in bloom also, and behind them the hawthorn tree is finally coming into blossom.

Pea flower

And the first flower on one of our peas in the kitchen garden is hopefully a sign of bountiful crops to follow.

Garden border in May: Geum rivale and alpine strawberry in the foreground

Back in the ornamental borders, the geums that my mum gave me (Geum rivale, I believe) are covered in delicate apricot flowers.

I am thrilled with how the garden is beginning to fill out, yet with so much promise still to be fulfilled. Here’s to a long and flower-filled summer ahead…

Border of flowering forget-me-nots and honesty

Visit May Dreams Gardens in its signature month to find more flowers around the world on Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.


23 thoughts on “Darling Buds of May

  1. Wow, what a beautiful garden you have! And your photography is stunning – I wish I could capture all of the flora in my local area in the same way! Enjoy your garden this summer, as I’m sure you will!

  2. I honestly don’t know how you remember all the names – your garden is looking lovely especially the aquilegias, mine are still in bud at the moment – I wish they would hurry up and open.

    • My brain seems to soak them up, though there are a few I always have to check… It does make me wonder what’s been pushed out to make space for them all! I love aquilegias, the Lime Sorbet look as lovely as I’d hoped.

    • Thanks Dave. Surprising though, would have thought you’d be drifting in flowers long before our windswept patch found enough courage…

    • Thanks Christina, I’m pleased. Still lots of various seedlings to squeeze in though, suspect I may be editing them back out again before the summer is over!

  3. I have aquilegia candensis opening for the first time, I grew it from seed last year. It is orange and yellow like an exotic cocktail.

    I do worry about you harvesting your strawberries – it looks like an extreme sport

    • That looks lovely – look forward to pictures of it. My mum gave me some seeds for A. skinneri Tequila Sunrise which is similarly coloured. After a couple of months in the fridge they have germinated now, so will hopefully flower next year.
      Heh, I can reach the front half of the strawberry planters from the ground, the back ones will require a ladder – but not too much mountaineering!

  4. I love your photos. It looks fabulous. I have aquilegias all over the place too although it is possible they might be self seeding a bit too enthusiastically. A bit of judicious editing might be a good idea but I am so bad at it!

    • Thank you. Ah, I’m not looking forward to the time when the plants I love have self-seeded too much; I’m not sure I could bring myself to pull them up either unless I could find them a good home somewhere else!

  5. Have really enjoyed a tour of your May blooms over my morning coffee Sara. Another fan of aquilegias here – it’s always a surprise what each year will bring once they have a chance to cross pollinate. I especially like your pink and white combo. Your peas look happy and healthy – not long to wait until the magic of that first taste.

    • Thanks Anna. Aquilegias are rather lovely aren’t they; one of my favourite flowers at this time of year, I look forward to seeing their offspring filling up the beds in years to come!
      The pale pink and white frilly one had self-seeded in my MIL’s garden last year, she gave it to me to take home when we dug over her back garden last summer.
      I’m looking forward to the peas – so far we have only been harvesting salad leaves and radishes this year…

  6. All your plants are looking lovely, well-behaved and absolutely gorgeous. Am green with envy. My lot still think it’s – oh, early March…. but they are getting there. Am taking laptop out into garden to prove to them what is possible.

    • They’re doing surprisingly well, considering the winds that keep buffeting us still. *sigh* Ah well, we did pick a hilltop to live on.
      Your May plants looked happy. I hope everything is spurred into summertime soon!

  7. Beautiful colours and glorious blooms! my garden is very much ‘shades of green’ at the moment, I’m late with all my hardy annual planting and I need to organise more continuity of colour in the borders. A very inspiring post 🙂

  8. Pingback: Aquilegias « Hillwards

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