May Review

It’s a year since I first posted an end-of-month review, and what a difference – besides the lack of sunshine today.

Recovering a garden from the rubble, end of May 2011

 Wide view of garden end of May 2012

Weather aside, the piles of building debris – which we had spent a long weekend tidying up a couple of weeks before taking the top photo above! – have finally been cleared, the lawn re-seeded, borders created and planted, and a garden is now emerging, the phoenix from the ashes.

Young field border, end of May 2011

Field border, end of May 2012

A year ago, this border was partially created and had just been planted. I can scarcely believe how much more established it looks already. Plants like the Sambucus nigra have grown through the year to fill out much of the space. By mid-summer it was overflowing with lush foliage and colourful flowers; in a couple of months’ time it should truly begin to settle into its stride this year.

First flowers on yellow rose, end of May 2012

The old yellow rose looks healthier than ever after a couple of years of restorative pruning. It has a dozen yellow buds washed with red stripes, the first has gently unfurled into a double flower of primrose yellow, the red replaced with a faint pink flush that will increase slightly as the flower fades.

Changes in emerging yellow rose, possible Peace or Grandpa Dickson This rosy hue seems to suggest that our rose is either the well known Rosa ‘Peace’ (also called Madame A. Meilland), which exhibits similar pink colouring, or more likely a descendant of it, such as ‘Grandpa Dickson’.

Sweet rocket, Hesperis matronalis, billows behind the rose in shades of mauve and white, sweetly scented on a warm day. Elsewhere, antirrhinums that unexpectedly overwintered in the borders are coming into flower this week, and promising buds are everywhere. I have been particularly watching the tallest, fat bud on our scarlet oriental poppy all week, and although she is still holding these closed at present, a splash of colour down in the skirts of her foliage reveals that an impatient low bud has burst into splendour first. Rather a strange sight, but a stunning colour as always. I look forward to more conventional flowers to follow.

Scarlet oriental poppy flower in depths of foliage

In the kitchen garden, the first courgette is growing, pea pods swelling, broad beans are flowering, and we have had a steady supply of salad leaves and radishes from plantings in the greenhouse and under a plastic polytunnel.

View over part of kitchen garden, end of May 2012

First courgette flowers and fruit, end of May

Scapes on the hardneck garlic have been removed and enjoyed, the onions are coming up strongly too, and runner beans are beginning to curl up their supports. This time last year, we picked our first handful of small first early potatoes; this year the plants are too tall to be earthed up any further, but there are no flowers yet. It’s interesting to compare what is behind this year, and what is leaping ahead.

This month has brought us tempestuous storms, followed by a week or two of hot, dry sunshine-filled calm, until today the clouds rolled back in and the winds struck up. By late afternoon waves of drizzle rode the gusts of wind, blowing May out. June tomorrow! It seems to have crept up on us.

Visit here for more end-of-month reviews hosted ever-generously by Helen. 


29 thoughts on “May Review

  1. Wow! it certainly looks like more than a year of growth in your borders, you must be very happy. You’re doing well to have courgettes this early in Wales, I’ve been picking for a couple of weeks but in the UK I didn’t plant them out until mid to end of May. Christina

    • Very happy indeed. I almost forget how different it is, until I look back at those pictures.
      I planted the courgettes and squashes out a week ago, as they were looking happy and the weather was warm. Hopefully todays change won’t upset them too much, and the sun will be back soon…

  2. What a lovely red poppy. RIP salmon pink one :-(. Am envious of your courgettes but I was late in sowing them hoping they do something very soon or it’ll be off to the garden centre (heaven forbid)

    • Ah I was momentarily confused, as I hadn’t read your review yet! Sad for your poppy… We sowed our courgettes very early this year, a bit risky, but the weather was kind. I’m sure yours will catch up quickly though, they can still be planted direct for a few weeks yet.

  3. Looking really good. It is the great thing about doing EOMV – you really get the chance to appreciate what you have and how far you have come. Love your roses. Our courgettes are planted out now on top of one of the compost heaps but they look a while from flowering!

  4. You must be so pleased with your progress. It’s so good to look back over photos to see how far you’ve come. Would love to have some courgettes, but without a polytunnel I’m only just getting round to planting them out. No rain yet down here in south east Wales, looks like it’s coming for the bank holiday though, blummin’ typical.

    • Very pleased with our progress. It’s nice not to have to garden around piles of rubble too!
      I think we have our own little micro-climate in our patch of south Wales, often the weather changes completely within just a mile or two of us. Fingers crossed for some sunshine this weekend.

    • If it’s any help, the drizzle was quite light 🙂 It seemed to stay dampish overnight, though I’m not sure how much water actually fell, I suspect less than the garden needs…

  5. Hello there 🙂 I always find border transitions so rewarding but the bigger transitions you have been working on must be making your heart sing now – well worth all the hard work! Take time to enjoy your new refreshed garden 😀

    • Hi, thanks for stopping by. It’s wonderful to have ‘completed’ the main elements of the garden, now we can indeed enjoy it and garden in a slightly less earth-moving way. 🙂

  6. incredible change to last year Sara, you are at or nearly at the stage of just keeping things ticking over now garden designing done, I love how well your border has filled out it’s lovely, lots of produce too, Frances

    • Thanks Frances, I’m quite proud of how it’s looking at the minute, still some bare patches to fill in, but we’re getting there…

  7. When you see what you have achieved, do you think “That was well worth doing”? I expect so. It must be so satisfying to make such a dramatic transformation.
    I’m interested in the garlic scapes. One they have been removed, do the plants just carry on growing, or what? Aren’t the scapes the embryonic flowers?

    • When I look out onto the garden, I think “squee! I love our garden” .. or something to that effect 😉 It will be even better as we ‘finish’ planting – finish for this time around that is! – and it fills out again. There are elements that will take years to feel right, such as the pleached hornbeam etc, but in general it is a good feeling to have come so far.
      I believe that harvesting the scapes encourages the plants to put all their energy into fattening up the bulbs, otherwise they ‘waste’ energy producing what will be flowers, indeed. If you want the seed then you can let them grow and harvest them, I believe they produce little bulbils as well as more conventional seeds from the flowers, but I’ve never tried this.

  8. I am envious of your courgette. I just planted mine because I had no more room before. They look delicious. And I always find it amazing how much the garden changes…yours is beautiful!

    • They’ll soon catch up, I’m sure. I’m pleased though, this is a couple of weeks earlier than ever before, though I did sow them rather perilously (optimistically) early this year. The gamble paid off this time…

  9. How odd of the Poppy to flower like that – it is a beautiful bright red .Always surprising how quickly newly planted borders fill out. Isn’t it lovely to watch Roses change colour as they fade.

    • Yes, funny poppy. It’s still the only flower out, down in the depths of the foliage, while the taller buds stand solemnly waiting…

  10. What a difference a year makes, it all looks lovely! My courgettes are only just taking off, they were so late to grow and like you my potatoes seem behind but luckily the sun has broken here and we too have some much needed rain, my poor arms can’t manage to keep all the garden damp with the hosepipe ban in place. Bx

    • I sowed the courgettes a bit early, and they were champing at the bit in the greenhouse to be planted out. Proper rain finally fell here on Sunday, great for the garden. It’s hard work watering by hand indeed!

  11. What an immense amount of work you have done – I hope you feel really satisfied, because it looks really good.

    (And I am deeply envious of your courgette; I’ve only just got my plants in the ground. Hm.)

    • Thanks Kate. It is pretty satisfying!

      The courgettes have only been in the ground a couple of weeks, but they were just about to flower when I put them out. They do seem to be starting well, so far. I’m watching the fruit fatten, ready to snap it up before it becomes a marrow overnight…

  12. I thought that my courgettes were doing well until I saw yours! I think that mine will take another couple of weeks or so before I can pick. No potato flowers here yet either but the plants are enjoying all the rain.

    • Yes, the garden looks happy with today’s rainfall, particularly good as I’ve been planting out lots of seedlings over the weekend. I’m sure your courgettes will catch up fast – and crop later than ours.

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