Last weekend was a three-day break for many in the UK, thanks to the bank holiday, and as usual we took the opportunity to catch up in the garden.
My energy has definitely increased a little lately, so I did manage quite a bit of time pottering in the greenhouse, sowing seeds and pricking out seedlings, or outside on hands and knees, weeding or planting – and occasionally wielding a spade when nobody was looking. This fervent activity was tempered by ample amounts of time sitting on a bench, soaking up the spring sunshine, watching King of the Hill work up a sweat, while I admired the lush growth and bright colours around me. From the seat at the foot of the horse chestnut tree that you can see above, even looking up into the canopy made me smile.
There was lots to exult in around the garden. The small snowball tree (Viburnum opulus) that my parents bought us a few years ago for our early May wedding anniversary is looking better than ever this year as it settles in and begins to put on growth, and was blooming in perfect time for a recurring anniversary gift.
A glimmer of gold deep in the long border reveals the return of our first Welsh poppies, whose seed I shall scatter later in the year to help them colonise our borders.
The acer in the semi circular border at the top of the garden, beneath the kitchen window, is a blaze of scarlet, and the characteristic red eyes of the lime green Euphorbia martinii at its feet are beginning to appear, complementing the red foliage of the acer.
This border is not a quiet place at this time of year! I rather love the contrast of fresh green heuchera leaves, blue frothy forget-me-nots and orange Calendula against the acer’s foliage. Nearby two clumps of the bright pink Barcelona tulips are still in flower too, some of which you can see in the top picture, adding to the riot of spring colour.
The field border is much more sedate; predominantly a tapestry of foliage, dotted with spots of gentler colour from forget-me-nots, bleeding hearts, geraniums and the first geums and aquilegias into flower.
The sun illuminates the fresh new fronds of the fern as it moves across the field behind, drawing me over to admire their shape and colour every time I pass.
Another combination that has pleased me are the blue stars of Camassia leichtlinii against the tawny and green striped clump of Stipa arundinacea behind. A few self-sown slender plants of the dark cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Ravenswing’) have also begun to bloom around the stands of pheasant grass, their delicate flowers appearing to float above their black stems. Their foliage has not been as dramatic as the original plant I bought, but I do hope they continue to self-sow and colonise this part of the border, as I love their form.
This acer is more sedate than its red-leaved cousin, its delicately scribed foliage a wonderful range of zesty greens, tinged with red.
Apple blossom is one of my favourite things about May, and it is pleasing that both espaliers and our small free-standing tree are in flower at the same time – hopefully these beautiful blooms are a promise of a good harvest.
There’s so much in the garden in May that makes me smile; though wild winds and rain for the past couple of days have blown the tulips apart and scattered cherry blossom across the grass – I hope that the weather turns again soon to let us leap back into the garden and enjoy this rapidly changing season.