May is usually a divided month, even though ‘May’ as a whole has a magical shimmer over it that is longed for in the darkness of winter, like a desperate parched person in the desert looking for water. In April the first careful steps are taken towards spring, with emphasis on careful and the steps are continuing to be such until the last half or the very end of May. It is not until then that the tulips fully bloom, that the trees and flowerbeds have turned green and there is a premonition of summer.
In early spring there are bare trees and bushes, the flowerbeds are mostly bare soil and only a few early blooming bulbs are poking through amongst the sleeping or just awoken plants… That is how it looks in the majority of the garden; there can still be a few frozen places quite far into May. Luckily I have a few early flowerbeds, one in particular, which thaws and dries quickly. There is full blooming there usually already in the beginning of May. Here the Christmas rose thrives and blooms at the same time as the early little bulbs. Crocus, winter aconite, squill, botanical tulips, anemones, corydalis, lungwort, dog-tooth violet and scopolia are some of the gems. Here all kinds of perennials go green that early as well and gives that green framing of the spring flowering that you want. Thank goodness for this flowerbed. Oh yes I forgot an amazing plant of which I have quite a few and that is the barrenwort. One of the most beautiful plants; absolutely delightful with its delicate petal spread and stems with buds and later blooming flowers that easily shiver in the wind.
Late spring this year
This year the spring was several weeks late. Up here it is extra noticeable since the season is short as it is. I have a memory of a summer when the last tulips kept till the end of July. If there are any left by midsummer, they will turn into a bouquet. Then it will have to be enough with spring no matter how late is has been. But now is now. And right now is when the spring is at its best here. Wonderful is short and extra short this year. Really all you want to do is be outside every second to enjoy the precious days before the early summer takes over. Not all of the tulips are in bloom yet, but the geranium phaeum ‘samobor’ is soon opening its first buds, the bird cherry is blooming and the lily of the valley can now be picked in the earliest locations.
The spring plants are like pick and mix. You fancy so many different varieties and they all complement each other in some way in a sweet tutti frutti mix. Of course you can spot the favourite colours, not everything is from the sweet boxes. Spring is primarily yellow in my garden, but there is also white and warm aubergine in different shades.
May in the garden
All flowerbeds are fertilised with chicken manure and the soil is improved with cow manure where there is space for it.
If there is dry weather I water the flowerbeds so they can get a good start and get going.
The paths are refilled with gravel and bark whenever necessary.
Projects are worked on and finished. This year it has mostly been about dealing with and repairing the ‘vole bed’.
At the end of May all the Dahlias come out of the greenhouse and the greenhouse is emptied bit by bit as the mature plants get planted out.
The first big bouquets can be made out of Bird Cherry, Lilac, Christmas Roses and the odd beautiful twig.
The lawn gets cut for the first time and over seeded where there has been ice damage (which has happened the last few winters on parts of the lawn.)
Summer flowers are procured at the end of May: Argentinian Vervain, French Lavender, Hydrangea and a couple of dark red Million Bells. So far they get to share space with the pansies, which are at their most beautiful right now.
Do you know what I’m thinking about right now… and tend to every year around this time? Next years bulbs. Now is the best time since it is so easy to see how it looks. Something tells me that it is time to do it now, but what actually gets done is to dig up the bulbs that have stopped coming back. I can be without tulip stems with no flowers. Ah well. There is rarely enough time for that, but I do tend to get a few away each year. I’m fine with that. Also with the spring singing loud and clear.