End of month review - May

"And along come pretty little May!
May was full of promises"  (Rodgers & Hammerstein)

May might have been full of promises, but it was largely devoid of rain and a bit windy towards the end.  Yet despite this, the garden has developed really well over the last month.

I have quite a lot of roses in my garden, this is one of my favourite, Rosa 'Gertrude Jekyll', growing by my front door.  The scent as I walk past it is amazing.  It sulked for a year when I first planted it, last year it gave a few grudging flowers and this year it has gone for it in a big way - just delightful.

I also have several Rosa 'Claire Austin', I was once told if you want to find really beautiful plants, find the ones that are named after people in their family.   This one certainly does not disappoint.  It looks and smells divine.

Not all in the garden is rosy though.  This is one of my Rosa  'Souvenir du Docteur Jamain'.  It smells incredible, but it does have a tendency for the flowers to fail.  Not sure if this is caused by the drought but it is a shame. 

It is peony time.  One by one they start to open around my garden.  The ones I planted last year are not feeling like flowering yet.  I have waited for three or four years before now for that first flower.  This one has been in place for three years and flowers well every year, it is clearly happy.

These poppies looked amazing a few days ago.  The wind and the rain have battered them since then, but they remain one of my most favourite flowers.  The silky crinkleness of the blooms and the way the light reflects off them is just a joy.  I like their height as well, a good 3 foot tall and every year there are more and more flowers.  In a couple of weeks when the flowers are over I will cut them down to the ground.  They look so untidy if I don't and they spring up again so quickly, I might get another flush of flowers if I am lucky.

To add joy to my poppy world these Papaver Rhoeas have just popped up in the border.  Another joy in my self seeding world - but........

....... these daisies are now a little too rampant.  I removed quite a lot a few weeks ago, I clearly need to remove more.  They are very beautiful, but just a bit too much now.

The first day lily opened today.  Not sure about the colour of this one, a bit wishy washy for my taste, but they are lovely flowers and I like their fleeting nature.  Here today and gone tomorrow.

This part of the border makes me happy.  Verbascums, foxgloves and some pale pink poppies.  I think it works well.

These are the dahlia seedlings I planted out the other day.  They already look happier for being outside and having some rain.  I have planted lots in this border, called 'the dahlia border' (when did I get so grand I started naming borders??)  This border gets the most sun in the day.  It has virtually no shade until later afternoon and dahlias love it.  Now to hope that the slugs keep at bay!

The top third of the garden  I allow to grow sort of meadow-ish.  I mow paths through it and I have planted some british native wild flowers in it.   It is now in its third year and its doing ok.  The nettles however are a real problem so I glyphosated them and now they just look a horrid brown mess.   Christopher Lloyd's book on Meadows is invaluable and does make it clear a meadow is not easy, it really is not.

Some bits of the meadow planting are getting there.  I like this bit and it does encourage so much wildlife.  Bees and butterflies love it.

This is meant to be a beech pillar, I think I have to give up and admit it is really a dead twig.  I will have to replant in the autumn.

I finish where I started, talking about the drought which is best demonstrated by the water level in my pond.  You should not be able to see the gravel edging, the water should be up to the level of the rock edging.  Last year I worried whether I should top up  the pond or not.  I googled pond advice obsessively but in the end did not add any more water.  I think holding my nerve was best, but if it is so low now I worry about the rest of the summer.

So May has been good in parts.  The garden is growing well and after yesterday's rain it is much happier.  I haven't mention how the vegetables are doing, but they are largely ok.  Just one minor disaster when a frost caught my cobra beans and set them right back.

Otherwise goodbye to May and hello to June, half way through the year already - how did that happen?


  1. Thank for taking me around your garden. I feel envious of all the lovely flowers and colour you have in your garden, mine is very green. I do hope we all have rain soon, and your pond fills up naturally. R

  2. You have a lovely garden with some lovely plants. We share Gertrude Jekyll, she does have a wonderful perfume, I was dead heading mine today, the flowers are nearly finished, time to feed and hope for a flush or second flowers soon, I usually have to wait until autumn and the first rains of autumn. I don't thinki you can have too many of that daisy, its erigeron isn't it? Christina
    you can see my end of month view at http://myhesperidesgarden.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/may-end-of-the-month-review/

  3. I enjoyed your end of month view Alison. My Mum lives in Peterborough so I have been hearing much about the weather in your neck of the woods. So glad to hear that there was a good downpour yesterday. Despite the drought your borders seem to be flourishing. I have seen Gertrude Jekyll twice on blogs tonight ~ she looks a most desirable rose. Does she have much scent?

  4. Mmmm, I do love those foxgloves you have. Your garden looks quite good! And your roses are gorgeous...I like the tip on buying a rose that has been named after a person in the family. :)

  5. Thanks for all the lovely comments.

    Anna - Gertrude Jekyll is one of the best roses I think, it has amazing scent, smells like a rose should smell and it keeps flowering for ages. I haven't suffered any disease problems with them either. A great doer!

  6. Lovely roses & poppies. The foxgloves in your border appear untouched by the wind - and are beautiful with the other plantings. Your pond is certainly a good indicator of the current drought where you live - hope you get some refreshing rain soon - but not too much! I would happily share some of ours with you if I could.....

  7. Thanks for describing both the highs and lows! I am on the verge of planting 'Souvenir du Docteur Jamain' for the first time, and though I was warned about the way its blooms can ball up this is the first photo. Also I was heartened by the reports of plants that take a couple of years to settle in. I know with our hemlocks; they are well over my head now but the first three years they were just hanging on... or not. Then they suddenly took off. This year we transplanted some 12" birch seedlings from a neigbor and I expect similar. I know I will have to be patient with Docteur Jamain, as far as reblooming.... I think one starts naming borders when there is more than one to refer to (-: Thanks again for sharing.


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