End of Month Review - May 2013

This time last  year we had apparently had 'a bit of heatwave', this year we are all talking about the coldest Spring in 50 years.  It has been a month of cold, dry, rain and some sun too, we must not forget the sun we have had.  So, here is how May looks in the garden:
I start in the front garden where the knot garden is waiting for Derby Day so it can get trimmed.  Tomorrow the topiary shears will be in action to neaten it up a bit.  I remain pleased with how it is looking, the simpler pared down design has worked well.
The magnolia by the front gate still has flowers on it, a little manky in places, but still looking good.
The Acer Orange Beauty in the front garden, which is one of the Thompson and Morgan trial plants, is doing very well.  Of the three I have this is clearly the aspect that suits it best, quite sheltered and rather shaded.
The gravel garden is just finding its feet for the year, there are more self-seeded additions and I think it makes a nice patch.
To the back garden, where there is now more colour than there was in April and  the borders are filling out nicely.
In the coal bunker border the welsh poppies and aquilegeas are flowering now and the Cirsium rivulare is starting to flower too, it a great favourite with the bees and me.  I have been editing out many of the aquilegea, they have been a bit too prolific and are taking over the space.  So I am waiting for them to flower and then deciding if they can stay or not. 
The white rheum is also making me happy.  I have two rheums grown from seed and I think they are wonderful plants, so structural and so dramatic.  I trim back the lower leaves from time to time to let light through around them but they are generally well behaved and just a great point of interest in the border.
The courtyard is cominated by this rhododendron lutea, the scent from it fills the space and when the conservatory door is open it floods into the house too.  What a brilliant plant.
Over to the conservatory border and the red rheum (red rheum rheum) is flowering magnificently.  Probably my favourite plant in the garden at this moment in time.
There has been a big change in the conservatory border, the dead tree fern has finally been removed.  I still cannot quite let go of it, so it is now lying by the side of the conservatory with its self-seeded plants growing from its crown in rather a pleasing way.
It makes the space lack definition a bit, but I have planted the Poncirus trifolata (Japanese bitter orange) that I bought the other month in there so it will fill out again eventually.  It looks a little odd to me with the tree fern gone, but it had to happen one day I suppose.
As I move along the border the cardoon is looking brilliant with the alliums.  This combination makes me really happy.  You can see a few tulips still flowering away as well and also a large self-sown teasel, which has been allowed to stay there for now.  I remove so many but I like to leave some in the border as they do make great punctuation points.
Around the Bramley Tree to the Spring border and the second Acer Orange Beauty is doing ok, not quite as big as the one in the front garden, but these plants are growing very well and I like the colour.
If I turn around I look across the prairie borders, these are coming on well now, the grasses are starting to grow and the echinops and verbascums are growing with some vigour.
Up to the top of the garden the ornamental cherry has flowered well this year and looks good in the cow parsley.
This eucalyptus, bought several years ago on the Isle of Man, is just a joy to behold this year.  The new growth is shining.
The woodland border, which is half bog-garden that has never been treated as a bog-garden has had some work this month.  I have removed much of the forget-me-nots and the white stuff that I don't know what it is but it is one of the most prolific self-seeders I have ever encountered.  There are now some ferns, some iris, some day-lilies and some phlox planted.  I am hoping it will look a bit more like someone cares about it from now on.  I am really hopeful for the ferns, I have bought a few for this area of garden as I do love their structures and forms.
To the side of the woodland border is the teasel patch.  I loved how the sun was shining through them as I was taking my photographs.
The top of the garden is cow-parsley-central at the moment.  It might need some controlling next year but at the moment I am happy to let it rampage around in the wild garden.
The wild garden is looking good at the moment, I enjoy cutting paths through it and just watching it evolve.  Apart from the initial native wild-flower plug planting and some tree/shrub additions, I now just let it be.
The quince is looking hopeful this year...
I so want a quince, just one fruit, just one would make me happy.
In the Tree Lupin border the tree lupin has been heavily pruned, it had become massive and toppled over a little.  It has responded well to the pruning and is growing quickly, the flower buds are forming well.
The woad is in full froth and this angelica emerging through it is a self-sown bit of magic.
The pond border is looking quite colourful, the roses are getting ready to flower now.
I bought this wisteria in Devon last year, I am growing it as a standard, I am so pleased it is going to flower, I thought I might have to wait a few years before it obliged.
The long shoot is just getting into its stride, I have decided there is further shaping to be done here, I have plans for the autumn that more grass will disappear.....
A bit more of the Coal Bunker border, in the front where it looks a bit sparse it will be cosmos, amaranthus, zinnias and of course, poppies.  There are some new roses in this border too, two Rosa Alan Titchmarsh which I have been sent by Thompson and Morgan to trial.  They are growing well so far.
The veg beds have veg in them, this is good.  They need edging a bit with a strimmer but otherwise I am pleased with how it is doing.  The spring sown onions are growing well, the garlic has done well.  I have harvested one asparagus spear and the broad beans, cobra beans and peas are growing well.  The courgettes are planted out and the sweet corn.  Also there are some yacon sent to be by Thompson and Morgan to trial.  It is growing, I have no idea what to do with it, but google will tell me.
Still lots in the greenhouse to be planted out and potted on.  Most seeds have done well this year apart from the ones that have not.  I have totally failed to germinate any tithonia seeds, I am very upset about this.
These however are my Dahlia Imperialis seedlings, I am very very happy that these germinated and I am watching them closely to keep them from harm.
I end looking at the pond, which is fairly full though has been a little low before the rain started again.  It is full to bursting with tadpoles this year and Tiny the newt has been spotted a few times.

Thanks as ever to Helen for hosting this meme.  Now to get ready for June.


  1. Thanks for the glimpse Alison, all coming along well and love the prairie border!

  2. Very pretty!
    I especially like the eucalyptus photo.
    Have a wonderful day!
    Lea's Menagerie

  3. So all those chelsea gardens were copying your cow parsley? I am so impressed you have grown rheum from seed, I have never managed this.

    All looking very good
    Thanks for joining in again this month

  4. Again, what a transformation, I love these reviews.


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