End of Month Review May 2023

After what feels like several weekends of lots of rain, finally we have had a couple of weekends with good gardening weather.  This has been a relief for me as I was feeling the pressure of all the weeds growing daily inch by inch and, of course, a relief for the garden and finally someone (me) was dealing with the weeds.

Let's start with something exciting happening in the front garden:  this Rose rugosa 'Alba' was an early planting into the front garden, I reckon probably in 2008/9.  This year it has finally decided to flower.  I have never removed this rose as it is in a quiet corner and it just sat there being green, so it was a total surprise to suddenly (if 15 years can be considered sudden) she was in flower.  A moment to celebrate.
The side lawn in the front garden is still in 'no mow May' mode.  I say this as if I take part in 'no mow May' but in reality I don't.  The side lawn is not mown until June so that the Spring bulbs in it can get as much strength as possible through their foliage ready for next Spring.  You can see I mow the 'intentional stripe' which is to prove to the postie that I could mow the lawn if I wanted to.  It is not that the postie judges me, well, I think they don't.......
The Gertrude Jekyll rose by the front door is flowering like a good'un.  She had a hard year last year as she was cut back hard when the house was painted and then cut back again when I fitted the obelisk over her.  This year she is responding by flowering and flowering.
The roses by the back door are also doing well.  I admit the containers are a little weed filled (sorry) but the roses are happy enough.  Sir Clough is the dark pink one closest to the camera and by the door Gloire De Dijon is having its best year yet.  
It is peony time in the back garden, this one is stealing the show at the moment and is having its best year.
and this one is flowering for the first time.  It was given to me some years ago in a pint glass as a free gift from Claire Austin's nursery.  It is 'Pink Hawaiian Coral'; another plant definitely worth the wait.  
Keeping the theme of waiting, one of the 'dead' Euphorbia mellifera is showing signs of life which means out of the five that are in the garden, two are not dead.  The three that are currently declared dead will not be replaced if they are dead.  This is a great plant but it is also big.  The spaces opened up by the 'dead' ones are now looking very interesting and will not be spaces for long.  Even the one that didn't die in the first place, but was seriously knocked back, has benefitted its neighbours by being cut down hard.  I think I need to cut it back hard every Spring from now on.
I don't grow a lot of irises, my thick clay soil does not please them, but the ones that survive make me happy.
The first clematis is starting to flower.  This was a gift from a friend who emigrated to colder climes and I have a couple of her plants in the garden.
In the Pond Border the Abulilon vitifolium is flowering well.  I have several of these in the garden all grown from seed from the original plant purchased some time ago.  I love the mauve open flowers and so do the bees.
In the Courtyard Garden the Rhododendron luteum is still flowering and scenting the space, matching the bistro set perfectly.  The aspidistras have suffered from all the recent rain, so I moved some into the house to dry out.  Now I have given them some new compost and put them outdoors again.  Some I have little hope for but I will wait and see.
and I have a new love, climbing pelagoniums!  The pink pellie (Antik Pink) is a good couple of feet tall already and growing strongly.  This plant was overwintered in the conservatory and flowered all winter.  It is a total joy.
The Wild Garden is mainly cow parsley.  It is really tall this year and smells wonderful.  Last year I cut it down in July to try and control the seeding a bit, I think I shall do the same this year as it enabled more plants to grow up uncluttered that otherwise I would not have seen.  This too is not 'no mow May', this part of the garden is not mown until September and then mowing stops in December.  It probably gets 2 mows a year.
The Dye Garden is progressing.  There are some roses now planted in this space and also some sweet peas.  The Woad as flowered and the woad seeds I planted have germinated.  Sadly the indigo and the weld seeds have not germinated so I will try and get some weld plugs next year.  Indigo I might have to think about.  It was worth a go.  Now that there are roses and sweetpeas in this space I have renamed it the 'Smell me and Dye' garden..... (well it makes me laugh).
Not all in the garden is doing well.  The Prairie Borders are not doing brilliantly.  They have got increasingly weed-ridden and this has impacted on them heavily.  I have cleared the weeds but this has left lots of bare spaces.  I shall be sowing more Stipa tenuissima to fill the gaps.  Can you spot His Gingerness enjoying the sun?
I am also concerned about last year's tree fern purchase.  Newby is not looking great, but I keep watering it every day and whispering words of love.  It did not start sending up fronds until July last year so maybe it is just on a late cycle.....
On a positive note, the Prairie Border that was turned into a 'butterfly border' last year has got through the winter well.  You can see the self-sown verbascums which will look amazing when they flower.  You can also see Fluffy Pete nuzzling the last of the Nepeta to death.  That even one plant made it through the onslaught of my cats is a miracle. 
Talking of miracles, this is the miracle of the year.  Regular readers with long memories might recall that before the Tree Ferns took pride of place in the Exotic Border, there was a Tree Lupin that I absolutely adored.  I think it finally upped and died in 2017 by the look of things as it was on its last legs in 2016.  I did intend to get another but I have not seen one for sale and it just kept slipping from my mind.  Yet there, out of no where, a small spark of life has returned from under the biggest Tree Fern.  I am leaving it be rather than digging it up and damaging it, I shall hope that it continues to grow.  It is a real sign that nature will always find a way.
and my Amicia zygomeris has made it through another winter - there has been much dancing and singing in celebration.
In the greenhouse the chilli plants are budding up.  This is exciting.
The pond is completely choked up again, yes this is the pond - sigh.  I have started removing some plants to make more space, it will look better I promise.

Take care and be kind

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