Of all the months of the year here, I think that May is the most spectacular in my garden. May is the month I visualise and dream about when planning for the year. May is the month of colour, and luxuriance, and green everywhere in the valley.
It starts with the irises and the wisteria, then as they fade the first roses start opening, and the month is rounded up beautifully by the peonies exploding in colour and perfume. At the same time the self seeded flowers open up, and the delphiniums in pots grow several inches each day, before bursting into blue.
This is when you really don’t want any rain. The peonies do not like too much water. We need water for the plants of course, but heavy rain while the peonies are in flower is the best way to cut their short lifespan even shorter.
May is definitely the month when there is the most work to do in the garden. As well as the flowers blooming, the weeds also launch an aggressive military style attack on the garden, aiming to drown my careful planning in bindweed, dandelions, ground elder and couch grass – SOOOO lovely!
I patiently and stubbornly counter attack, and extract wheelbarrow loads of the weeds. The only exception being the vegetable garden where I have adopted the no-dig method, and consequently have very few intruders to deal with.
The month of May is generally our first really warm month, when we can start enjoying dinner outside in the evenings. We are lucky not to be bothered by bugs, and somehow, sitting around the dinner table until late into the night, faces reflected in the gentle light of candles , seems the ideal way to see friends.
In the meantime roses grow heavy with their blooms and need to be held up against the old stone walls with some careful staking, or some discreet wires. The self-seeders like the Nigella, poppies and foxgloves need to be thinned out, lest they mute from Beauty to Beast.
Is it a lot of work? Yes. Does it feel never ending? Frankly, yes. At this time of year it truly is never ending. Is it worth while? Yes. A hundred times yes. Nothing beats the early mornings and late aftertnoons, when the light is at its best, and I can wander barefoot around the garden checking on my plants.
And for you? How do you feel about May in your garden? Do you love to tend a large garden, or do you prefer to have way fewer flowers and enjoy more lawn?
Do tell me please, I’d love to know how you feel about your own garden, and the month of May in particular.