a bouquet from my (cold) may garden

by Sharon Santoni
bouquet of tulips and lilac from the garden

Our unseasonal weather continues to confuse my cold May garden, and the flowers are not sure what to do. The wisteria got grilled by the late frost, the tulips are stunted by the cold and a few narcissi are still in bloom even as the first lilac shows up. I told you. Confused.

But if you have a garden you’ll know that there is no point in trying to fight the seasons. Of course we may cheat a little with a greenhouse, or a glass cloche here and there to protect a tender plant, but if a whole season turns up early, or late, then it is up to us to accept and adapt.

bouquet of tulips and lilac from the garden

This small bouquet shows exactly what I have in flower at the moment. Some lilac, a divine pink and cream honeysuckle; tulips; pansies and the very last of the narcissi. It isn’t a big bouquet, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in perfume.

And in the potager, I have planted out some salads, put in the first aubergine, and maybe this weekend I’ll bring a few young plants out from the greenhouse. On the whole I simply accept that our kitchen garden will not start feeding us until late June, or even early July. Next year I’ll have to plan differently, and do better.

bouquet of tulips and lilac from the garden

As I have said before, my garden is the only part of my life where I am patient, and happy to wait for things to happen in their own time. It’s a welcome relief from my daily routine which can get quite frantic and deadline-driven.

What is your relationship to your garden? Does it also teach you patience, or having a calming effect in the midst of these crazy times. And if you don’t have a garden, do you get the same pleasure from plants inside your home? Leave a comment, I’d love to know.

bouquet of tulips and lilac from the garden


Marilyn May 7, 2021 - 1:25 am

Often a small bouquet shows each flower to its advantage. Yours does that, plus the color palette is complimented with beautiful greens in hue and form. Thank you for sharing your garden.

Cindy May 7, 2021 - 1:41 am

So beautiful and just what I needed to see today. Thank you for sharing!

Jennifer Howard May 10, 2021 - 3:29 pm

Oh, this is gorgeous!! My lilacs just started blooming; it’s the best fragrance!

Helen Digenis May 20, 2021 - 12:05 am

I feel exactly like you, Sharon. My garden gives me inner joy and serenity. I wish my body could all my eyes and mind want to do. Thank you for sharing your garden. It is beautiful.

robert May 7, 2021 - 1:52 am

Lovely bouquet!! You managed to take the available flowers and made an elegant arrangement.

Thanks for sharing

Maryanne May 7, 2021 - 1:55 am

I love my garden but it’s a lot of work. I never really finish but I guess that’s expected with all the ups and downs a garden goes through. Bleeding heart, hostas, and Solomon’s seal filling the shade garden.

Alice Genzlinger May 7, 2021 - 2:46 am

Here in Colorado the tulips are finally blooming and the wood iris are just beginning to bloom. I’ve planted pansy’s in the veggie garden and the onions are beginning to peak through the ground. It still get down in the 30’s at night but daytime temps are beginning to creep into the low 70’s a few days. The flowering trees have blooms this year and are so pretty dressed in pink and white. Last year a late freeze killed all blooms on the fruit producing trees.

Nettie May 7, 2021 - 4:13 am

Such beautiful flowers! Thank you for sharing! Our lilacs here in Indiana should bloom in the next week…..I can almost smell the sweet scent.

Melanie May 7, 2021 - 4:29 am

My favorites are my gerber daisies, pink and yellow.

JoEllen Tunacik May 7, 2021 - 11:57 pm

My gardens, all around my house, really fulfill me. They are a calming place, and a place to poke around, weed and discover what’s new or recently bloomed. I love my gardens!!

Glynis Watson May 7, 2021 - 5:45 am

Something so beautiful from just a few. I’m here in Perth, Australia and I don’t have much of a garden but love the natives that I do have.

Lorrie May 7, 2021 - 6:12 am

Your cold garden bouquet is a lovely one. To me a garden is satisfying. The work results in rewards, sometimes more than others, and sometimes surprising me with the unexpected, but there is always something. We had a warm and sunny early spring and the plants got a good start. I harvested the first radishes and spinach this week. Carrots and Swiss Chard are emerging from the ground and strawberries are in full bloom. It’s been very chilly this week and everything will slow down again. Tender plants and seeds won’t go out until after the full moon in May. Here the lilacs and wisteria are blooming and oh, so fragrant. I could spend hours in the garden, planting and pruning, digging and weeding. I hope your weather warms up soon.

Melanie May 7, 2021 - 7:15 am

Beautiful. Weather here in the UK is the same as where you are, unusual lows every morning, freezing or just above. My poor hydrangea’s have been zapped. I love getting out there to transform my garden, it’s been 4 years but still so much to do. I think it’s trying to teach me patience but I don’t know how well it’s doing:)

Marie-Laure May 7, 2021 - 8:40 am

Votre bouquet est très beau avec une explosion de couleurs…
Dans mon jardin, le lilas a un peu gelé…mais le muguet a pointé son nez dans le jardin des voisins, contre notre mur en contrebas de chez nous…et selon la coutume ils m’ont offert un bouquet..porte-bonheur…comme le veut la tradition…Maintenons les traditions !!!

Hilaría Maravegias May 7, 2021 - 11:51 am

Thank you fir the beautiful bouquets I can almost smell the fragrance of the flowers we had been having the up and down weather here in New York also and very severe winds my beautiful tulips couldn’t survived but there is always next year

ValerieBick May 7, 2021 - 2:15 pm

Having a garden is such a blessing because it teaches you so much. Like we are not always in control and our wants and desires may be altered by something bigger than ourselves. These things teach us patience and respect. Gardens also give us unexpected pleasure which can make us experience true joy.
Your flowers are beautiful, thank you for sharing them.

Raquel Baldocchi May 7, 2021 - 3:28 pm

Working in my garden helps me feel sane. Digging in dirt somehow always does the trick. I especially love pruning the roses in winter. Right now my roses are spectacular; I have a few bearded iris still producing, nasturtiums and dianthus. I feel at peace here and am so grateful to have a garden.

Linda May 7, 2021 - 6:29 pm

I am never happier than when I am in my garden. Each year I chose a different color theme – this year pink, purple and white. While my yard is small I fill it with color, texture and art. I love seeing your garden each year as even though we live in Oregon our climate is about the same as in Normandy.

Judith Lambert May 7, 2021 - 8:05 pm

Such a lovely bouquet Sharon. I can almost catch the aromas! Though I’m still in the throes of garden design here, I’m enjoying picturing how it will look with the mixtures of fruit trees in blossom, tulips coming into bud and wisteria and perhaps lilac as well. I can’t hardly wait. I’m sitting with pots of lavender, rosemary, thyme, lemongrass and sage, just at the ready to be popped in the ground. The fig tree is emerging with the promise of an abundant crop in spite of some cool weather at times. Oh how I love spring!

Gwen Ewing May 8, 2021 - 2:11 am


Jill Brewster May 8, 2021 - 4:44 am

Back in March we had a terrible freeze here in Texas, I lost some of my roses and a couple of shrubs, some of my lavender were damaged, but are coming back nicely. I am currently working on my Koi pond. I am adding a shelf completely around the pond to give it a more natural look I will plant marginal plants such as horse tail, Japanese iris, and other bog plants. I have several water lilies and they pretty much cover the pond. I love sitting out by the pond listening to the water and watching my Koi. My gardens this past year have been my sanity. I couldn’t imagine being confined to the small space of an apartment. I am so thankful to own acreage where I can get out and enjoy my flowers and our wild life.

Bonnie Wood May 8, 2021 - 2:37 pm

It’s chilly here in the US too .I’m in Rhode island. and it’s been warm and chilly, and very rainy. But, things are growing and blooming little by little. Have a great weekend!!!

Sherry May 8, 2021 - 8:45 pm

It has definitely been a crazy gardening year so far! I love the bouquet, and especially the pink flowers. Are they peonies? If so, what is the variety?
Here in Texas, we’ve lost some plants, some are a little damaged, but somehow my tomato plants have never looked better! They survive a light hail storm and are 4 ft tall and loaded with tomatoes–go figure?
Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures!
Happy Mother’s Day

Susan May 9, 2021 - 12:16 am

Living in Deep South Texas and not normally having freezes, the brutal Winter devastated our gardens. In the ground I only have Esperanzas, miniature Mexican petunias and a few Amaryllis blooming. In pots, Vitex and Firecracker plants. Praying our white and orange Bird of Paradise and Bougainvilleas return.
Flowers from your garden are always a treat to see. Thank you for posting.

Giftbasketworldwide May 10, 2021 - 11:31 am

Pleasure to go through such wonderful work!!

Laura Susan May 10, 2021 - 2:49 pm

My “garden” is a bit of hodge-podge of colors and plants, and I told Mama the other day that Poirot (Hercule Poirot from Agatha Christie) would absolutely hate it; it isn’t laid out symmetrically! In my home, I’m a neutral-color person, but outside I love bursts of color everywhere! And what I’m desperately waiting for are my three peony plants to bloom. We’ll see! I don’t have patience with my flowers any more than I do with anything else!

Sue Bennett May 11, 2021 - 6:15 am

Thank you for your beautiful bouquet. When I was growing up we always picked lilac from my Mum’s garden. I so miss the wonderful flowers and perfume. I now live in SE Queensland and have a beautiful garden but sadly the wrong climate for lilac! Enjoy its amazing perfume.

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