So as spring moves towards its end and we look forward to summertime, it is time to look at my Garden Journal 2017 entries for May.
I began by writing, “May is the month when Spring turns to Summer and Roses are the stars of many gardens. Irises shine out alongside them and many early hardy perennials join in.”
“Rosa rugosa – deliciously scented purple rose flowers throughout the summer, followed by large, glossy, red hips.
“This is the month when all our patient hardening off of non-hardy “delicates” pays off and we can return them to the garden where they add another dimension.
Hayworthia cymbiformis with its rosettes of boat-shaped succulent translucent leaves, hails from South Africa.”
I did a watercolour and fibre-tip pen picture of this unusual little succulent, which proved quite a challenge.
Turning over to look at the next double page spread we see a sea of pinks and purples. I share our Cercis siliquastrum with you and some more May specials, all decked out in pinks.
“Plant of the month for the month of May is a small, flowering tree, Cercis siliquastrum , a favourite.” Our Cercis is also called the Judas Tree and the Mediterranean cercis.
I continued to look at May special plants, more pink ones!
“More May time specials – those little flowers so worthy of us seeking them out. Take a walk around our patch and I will look down to see what is looking special. Sugar pinks……..Shocking pinks….. Lipstick pinks…..”
Turn over once again and we see that the pages consider the very special little plants, the Dodecatheons, with Euphorbias alongside.
“Dodecatheon – secret gems of the shade garden – sit demurely in dappled shade. Their delicacy and the unique form of their flowers ask the gardener to stop, stoop and study them close up. They are members of the Primula family, the Primulaceae, but it is hard to spot any family features.
The flowers nod on slender stems rising from a basal clump of foliage. We grow the cerise D. cusickii and the white-flowered D. media White Shooting Star.
Close up we find yellow, brown and pink on the white flowers and yellow, orange, red and even blue on the pink flowers.
Dodecatheon are true shooting stars of any shaded border.”
On the page opposite I feature “Bracts at their brightest and best” and go on to look at Euphorbias, featuring photographs of a few of our many varieties. “Euphorbias burst into the brightest possible shades of yellow, orange and red in May. A good month to do so as the bracts catch the rain drops from the frequent showers and as the sun follows on the colours of these bracts brighten further. Here is a small selection of our many much-loved Euphorbias, and more will follow later in May.”
My journal entries for May continues with a look at our garden after a shower, “After the rain……. Plants buck up, birds sing louder and bees return to search for flowers to rob of pollen and nectar. Leaves catch the last rain drops to fall and store them for later. Droplets sit on veins and in leaf centres and act as lenses. Even the birdbaths are topped up!”
Water, water everywhere ……………..
Over another page and we look at some of our little garden friends and allies and next to that a painting challenge for me as I try to paint two very delicate heads of flowers.
“May is the month when our wildlife friends live and work alongside us everyday, beneath our feet in the soil, in the plants surrounding us and in the sky above. From first light, if not slightly before, birds begin their chorus growing to a crescendo as more and more join in. Blackbirds, robins and wrens are first to open their hearts to us with loud song and this trio are also the last to go quiet after the light dims. Owls keep calling throughout the dark hours.
Above our heads swallows, house martins and swifts chatter and squeal as they put on balletic flying demonstrations, catching high-flying insects as they do so. Under stones, inside shrubs and in our greenhouse spiders seem so busy, constantly rushing around.”
“Beautiful flower heads, a painting challenge for May.”
My jottings for May next turned to flowering shrubs and roses.
“Roses and other flowering shrubs.”
A selection of our May-flowering roses …………………..
………… and flowering shrubs.
Back to Euphorbias as we turn the page over and I feature more of our collection of the unusual plants with bracts as bright as any flower.
“More crazy Euphorbias! They have a futuristic look to them, each whorl of bracts like a spaceship.”
“So varied! So bright!”
“Despite their acidic colours, Euphorbias partner well with other plants.”
“We often partner one Euphorbia with another.”
So turning over the page we find the final page for May in my 2017 Garden Journal where I share some of our flowering climbers with you.
“Climbing plants begin to place splashes of colour high up in the trees and on obelisks at eye height, adding another dimension to the Avocet patch. Akebia, Clematis, Lonicera and Coronilla.”
So, the first book in my 2017 Garden Journal comes to an end as the month of May does also. My notes, photos and paintings for the month of June will start off the second 2017 book. See you then.