Garden Journal-May

“Sweet May hath come to love us,
Flowers, trees, their blossoms don;
And through the blue heavens above us
The very clouds move on.”
–  Heinrich Heine, Book of Songs

I almost forgot how spring smelled; how the early morning cool gave way to the warmth of the later day sun.  And yet this weekend, those glorious signs, smells and feelings of giddiness came flooding back.  In the last 2 weekends we have had a flurry of spring blooms and activities hit all at once.  So bear with me as I post the goings on in my late April, early May garden.  I have been quite busy so this post is a bit late and a bit long.


Due to this crazy spring, my native wildflowers are up all at once.  So clockwise from the far left we see creeping phlox; Bloodroot (came and went in a few days); flower of a Twinleaf or Jeffersonia diphylla; next to it a trillium; below that is the Virginia bluebells almost in flower; then the glorious foliage of Twinleaf; above that on the left is the Hepatica (also come and gone in a matter of a few days); and lastly Mayapple just popping up.


The meadow was alive with activity as well.  Many native wildflowers were starting to show as the daffodils were still blooming.  From left to right are Caltha palustris (Marsh Marigold); native lupine, and native Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum).  The top picture shows where we planted three native viburnum bushes, and within a day they were have eaten by rabbits.  Couldn’t bear to show the after picture.



In keeping with Sweet Bean Gardening’s, Hope Grows Day Meme for May 5th, I am showing our pond which I had hoped would be flowering and greener by now.  It has been slowly coming into spring, and we finally turned the pump on.  You can see it is still clogged with algae which we are cleaning; the lily pads are just skimming the surface; and there are a few plants growing-native iris and a grass that loves the waterline (sorry I long ago misplaced the tag).  The white shrouded raised bed in the distance beyond the pond is the early veggie garden.


As May begins there is renewed hope…The veggies are growing strong despite the cold.  These were planted a month ago.  We have baby lettuces, broccoli rabe, spinach, radish, arugula and that is in the first 2 pictures.  Garlic is getting very tall and resembles corn.  The kale is growing in starter containers outside, and will be transplanted into other containers later in the month.  Sweet peas are finally up, and the strawberries and raspberries popped to life this past week.  The crops in the food department seem to continue to slowly grow under protective cover.  The Cayenne and Hatch Green Chile peppers I started inside are already too big and need to go outside soon.  I may have to get them under a row cover earlier than I anticipated.


The bullfrogs are back in the pond and making a ruckus.  Our rabbits and deer have been spotted around and in the garden doing their best to get whatever wonderful blooms and foliage they want.  And or resident fox, Axl, has been out many days playing and looking for voles…”Over here Axl..I have lots for you!!!  Then there are the birds…what a drama we had over the weekend.  It all started on Saturday.  Birds were back looking to nest all at once.  The sparrows had taken the bluebird house ahead of the swallows this year.  The bluebirds are always a day late and a dollar short.  They never seem to make it in time.  Once the wrens and swallows returned Saturday, we had a turf war.

The swallows briefly tried to take the bluebird house, but the sparrows fought them off.  Then the swallows tried for another smaller house just behind the gazebo (4th picture).  But as soon as the small but mighty wren arrived, it was all over.  The wren went into the wren house (second picture), but didn’t stay and then proceeded to try the house behind the gazebo.  They didn’t stop there.  They somehow got into the bluebird house while the sparrows were away.  They ripped apart the nest, threw out the nesting materials and the lone egg that had been laid (5th picture).  You can see the smashed egg in the last picture.  Then the wrens settled on the house they had chosen behind the gazebo, and began their nest.  Wrens are known for their aggression toward other nesting birds in the area and this was the first time we had witnessed this.  Despite their behavior, I do so love the song of the wren.  The sparrows came back later and were frantic.  They fought the wren and the swallows for the house and won.  I don’t think they will venture far again.  The swallows were left out in the cold. (To see some pictures up close, just click on the pictures)


Other Garden Activity

With all the rain, I have had to devote all my nice days off to garden chores which are many.  I have taken over 1000 photos over the last 2 weeks, and I wanted to showcase the blooms and gardens (just a few for now).  I do apologize for not being around recently to read blogs and comment.

This is the front of the house.  The tree on the right is where the robins’ nest is located.   The wall garden is a sweeping garden that has many views as you walk around it to the gate.  As you can see we have many bulbs up and trees are just beginning to show a little of green.  Lots of perennials and shrubs are also starting to grow, but we will showcase those as they bloom throughout the season.

Of course my spring garden has to have lots of hyacinths.  The smell actually makes me swoon a little I think.  I have them all ove the front, side and back so wherever I go I get that heavenly scent.  Of course I love grape hyacinths too as you can see in the first picture of this post.  They are up now with the hyacinths which is most unusual for our spring.

Of course the daffodils are still going strong.  I took hundreds of pictures and here are a few of the varieties.


The early tulips are up with the mid-bloomers this year.  Many gorgeous blooms.  And yes that is not a tulip top right.  I snuck in a picture of a tall snowdrop  Leucojum vernum that blooms now (thanks Carolyn @ Carolyn’s Shade Gardens for the correction; I wasn’t sure but  I knew you would know).   Too pretty not to show you, and it looks like an early tulip in the picture.  I have lots more tulips just waiting to bloom soon.  I actually do not have many around the garden since they are usually hard to grow here, and the deer love them too much for me to keep up with protecting them.

This last grouping is of many of the flowering perennials just up.  Bergenia, rhubarb, primrose, buds of soon to bloom lilacs, lungwort, forget-me-nots and Brunnera.  I have many varieties of these flowers and will show others at another time.  The strange looking plant bottom right is the dreaded horsetail.  It is a weed for me and everywhere in my garden growing into a thick ground cover.  Impossible to get rid of.  It resembles a small pine tree growing, and is a prized herbal plant.  I’ll go into its medicinal qualities at another time, but this is what it looks like when it first come up.  Those are spores and they spread.  Fascinating, almost prehistoric looking plant.

Robin Update

It is with great sadness that I report about the robin and her eggs.  Late this morning, we discovered…well look at the pictures.

We are unsure of what happened.  Everything was fine early this morning when I checked on her.  As you can see by her expression, I think sometimes she can see us, but we are careful.  Midday we spotted the egg shells on the ground, but no yolk.  There were three piles so we knew three eggs were destroyed.  When we looked in the nest, this was all we saw.  One lone egg and no robin.  She has abandoned the nest.  We don’t know if she destroyed the eggs or if another bird did when she was gone for a brief respite.  I know that the eggs can be laid even if not fertilized so did she know they were not viable and destroy them.  We also know that if the eggs are destroyed, she may lay more in 10 days.  So we are leaving the nest alone.  Perhaps she will return or another bird will take the nest.  All I know is that we are very sad today.

When the world says, “Give up,”
Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”
~Author Unknown


Special Note: I hope to find my garden teaming with life in May.  Never ending flowers, fruits, songs and birth.  It is why I garden this hope.  Until then, we will mourn the robin and give thanks for her special time with us.

I will be linking in Friday as well with Fertilizer Friday.  Come on over and see what is blooming around the globe.


  1. Holley says:

    So much going on in your garden! So many blooms. The front of your house is beautiful. Sorry to see what happened to the poor robin’s eggs. I hope she returns.

    • Donna says:

      Thx Holley…spring has jumped into high gear that it is getting too busy….we are very hopeful about the robin…we just wish we knew what happened…

    • Donna says:

      Thx Marcia…there is so much going on I couldn’t even show it all…I hope to showcase the garden monthly to show how it looks

  2. The Sage Butterfly says:

    I am so sorry to hear about the robin. I hope she comes back and lays more eggs. Your garden is so lovely–full of little pockets of special areas. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    • Donna says:

      I love the little pockets of our gardens and it certainly makes for surprises every year…I hope to showcase different areas each month.

  3. Karin/Southern Meadows says:

    So many wonderful blooms and gotta love the bird drama! You have so many plants coming up…I am looking forward to seeing more! I hope Ms. Robin will lay some more eggs for you. In Georgia it is illegal to remove a nest from a tree. We have lots of empty nests, especially in the cherry trees which seems to be a favorite place.

    • Donna says:

      Never heard of not being able to remove…yes we will continue to have critter drama all season long…I hope to post different parts of the garden each month to show all that is going on…so much I couldn’t fit it all in here…

  4. Christine @ The Gardening Blog says:

    Hi Donna – I LOVE your pond!! Did you build that yourselves? It is really stunning. Your photos and blooms are, as always, gorgeous! I’m dreaming of my garden looking like yours again … sigh, waiting for Spring here and winter has yet to start 🙂

    • Donna says:

      Christine, I did the grand design but we hired a gardener/landscape architect who is a natrualist and he built it…I wanted it to look like a pond in nature…it needs a good cleaning and weeding and then it will quickly grow as the weather warms…wait until the end of the month, you won’t recognize it…I know how you feel when fall and winter come…the longing begins and I go into a grief mode mourning the loss of my garden..

  5. Jan @ Thanks for today. says:

    So sorry to see the smashed robin’s eggs…maybe she’ll lay some more soon. Nature always brings with her both good and bad and life sure does have ups and downs! Lovely pond you have, I’ll bet it is going to be gorgeous around it once the weather really warms and the plants grow tall. Sorry you lost your e viburnums down to the ground…hopefully they’ll grow back. Maybe you can treat with critter ridder or some kind of critter repellant? That’s the only way I manage to keep my garden. Otherwise, there would be very little growing with the amount of critters we have around here!

    • Donna says:

      Yes we are accepting natures good and bad times…the pond will quickly grow as it warms and it is lovely…I used anon-pepper all natural critter ridder on them and salvaged a bit of them so we hope they grow…I have to use the spray but totally forgot they would be fair game outside the fence for sure…

  6. Donna says:

    Like you, I have been busy beyond belief. I do not know how you keep up with such a large garden and a pond too. You have so much blooming too and are still ahead of us here. I liked your presentation with the mosaics .

    • Donna says:

      Thx Donna…it is getting hard with my day job and I am finsding it impossible to do the garden designs…so I have got to shift to doing an hr of gardening after work so I can keep up…rainy days I will work on designs…your phlox opened before ours…mine have really not bloomed and that is late for creeping phlox here

      • Donna says:

        Donna, only the phlox next to the brick house opened and only a small section of it. The pinks are getting ready. They are in a raised block bed and are in a warmer micro climate. I have a lot of stone and concrete in my yard, so I am ahead of all the neighbors with blooms. Behind most of the country though.

  7. p3chandan says:

    Your garden is coming alive again after the long winter months and what activities you have had since! Such gorgeous flowers on your beautiful mosaics!

  8. Jan @ Thanks for today. says:

    As I was thinking about your wren comments I realized this is not our gentle Carolina Wren. The Carolina Wren is a very sweet bird and not associated with destruction or aggressiveness. Right now a couple has a nest in one of my hanging baskets and is in and out, feeding the babies, continuously. They are such sweet birds and have a lovely song.

    • Donna says:

      Jan I had never seen this behavior before either, but in reading about common wrens apparently they are aggressive..nature is so funny…like little dogs who make up for their size and bark loudly at the biggest dogs, the wrens chirp loud and make sure everyone knows who is the boss..

  9. Stacy says:

    Donna, I’m so glad you are enjoying some spring flowers at last! All that life and growth are pent up for so long for the winter, they really explode when their time to bloom comes. I miss some of the wildflowers from that area, the bloodroot, trillium, and trout lilies especially–really enjoyed seeing your pictures of them. Robins seem to have a tough time–my parents just were telling me about a similar loss in one of their trees. But goodness–the bluebird/swallow/wren story sounds like a soap opera! For some reason it’s always kind of startling to remember that nature isn’t necessarily kind (or unkind)–just effective.

    • Donna says:

      Stacy that’s a great way to look at it effective…hard for humans though to see that…we are now being flooded again with many inches of rain…I hope it ends for a while…my poor flowers are not growing but hiding and some are being flooded to death…hope you are doing OK….glad my post brought you some wonderful memories of beloved plants!

  10. b-a-g says:

    You have been busy! Like everyone else I’m sorry to hear about the robin’s eggs. Looking forward to seeing how your pond progresses, I like the idea of having a pond but don’t trust myself to maintain it regularly.

    • Donna says:

      The pond is a bit slow with the colder, wetter weather but it will spring to life soon…my husband does the maintenance for me and I do the plants in and around it…it is some work but I don’t find it too much…just at the beginning of the season to clean it a bit…we do remove the pump in winter but in milder climates or if you want to install a small heater it can stay open all year with less maintenance

  11. tina says:

    Don’t be sad, these things happen with birds. It’s a very unfortunate thing but that’s the way it is sometimes. I wonder what got the eggs? Maybe squirrel or something.

    I was fascinated by the bird battles. I’ve never witnessed it like that. Here the sparrows kill our bluebirds and take over all the nest boxes. I’ve resorted to physically removing them from boxes and I sometimes close up the hole with hardware wire. I don’t want sparrows here. Wrens are welcomed as are all other birds but not the sparrows. I used to let them nest in a gourd outside my window but I saw them continually breed the entire warm season (about 4-5 months). It was one brood after another and I thought no thanks. This is why they are such menaces for native birds-they are very prolific. Like rabbits but in the bird world.

    So glad spring has sprung! Even without greenery your pond looks great. A very pretty yard indeed.

    • Donna says:

      I had read that in certain states sparrows are discouraged and nests with eggs destroyed…we do not have that here but we actually have hostile swallows…I love wrens so I let nature take her course….thank you for saying my wet somewhat disheveled yard looks nice…it is flooded again with more inches of rain in the past day…

  12. Carolyn♥ says:

    I feel your sadness for your robin eggs. Last Spring, our Neighbor’s cat was responsible for ruining all of our hopes for baby birds. That cat found all of the nests. I really don’t like cats because of that, and wonder why owners let them wander freely. Your Spring blooms are beautiful!

    • Donna says:

      Carolyn I agree about cats that roam…they kill the birds, the baby bunnies and not enough voles…A cat could have done this…the blooms are coming along finally…yippee!!

  13. Aimee says:

    Oh, I’m so sorry to hear about the rabbit-ravaged vibernums, the bird battles over the houses, and especially about the Robin and her eggs.

    I know these things happen and it’s all part of Nature, but it’s hard sometimes…it seems there are certain creatures that are just so darn easy to love, and so our hearts break a little when we see them suffer.

    How wonderful that she could potentially lay eggs again so quickly after losing these – I hope she will! And I hope she and they will fare better the next time.

    I love your message about Hope – giving up / trying one more time…so true – for the Robin, for us in our gardens, and for life in general! A great reminder.

    Here’s hoping things calm down in the bird department and that your garden thrives this season.

    • Donna says:

      I think the worse was the loss of the eggs…so sad..the Hope message was perfect when I found helped me remember that we need to keep trying…glad you liked the post!!

    • Donna says:

      You are right about the tall snowdrop..I caught that last night when reviewing and will adjust the text…actually amny of the wildflowers came and went which was sad…but there are still more to come….

  14. Skeeter says:

    The scent of the air in spring is awesome! Send your fox over to get our Voles will ya? OJ kitty is not on the ball these days, ha. I have never seen the birds fight like you describe. Yikes, I would not want to witness that part of nature. Maybe you should provide more houses for them to nest in harmony. We have houses all over the place. We had Chickadee, Bluebirds and Phoebe already fledge so we are way ahead of you in the season. I cleaned out all the houses yesterday and they are ready for the second nesting’s. There were two eggs that did not hatch in the bluebird house so we think the 3 that we saw on that stormy night were the only baby’s in that brood.

    Spring is wonderful…

    • Donna says:

      We only have room enough for the 4 houses and it was weird this year how the wrens were fighting…we have to be careful..if I provide more houses the swallows and sparrows take those and they want them all…I wish others had boxes in their yards to help the birds nest …hoping to get the bluebirds to nest in their houses eventually…nature is certainly never dull…

    • Donna says:

      Thx Dona..isn’t that pink Muscari just the cutest thing…it is very expensive still so I am holding off planting too many but I would love more…

  15. island threads says:

    Donna what a beautiful garden you are growing, shame about the bird drama and sad re the robin, I hope she comes back or finds some where and a mate for her brood, I thought rabbits (and on Scalpay sheep) were bad enough but deer! sorry about your viburnums I can imagine how you feel,
    looking forward to following through the season, Frances

    • Donna says:

      Frances thank you for your kind words and I am dealing with the drama and viburnums…live and learn..nature sure keeps us hopping…I hope to highlight different areas of the gardens in the coming months and keep everyone updated…now if we could get a bit of dry spell that would help 🙂

  16. Hanni says:

    Oh your poor birds! The tree swallows keep pestering my bluebirds…thankfully the bluebirds have fended them off. The swallows are pesky though!

    I’m so glad that spring has finally arrived for you…it seems like it’s taken an extra long time to get to you! I thought of you taking “hundreds of photos” this am as I went out to try and take some myself, and my camera battery died!

    • Donna says:

      Hanni I had to resort to rechargeable batteries for my camera since I was going through so many and it has worked fine. I am not a big swallow fan because they are too aggressive toward humans as well when they are nesting…spring is here

  17. Masha says:

    I love your collages. Here the weather heated up and the garden is beginning to look tired – yours looks nice and fresh. I loved the picture of your meadow – so peaceful and beautiful.

    I am sorry about the robin’s eggs – maybe another year you will see the babies. Don’t lose hope.

    • Donna says:

      Masha thx for your wonderful words…I will keep posting pics of the meadow as it is such a delight…we shall not lose hope with the birds…it is funny how our gardens here are really just starting to get going and it is May…

  18. debsgarden says:

    Thanks for such an interesting post, full of beautiful flowers and interesting critter tales. Your collages really are gorgeous. I enjoyed the story about the bird house wars. I had heard wrens can be aggressive. So far I haven’t seen it myself. So sorry about the robin eggs. I would be sad, too!

    • Donna says:

      Deb thanks and glad you enjoyed the happenings around the garden…we shall see what this weekend holds for us in the garden…enjoy!!

  19. Janet/Plantaliscious says:

    So much happening! Wonderful to see such varied flowers and to have so many happy critters. Your pond looks great to me, healthy water and no duckweed, which makes me a little envious 😉 Enjoy the strange combinations that weird weather throws up.

    • Donna says:

      Janet thankfully we do not have duckweed but we have other weeds and algae…beautiful day today and hopefully a great gardening weekend…

  20. Jennifer@threedogsinagarden says:

    You have such a nice selection of spring bulbs. It is sad that the poor robin had her eggs destroyed. Do you think you could loan out Axl, your resident fox? I have more than a few voles he could take care of. Have a great weekend!

  21. Donna says:

    Love to loan Axl once he finishes here ;)…glad you liked the bulb display…now we are on to spring perennials although a bit slow in coming they are finally showing growth and a few blooms

    • Donna says:

      Well that horsetail is just moving all over…I really hate it…continual weeding to keep it in wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t grow so high…glad you enjoyed the flowers…the garden is taking off with the warmer weather…

  22. Andrea says:

    Hi Donna, how beautiful your flowers are, especially those grape hyacinths and the different bulb colors. It could be very nice if rains and temperatures can be shifted this way, isn’t it. But i am so sorry for the robins, maybe an intruder went there. Birds normally leave when their eggs or youngs are touched by others.

  23. Laura @ PatioPatch says:

    the Robin’s nest is a sad sight indeed but everything else is full of the joys of Spring. We gardeners are busy as bees right now so all understand the difficulty of keeping up with others. Glad I found time to pop by though for your fabulous flower flaunt

  24. Cat says:

    I love the idea of your May journal with collages. So sorry about the Robin’s eggs. There is always a bit of sadness in the garden. It seems everyone is reading and commenting less these days as we’re all busy in our gardens…so no worries!

    • Donna says:

      Trying to cram 2 months of garden chores into one month is killing me and I find less time to even blog though I am committed to once a week…I am glad you liked the collages…I find with so much blooming or with all the varieties, it is easier to show it all…

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