“Queer things happen in the garden in May. Little faces forgotten appear, and plants thought to be dead suddenly wave a green hand to confound you.” ~W.E. Johns
With each garden season, I am left with miracles that fill my days. And with the end of May, I cannot get over how much we have accomplished in the garden, and how much is left to do. As June starts, the garden hopefully heats up and kicks into ‘high gear’ with flowers, fruits and vegetables….if the weather cooperates that is!
As I had little time to weed in May, June is the time I hoping to work on this for several weeks as long as there is enough rain to keep the soil soft. Of course I could pick the horsetail weed (the feathery plant shown covering this garden) until I collapse and it will never go away, but once it is picked, I can use it as mulch on the same gardens it swallows up.
So lets take a look at the gardens in May. I am joining Helen@The Patient Gardener’s Weblog for her End of Month View as I look back at my May garden.
Mornings in May dawned spectacular as if the horizon was on fire. And the same weather roller coaster, we were on in April, continued in May. Heat into the low 90s the first 2 weeks with no rain….none…nada! Then rain, cold frost, heat, rain, cool….and on and on for the last 2 weeks!
And once the rain flowed the garden grew, even the flower seeds I planted. Of course the weeds took hold and oh my what a jungle there is now. Well I am not showing too many weeds…who wants to see weeds.
Let’s start in the front garden…..
The bulbs are gone, the weeds are up and the ground covers are blooming….a couple of different moss phlox or Phlox subulata, and in the center is creeping Veronica ‘Waterperry Blue’ which I love. It looks dead after winter, but takes heat, extreme winter conditions and blooms every year. If the voles wouldn’t dig up so much of my garden, it would be growing in bigger drifts. But thankfully they did not mess with the Geranium macrorhizum ‘Bevan’s Variety’ which is at the top of the post.
Yes the voles did some damage again, this time in the small left hand part of this garden close to the edges where the ground covers are….the ground covers now are missing in places and only small chunks remain. And where plants are dug up, weeds come in, and now I have much more weeding to do here thanks to 2 years of vole digging.
One of my favorite gardens, in spring, is the Shade Garden against the northwest back of the house. Our air conditioner unit is here. I think I counted 15 different native plants growing here as well as non-native ferns, hosta, Bergenia, Brunnera, Pulmonaria and my mistakenly planted Houttuynia cordata or Chameleon plant ground cover. The picture on the left is beginning of May and left is later in May as hosta emerged. The voles are in this bed too and they have hacked up some of the larger hosta into smaller pieces….which isn’t too bad since I was going to divide these hosta anyway.
I have to move some of the Mayapple; the tall stand on the far side of the air conditioner. And I need to move some Brunnera. I want to add in more native ferns and hide the air conditioner more. Of course I need to continue to pull out the Chameleon plant as well to keep it controlled. I would rather have a native ground cover here…live and learn.
Lots of early natives grow in May (moving top left clockwise are): Zizia aurea or Golden Alexanders (with the pink lily of the valley), Asclepias syriaca or Common Milkweed, Uvularia grandiflora or Merrybells, Dodecatheon meadia or Shooting Star, Geranium maculatum or Wild Geranium, Tradescantia ohiensis or Spiderwort. Many others were up in April due to the heat that started then.
Of course this native, Toxicodendron radicans, was growing more than we have ever seen. This is the dreaded poison ivy growing around the trees in the Center Garden and even growing in the front garden.
Also behind the Gazebo and in the Center Garden are the various Epimediums that bloom now even in between the weeds.
And my large collection of alliums started blooming in late May. I can never get enough of these flowers.
I also had a few surprises. The top tulip bloomed after 8 years of dormancy. I planted tulips, and they came up one year and never again until this year. This one lone tulip was brave to resurface. And I found the bottom species tulip growing along the patio. Of course the biggest surprise was the pink flowers. This is part of a small Flowering Almond shrub. The surprise is this shrub was removed 5 years ago. Apparently a bit of the root remained and decided to grow again. So there is nothing that isn’t possible it seems….I do believe, I do, I do, I do (thanks Cowardly Lion for this mantra).
This is the back lawn of the abandoned house next door and with their bumper crop of dandelions, I am inundated. I don’t mine some, but I don’t want them taking over my garden as they are now. I am hoping to get ahead of these somehow…they are seeding everywhere now.
Lastly, I found this tree (or shrub) growing in my back hosta garden. It is now about 4 feet tall and was not planted by us. We have no idea what it is….does anyone recognize this plant?
In early May, the lily pads were up and we were awaiting the water lily flowers. And the long stems of cattails were growing center right along with foliage of native iris,on the left, that love water.
By the end of May, the water lilies and irises were blooming profusely due to all the hot weather.
Green frogs (top left) are still ruling in the pond although we are hearing the tree frogs around the pond at night. And the peepers were still calling well into late May. But the big surprise is the toads. They have been calling from late afternoon until morning. This is the first time we have had toads mating in our pond. A most interesting call.
The meadow was putting on lots of growth in early May. The prominent weed that we were pulling all month was Yellow Rocket or Barbarea vulgaria.
And as May ended, the meadow was in glorious bloom. I have never seen so many native blue lupines. They have increased each year over the last 5 years. I just let them die back, and go to seed. These natives will pop their seeds all over the area even into the back gardens. And the daisies are blooming even more so this year along with yellow blooms of Golden Alexanders or Zizia aurea that are also filling in.
I thought I would give you a peek at the indoor seed starting station that was just emptied this past week. Tomatoes were transplanted, in mid May, into larger containers but they soon outgrew those too. I need even bigger pots I think. Herbs, peppers and squashes were growing nicely inside. And I was able to salvage a few eggplants and loads of flowers. I was finally able to transplant the veggies into the garden. We are in a cold snap again so I have delayed planting my flowers seedlings until this week. I am exhausted, and I hope the warm weather veggies will be able to handle these crazy weather extremes. I’ll update these plants at the end of June.
And here are the critters that came to the garden in May. As the trees leafed out in early May, I heard the distinct song of the Baltimore Oriole and his lovely mate (top left and right). Coming a day later were the hummingbirds (lower left), and the Catbirds (center) a week later. Finches, like this Goldfinch, were gorging on the dandelion seeds. I need hundreds of birds to take care of the overabundance of dandelion we have this year.
And right on cue around Memorial Day, the Cedar Waxwings returned. Unfortunately our pond pump broke so they moved on….they like to bathe in the waterfall. A few have been back as we replaced the pump. No sign of the wrens this year though. A few butterflies have dashed about, but not too many as the weather has not stabilized yet.
My bamboo Mason Bee House is finally getting some use. We noticed in early May that bees were checking it out. In no time, several tubes were filled nestling eggs inside. I can’t wait to see them leaving after hatching.
I will have a follow-up about the rabbit’s nest on Thursday on my new blog, Living From Happiness. I hope you will join me! And I hope you will join me for my meme, Seasonal Celebrations, as summer is just around the corner….a perfect time to celebrate…..details are below!
So there you have my May garden. What’s happening in your garden?
As I feel summer’s call, and celebrate this new season, I hope you will join in the celebration. I welcome those Down Under who will be celebrating the coming of winter to join in too.
All you have to do is write a post between now and June 21st telling me how you are celebrating the new season. Then leave a comment on this post with your link so I can include your link in my summary post on June 22nd.
I do hope you will consider joining in the Seasonal Celebrations meme as we celebrate the new season in your corner of the world.
In A Vase On Monday
I was happy to have a few lilacs to use, and the last of the dwarf bearded iris or Iris pumila for this vase. Both were fading as the hot weather returned.
I love the stark contrast between the white and dark burgundy and purple.
Iris pumila in 2 contrasting colors are displayed in my mother-in-law’s Homer Laughlin china sugar bowl. I used the creamer in another vase. The china set is from the 1940s and aptly named, Cosmos. I also added a few sprigs of Epimedium flowers to the arrangement.
These irises are beautiful pale colors that are so dreamy especially the light ice blue variety.
And lastly the Aquilegia or columbines are blooming at the end of May. Not many, but there were a few smaller Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Nora Barlow’, my favorite, in bloom. So I snipped some, and added one of the curly plum-colored pansies.
I am joining in with a few memes this week as I prepare this vase: Cathy@Rambling in the Garden for her wonderful meme, In a Vase on Monday, Today’s Flowers hosted by Denise@An English Girl Rambles and Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday.
Next up on the blog:
Next Monday, I will have a combined Tree Following and Simply The Best post profiling my American Linden Tree.
I am linking in with Michelle for her Nature Notes meme at her new blog just for Nature Notes. It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Tuesday.
I am also joining in I Heart Macro with Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.
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