Dear Friends and Gardeners: Delays in May


“I used to visit and revisit it a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over  my vegetable progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation.  It was one of the most bewitching sights in the world to observe a hill of beans thrusting aside the soil, or a rose of early peas just peeping forth sufficiently to trace a line of delicate green.”   ~Nathaniel Hawthorne



My goodness May has been challenging.  A few hot days, some warm days, but mostly cool days and cold nights with many freezes.  As the garden begins to grow more, I can see what is lost and what is delayed, but more on that later.  There are lots of new flowers showing up daily, like these bleeding hearts and Forget-me-nots above so all is not lost.

But there is a big delay, in the veg beds and cutting garden.  There isn’t a lot to see, since my last post in April, but I will show you how things are coming along a month later….




These alliums, onion starts, have not progressed at all, but at least they are not dead.  




lettuces bed

The lettuce bed was dug out, screening laid down to keep out voles, and new soil added (another chore completed).  Then lettuces and greens were planted, and they are growing nice and slow.  The faster growing seeds are the lettuce mix and arugula.  Kale, endive and mustard are also growing here.  Soon I hope to have some herbs and celery planted out.  They are growing in the basement waiting.




pea bed

The pea bed is loving the cold weather, somewhat.  Peas are progressing, and radishes are developing, but they are needing more time to get bigger so we can harvest them with lettuces….hopefully by the end of May.  Once harvested, bush and pole beans will replace them.  I also have spinach growing in this bed, but it is very slow to grow too.  The leafy green plant, you see above, is cilantro, I planted last fall that overwintered, and is growing beautifully in the cooler temps.





Of course the garlic is huge…over a foot tall.  Other beds are either not planted (tomato bed), or haven’t had much growth….like the root veggies.




fruit bed

The fruit bed is actually growing beautifully.  You can see the blueberries woke up and all have new growth.  Bottom right is the raspberry that is growing again from the base.  And many of the strawberries have flowers, showing we should get some fruit.  You might remember this is a new bed we put in a fallow area that was weeds and mud (it is another garden chore completed).




cutting bed

Even the cutting bed is slow to grow.  Sweet peas are emerging, Stock (Matthiola incana) and California poppies are beginning.  I am waiting for dahlias, gladioli, Cosmos, Cleome and Tithonia to emerge.  Once we get warm to hot weather, the seeds will shoot up, and I should have loads of flowers for vases this summer and fall.




flower seeds

And while I wait for the flower seeds to grow outside, I have hoards growing like crazy in the basement….Tagetes, Alyssum, coleus, begonia, Nicotiana, Antirrhinum, NasturtiumsCleome and Zinnia to name a few.




veggie seeds

Keeping the flowers company, in the basement, are the veggies and herbs.  The tomatillos (top left) are already flowering, and I have transplanted the tomatoes twice.  The peppers (center) are growing fast, and getting a good head start as are the eggplants (top right) finally.  The celery (bottom right) had to be transplanted again, as it gets ready for the lettuce bed.  And the herbs are also taking hold.  These are a few of the basil growing bottom left.  Marjoram, Italian parsley, dill and savory are putting on more growth too.  

I expect to get all of the basement seedlings out by the end of May.




mailbox garden

While I have waited for the warmer weather, so I can work more in the veg garden, I have been busy weeding, and weeding, and weeding.  My Garden Helper edged the Mailbox Garden, while I dug out grass that had encroached everywhere.  Those daffs were still growing with Muscari into mid May.  Also Phlox subulata was flowering, with Aquilegia, hardy geraniums, Dianthus and Nepeta not far behind.  Echinacea, daylily, clematis, lavender, coreopsis, and Achillea millefolium will follow up the spring blooms.  I  will also put some Zinnia here in a week or so.

This bed is really coming along, and I am just about done with moving things around here.  




kidney bed

And we really got a handle on the Kidney Bed which is just up from the Mailbox Garden.  The phone and cable boxes are in this garden, and it straddles the property with our neighbor.  No one lives in the neighbor’s house…actually it is a foreclosure and has been abandoned for 7 years now.  But we hear the bank may try to sell it, so I wanted to clean up this bed, edge it (the Garden Helper did a great job) and rearrange a few plants.

Top left is the back of the bed, as I see it from the house.  The bushes are native Ninebark.  In between them are allium, Muscari and now hardy geranium to create a border as it grows.  As we move clockwise, on the neighbor’s side of the garden, there is Echinacea, culinary sage (Salvia officinalis) and more hardy geranium.  I think it is mostly Geranium sanguineum.  There is daylily and thyme tucked in the middle of the garden, with purple foliage sedum and Heuchera.  On our side of the garden, there is more hardy geranium, sage,  Aquilegia and a couple of lavender.  When I first created this garden it was to be an herb garden, and it still is to some degree.  Also growing throughout the garden is the ground cover, Campanula punctata ‘Plum Wine’.  

This garden has also come a long way, and I think I may be done with it for a while.  Next up is the mess of a Sidewalk Garden now being overtaken by Bedstraw, a weed, also known as Galium aparine.  Oh my aching body.  But I am taking it slow, with frequent breaks so as not to injure myself.  With all the garden foliage making more of a show this May, than flowers, I am linking in with Christina@Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for her Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD).



How has your garden been growing this May?  Have you begun to harvest vegetables?





In A Vase On Monday 



I went around the garden and collected a small posy to put in my heart Belleek vase.




primrose vase collage

The yellow flowers were my first choice….Golden Alexanders or Zizia aurea, a beautiful native wildflower growing in my garden and meadow.  They have a lovely, light, lemony scent.  Added to that is a deep pink Polyanthus primrose which is still blooming now for almost a month.  The blue is Brunnera with those bright electric blue flowers, that rise like foam above the variegated leaves. 





And I decided to make a weekly vase to place in my sanctuary…..where I love to meditate, read, journal and sit peacefully in my rocker!




bluebells vase collage

In this vase are many native Virginia bluebells or Mertensia virginica.  Their name is perfect, and I adore the scent.  Added to this are the deep purple blooms of Pulmonaria, some white Epimedium flowers and one stalk of pink Fern Leaf Bleeding Heart (Dicentra eximia), a new native plant in my garden I will be profiling in a couple of months.

I am joining in with a couple of memes this week as I prepare these vases:  Cathy@Rambling in the Garden for her wonderful meme, In a Vase on Monday, and Today’s Flowers hosted by Denise@An English Girl Rambles 2016.




Next up on the blog:  
Monday, I will either update the Meadow to show you want is growing or update you on the garden chores.

I am linking in with Michelle for her Nature Notes meme at her blog, Rambling Woods.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Monday. 

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2016.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only. 

57 Replies to “Dear Friends and Gardeners: Delays in May”

  1. It’s an exciting time of year–but frustrating too, isn’t it? Waiting for Mother Nature to warm up–all the while leaving us to tend to flats and flats of things that have to go out.
    The blooms are lovely–I don’t have enough of any spring blooms to be able to cut and bring them inside.
    Happy Spring

    1. Oh I hope that changes for you soon Susan…we have had summer now all this week with high 80s and 90s…and it will continue all this week too!

  2. Exciting times in the vegetable garden Donna; a good idea to include that for foliage day. I’m interested that your cilantro overwintered outside. I always grow mine in the greenhouse; I’ll try some outside later this year. The Virginia bluebells are gorgeous, they really do look like proper bells.

    1. I just cut it at over a foot tall and wide as the weather heated up to high 80s and 90s all week…it was getting ready to bolt. I sow mine in mid to late fall and mulch it in for winter. It survives the cold with little plants, and then it grows in spring until the weather gets hot. I did not cut it all, and will look to see if some will regrow. The weather is supposed to stay hot this week and then cool to 70s next week.

    1. We have gotten summer heat up to 90 this past week and into next week. Lots blooming, and if we can get some substantial rain it will really kick into high gear.

  3. Love the wonderful blues of the brunnera and the Virginia bluebells. Things will move quickly when the weather warms up I imagine. May has been cool here too and I have yet to plant gladiolus bulbs and zinnia seeds–soon though.

    1. It has gotten down right hot with 90s and high 80s for this past week and next and boy is everything growing..we do need rain though.

      I started zinnia inside and once it cools off and rains by next weekend, I will plant them in the ground. I planted the glads in Mid-May and they are already up.

  4. We have had it cold and wet here Donna – and I’m struggling to get anything to germinate at all. Even the peas! I notice that things sown later in April (veggies) are germinating while early sowings from end of March have simply failed. It’s made me really realise how much I have to learning about vegetable gardening – but I’m now adding up the experiences of the last 4 seasons and (hopefully) they’ll eventually add up to vegetables! Your vases are lovely – Alexanders is one of my favourites, and I so enjoy seeing those Virginia bluebells. I’m not sure why we don’t often see them here.

    1. VA Bluebells are hard to start even in their native areas….and I have heard that many in other countries have a hard time getting them to live or even grow.

      We now are into week 2 of a heatwave so the rest of the veggies are planted out and those sown in April are shooting up…hoping your weather is warming.

  5. I can almost feel your aches and pains Donna! You’ve been busy but we all know the payoff is great. Looks marvelous! I am going to start planting out this week. Lots of seedlings but I believe our cold spells are finally at bay. It’s time! Can’t wait to taste my own garlic again – you have a wonderful crop of it. Love the vases – oh, those bluebells and I am a fan of forget-me-nots.

    1. I have my veg garden out and watering it as we are bone dry….and too hot. But after this week we are supposed to get normal 70s. The garlic should be showing scapes in a week or so and I bet I harvest a bunch in mid to late June….with this heat we are catching up or ahead with some blooms…CRAZY!

  6. I’m sorry to hear about your terrible weather, Donna, my sister in NY has the same. Some of your flowers are doing well in spite of that, the ones that succeed always make up for the failures for me. Your bluebells are so lovely, my poor attempt to grow one is eaten full of holes by slugs every year and I keep forgetting to put on the slug bait. I’ll have to check to see if it managed to pull itself together to bloom. I’m encouraged that I can cut Brunnera for some blue if I succeed in eradicating forget-me-nots this year (dream on…) Your vase of bluebells and pulmonaria, Epimedium, and the Dicentra exima looks wonderful, it does look like my Dicentra formosa. Here, my early planted peas and favas are blooming, I cut lots of rhubarb, this week I’m planting pole beans, bush beans, and sunflowers. I start tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants in early December and now they are quite large, I plant them out after April 15 under tunnels. I will plant cucumbers and squash out this week under tunnels too. Last year being hotter was the first year I got eggplants and peppers planted in the ground instead of in black plastic pots for the added warmth.

    1. I am pulling lots of forget me nots too….at least they pull easily. We now have a heatwave so I planted all the veg garden and beans too. With the heat I expect them to be up fast although we do need rain. I planted the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant last TH and if we get rain, I expect them to grow fast and big within a month we will have flowers and fruit. it is the ripening that takes so long.

      Good luck with your veg garden this year Hannah!

  7. I’m sure you’re right, Donna, and as soon as winter gives up its comeback attempt, your vegetable garden will be a joy to behold. I’ve given up on growing vegetables this year because of our water shortage but I do have some herbs and, amazingly, an artichoke I planted on the seldom-watered back slope years ago when I had no other place for it, has not only sprouted but has produced an infant choke.

    Both of your vases are lovely. I wish I had better luck with Brunnera – it adds such delicate beauty to any vase.

    1. Wow that is a wondrous artichoke. We now have 90s and heat will continue this week…so the veg garden is planted, needing water (we have been in a three week drought)…but loving the heat.

  8. Hi Donna
    I love flowers with blue blossoms. I planted some blue lobelia this year in my garden and flower pots and the bright blue flowers are really eye catching. I’m hoping the Forget Me Nots I planted last summer will reemerge soon. I try to put in a lot of perennials as they are more tolerant of the conditions here. Our May has been mild simce Mother’s Day, although I did worry about frost one evening and covered some of the annuals.
    I planted pink Knock Out Roses in my retaining wall –they are covered with wire cages to protect them from the deer this summer,so they grow established roots, but next year I might see what happens if I let them free. I missed not seeing roses in my garden!

    1. Oh those deer are a pain with roses…I can’t believe they tolerate the thorns. Glad you enjoyed the blue blooms.

  9. How exciting to see all those seedlings – so much promise! The brunnera looks so pretty next to that polyanthus, and the dusky colours of your second vase make the perfect combination. Thanks for sharing

    1. My pleasure Cathy….we have had a heatwave so now everything is beginning to bloom and we are catching up!

    1. Anca we went from 50s and 60s to 80s and 90s last week and so summer made an appearance…we are supposed to get typical spring weather in another week.

  10. Donna, I liked brunnera in your white vase, it’s pretty! I see you sowed and grow many veggies. I harvested a bit of celery and green onion. I love to make salad with cucumbers and greenery.

    1. I do grow many veggies and they are all planted now and growing with our recent heat wave….we even had a few salads and the greens keep regrowing fast.

  11. A lovely look at the progress in your garden Donna. Weeds have almost got the better of me too! I have only sown flower and veg seed this month as we have had warm but also very cold spells, like you, until now. So everything will be a little later, but will no doubt catch up! Your vases feature two plants I have never seen in Germany but have often read about on American blogs: Virginia bluebells and Alexanders. Both are very lovely and I may try and grow them from seed one day. Beautiful vases!

    1. With no rain and a heatwave, all I could do was plant the veg garden and some containers….I will continue to plant more flower starts this week, but oh the garden is speeding up. With a bit of rain the weeds will overtake the flowers even more. I look forward to hearing how the VA bluebells do as they can be hard to start and keep growing. The Alexanders seed easily and fast, making a huge display in mid to late spring.

  12. I enjoy seeing all your hard work in the garden. Too bad Mother Nature has made it harder more recently. It would be fun to have you give us a tour and show us plant by plant (in person).

    1. Thanks Leora….Mother Nature dealt us another blow this week with a continued drought and now a heatwave…but the garden is doing OK.

  13. Your garden is really coming along despite the weather roller coaster. Weeds are really bad this year too. We have gotten weeds I never saw before in the garden and have no idea where they came from.

  14. Thanks Donna. I just brought up all my seedlings and put them out in the garage. They will go out tomorrow morning for a short time as they acclimate daily. Amazing how hot it has gotten so quickly.

    I have been getting some new weeds too Donna…amazing how they just spring up.

  15. My alliums are in the same state as yours-but it is heat not cool weather causing the delay. You deserve some time in your sanctuary-you have been working hard.

  16. May is such a beautiful month; but for sure this one was so different regarding the unusual weather ( sometime too cold, sometime too warm, with too much rain or cloudy skies)…
    Your garden is so lovely and you are very careful with all aspects! I imagine all the work to plant, grow, cultivate various plants, vegetables, blooms, so on… So lovely and rewarding work!
    Warm greetings and a happy week of May ahead!

    1. Thanks so much Alexa….I am so far behind trying to catch up with bloggers so I hope to be around soon….the growing/planting of veg garden and containers has consumed my time….now our weather is extreme heat…just crazy still.

  17. White epimedium- a new plant for my ‘I want’ list! Your vases are lovely, as always, I love the airiness of the first one in the Belleek vase and the mertensia in the second. Another native I need to get my hands on. Does it self-sow readily or spread slowly?
    I am envious you have your own sanctuary. I redecorated my eldest son’s room when he moved out and it was quickly taken over by son #2. Living with men is sometimes impossible!

    1. One of my favorite epimedium Eliza. The VA bluebells can be hard to start and they take a while to spread but they do. Best to get pieces of the roots to start them.

  18. May has been slow off the marks here too Donna and some seedlings seemed to go into a state of suspended animation for a while. I smiled at your comment about your onion starts. The mertensia is such a beautiful blue. I had one and loved the way it shimmered. Sadly it’s gone to the big compost heap in the sky.

    1. With the heat now, many now are off and running…and we are getting rain finally today so i think with more heat this week, we will have the veg garden jump. The VA bluebells are hard to start and keep going. They seem to like winter and then a cool spring. Once they bloom the foliage does fade.

  19. Unbelievably for the end of May I’m still having to bring plants back into the greenhouse some nights. The days are gradually starting to warm up, I just wish the nights would follow. It’s been another odd month.

    1. I was hoping for a gradually spring warm up, but we went from cold and cool to extreme heat of 90s and more heat this week too…crazy weather still but the garden is liking the warmth finally.

  20. Yes, it’s been a very challenging spring. First, the cold delayed my tomato planting for two weeks. I planted the Tithonia but they were suffering. And now that I am out of town, it’s turned downright hot. Not sure how the plants will respond to these big temperature swings. I’m worried about some seedlings and new plants that might be overwhelmed, and I am not there to provide water if needed.

    1. I finally got my tomatoes in with our 90 degree heat….we warmed up in one day and it is continuing for 2 weeks. My poor seedlings are bucking up to the heat but we are keeping them well watered. I think acclimating them last week in the heat, helped them get ready for planting this weekend. Hope yours are OK.

  21. It could be a challenging summer Donna with such a dry spring. I tried 2 new types of garlic along with my usual music variety and the names wore off the name tags so now I don’t know which is which. 🙁
    Do you ever sit back and wonder how much longer you’ll want to keep maintaining so many gardens? I still enjoy mine but do think about this question from time to time.

    1. I think about that frequently Judith….which is why I am trying to make changes to the gardens….I drew a picture of the beds so I know exactly where the different garlic are….my tags were wearing off too many times so this worked better. Now I have to remember to only pick one variety at a time so I know the difference.

  22. Oh, your vases are a breath of fresh air! Very nice. And the garlic–wow, it’s huge! It seems like we went back and forth with winter and spring for three months, and now our weather is more like high-summer! I hope we’ll get enough rain to make up for all the heat. Enjoy all your tasty produce!

    1. High summer here too Beth and it will continue this week….and finally rain today after 3 weeks of drought.

  23. Bit late getting back to you this week Donna. Family goings ons that is keeping me busy. Thank you for sharing another lovely post with Today’s Flowers. All very pretty and definitely brings a smile. Our weather is getting nicer down here. Hope yours is too.

    1. It went from cool to high summer and uncomfortable humidity….but we will get spring 70s back next week….hope you have a great long weekend!

  24. I was always amazed at how hardy plants were when we lived up north. Even though your gardens might be a little slow, they seem to be doing well. Italian parsley was one herb that overwintered very well in our gardens in Maine…as a matter of fact the only ones that I had to replant each year was rosemary and basil.

    1. The plants up here are amazing Karen and the gardens are doing OK even with all the warm ups and then cold weather we had…and the milder winter. Funny with the It. parsley. I tried to overwinter them, but they bolt and go to flower and seed as soon as the weather warms, so I start new plants, along with rosemary and basil each spring.

      Dill seems to overwinter and return each year…and cilantro started in fall overwinters and grows in spring until the heat returns.

  25. I think the weather has been weird everywhere. Just another sign of the times. 🙁 But everything looks good, regardless of our fickle weather. it will be hot soon enough!

  26. Your vegetable garden looks great! May was quite pleasant here until this past week. Now summer has arrived! Temps have reached 90 and the humidity is rising. The place smells moldy. I need to reset my attitude and embrace Alabama’s tropical side, but already I am longing for fall.

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