May - my favourite month of the year! So much changes in the garden during this month and the colours of my flowers change from predominantly blue earlier on, to the beginnings of pinks and mauves with a few splashes of yellow and orange by the end of the month.
The first of the cranesbill geraniums to bloom is Geranium phaeum. This is by far my favourite cranesbill, as its flowers last for ages and is the only one I have which will come back into flower again later in the year. It grows in both total shade and semi shade and has beautiful leaf markings. It also self seeds which none of my others do - not necessarily a good thing! It is a flower really loved by bumble bees and starts flowering as early as April, and just goes on and on.
Lilacs have been and gone, and this bush proved itself to be much loved by the Cabbage White butterfly. I really should check whether this is a large white or small white, but as a veg gardener I'm afraid either of those two is a Cabbage White to me!
There have been bright wacky colours from my two rhododendrons; this one is a dark pinky red although the colour fades as it matures, and close up it looks quite pastel. Yet another flower much loved by bees and hoverflies alike. I have seen my old friend, the Heineken Hoverfly, again on these flowers. The following photo isn't him (her?!); this is another kind of hoverfly. They are far less flitty than bees and much easier to photograph!
I've already shown a number of flowers from earlier this month during the blue phase, including many blue aquilegias which came from seeds from my mum's garden which I just threw around here and there. Last year I decided to add some new ones to the mix by sowing some Nora Barlow seeds but only three managed to germinate and survive. Here's one which is quite stunning. Unfortunately the other two just seem to be rather pathetically small double versions of the same deep blue as I already have! Sod's law!
This next is Weigela florida 'Alexander'* which I treated myself to last year. I'd had one in another garden and had to leave it behind when I moved. I just love purple foliage and here it is in full bloom already, with some rather tall self seeded corn cockles growing through it, against the backdrop of my lime green smokebush (variety unknown). Freckles is saying "No, focus on me!" in the background! Sorry Frecks, already got loads of photos of you!
* I've always known this Weigela as Alexander, but it seems the internet is divided between those who call it Alexander, and those who call it Alexandra!
Strange lighting and graininess as I took this next photo one evening. Blue aquilegias in the foreground with the first of the zantedeschia flowers against a backdrop of french lavender. Unfortunately the french lavender has gone rather woody and scruffy looking and a big chunk broke off in the wind a few weeks back, that same wind which knocked the top off a conifer tree and detached my honeysuckle from the wall. Not sure whether to replace it or not, as the two cuttings I took and planted in the back garden died, so maybe they are not very hardy? Hmmm decisions :-/
Edit: Problem solved. Just been to Lidl (cheap supermarket chain) and they had some young ones in bud for only €1.99, about a third cheaper than a garden centre where they would already have finished blooming, as everything is forced into flower far too early at these places.
Not entirely May flowers, these heartease violas flower for about 9 months of the year but I don't think I've featured them yet. They are so glorious close up, and yes I have a new camera which I am just learning how to use!
I have to admit that I don't know what kind of irises these are. All I know is that they are not the bearded ones! I have two clumps which came from a friend's garden last year and already they have spread and are looking amazing! They are planted in quite a shady place which may not be good for them so first I need to do a little research as to what conditions they like as I will probably divide a clump in the autumn as they deserve to be planted in more places!
The chives are flowering now and they are just covered in bumble bees all the time.
My front bed. It still looks very green in the photo but there is plenty flowering here! The reddy pink flowers are valerian which is quite happy in this dry bed and the few blobs of pink in the left foreground are Lychnis coronaria. I love this plant and it self seeds easily but really doesn't like dry conditions, even though having small furry grey leaves is an indication that it's a drought resistant plant. Not here, unfortunately.
May also sees summer clematis and roses just starting into flower. Meet Clematis 'Miss Bateman', who is growing in a planter with a trellis attached to it.
My roses will really be coming into their own in June but I can't resist introducing you to the first few flowers opening up on 'Zephirine Drouhin'. She's an old French variety of rose, thornless, climbing and perfect for the archway she's been planted up against, as no chance of snagging your clothes or getting scratched if she gets out of hand! She's only been in place 2 years and has a lot of growing to do. Her perfume is exquisite and she throws her scent out a long way, so when we are sitting up near the barn and chicken shed we can smell her lovely scent.
That's it for now, I really must stop. June will probably get out of hand..... ;-)