The Garden Blog | May
May is the most magical month…not exactly spring, but not exactly summer either. Hawthorn, cow parsley, and bird cherry abound with their pure white froth of flowers, and rich and heady scent. At dusk they have a ghostly glow. With fields of rape, hedgerows of primroses, and dandelions brightening the verges, the countryside in May is awash with floral delights.
Our gardens too are picking up the pace just now, May opens with carpets of forget-me-nots, chartreuse Smyrnium, and an array of tulips; ending with pom-pom alliums, Iris in a multitude of colours, and a host of paeonies. May is most definitely a month of change.
It’s all change for the seasonal displays in the pots, tubs, and urns here at Deene Park too. Out goes the winter display to be replaced by summer. Mature perennials such as our angel trumpet brugmansias, cannas, and black banana, have returned nicely into growth over the last few months and are now big enough to make an impact outdoors again as specimen plants in our larger displays. Cuttings taken towards the end of last year of plants that we use for a single season, such as fuchsias, salvias, verbenas, and heliotrope, are now mature enough to join them. Also set to liven up the summer displays are half-hardy annuals grown from seed, amongst these are Amaranthus and Celosia.
It’s important to ensure that plants grown under cover are hardy enough to survive happily outdoors at this time of year, before planting them out. This is done by ‘hardening off’ or placing plants outdoors in a sheltered position for a few days before planting to toughen them up a little. It is however, essential that plants are protected from frost. If frost is forecast, it’s advisable to put off planting out. Sometimes, however, forecasts change; if you have planted out and frost is then due, it’s essential to protect your plants with horticultural fleece…a product readily available in larger garden centres.
Change can sometimes happen at a more leisurely pace…as with our new Rose Garden. Recently, the paths have been finished with a stone coloured bonded gravel, and the lavender edging has been planted. The planting scheme is presently netted to allow the plants to settle down, free from the unwelcome attention of local wildlife. At the end of the growing season, the netting will be removed as the plants will be established enough to look after themselves. At this time, we will add the final component to the display, spring and summer interest bulbs.
All in all, there’s plenty going on right now.