Potager Garden: May 2020

The first three weeks of May test a gardener’s willpower. It seems so warm and sunny yet you must try and hold your nerve against a surprise last minute frost. I continue the ritual of gathering up my seedling pots and placing them inside the kitchen every night. Just in case.

I enjoy the allium buds, knowing that the moment they transform into a stunning starry cluster they will not last very long in the garden. To my younger children, they are magical swords and fairy wands. Long afternoons of adventure await these delicate ornamental beauties.

Then, to my unexpected joy, a bulb has been displaced by winter landscaping and a rogue allium pops up by the end of the stream in the foxglove corner, safely out of the reach of tiny hands.

The evenings are light. The moon is out and yet I still can garden until gone 8pm. When everything is tidied away, I bring my cup of tea out to the vegetable plot. House martins swoop overhead whilst the goldfinches wait on the fence for the magpies, pigeons and starlings to leave a space for them near the feeders. As night falls, the birds return to roost and bats dart over from the lightning-struck oak tree on the field boundary.

I spend time shaping the giant fuchsias, with the aim that they should look like child-sized trees that my toddler daughter can hide under. The “trunks” look twisted and gnarled once they are revealed – perfect. The flowers are now suspended above thin air like little Christmas ornaments.

The rhubarb grows steadily on the stream bank. However, its twin is too close to our resident pigeon’s favourite sunbathing spot and is pecked to pieces. The rogue allium sneakily bursts into flower.

We find an old packet of beans, “best before” a year ago. We decide to give them a chance and plant them everywhere. We sow cosmos, calendula, chives, mint and parsley into pots and planters, wall hangers and baskets. Our pumpkin seeds start their days in old egg boxes. No residents yet in the solitary bee hive, but a plump spider the span of my hand has moved in underneath.

One night we light a wood fire, and dine on toasted marshmallows squished between chocolate digestives. I make hot chocolate for my eldest two sons to sip as the stars come out. They chat companionably for an hour as they watch the fire embers, and I am glad that even as they reach their teens, they remain best friends.

As we reach the end of May, there is a change in the light. It is brighter, yellower in tone. Summer is almost here. My daughter loves the raised beds, which are the perfect height for her toys. She feeds the wooden creatures fallen leaves and pretends the vegetable stalks are a dense forest.

One day, I discover I have a slight deer problem in the potato patch.

Several onions are about to bolt and I spot that two more have suddenly started to form flower shoots. I will need to harvest them all very soon.

I practise summer recipes on rare rainy days. After several attempts I am finally satisfied with my version of a raspberry and apple sponge cake. The next day is glorious and we eat thick-cut slices out in the garden; the children have scarlet-stained fingers and delighted jammy faces.

With June only a day away, our very first rose of the year bursts into bloom by the arbour. A new season awaits.

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57 Comments Add yours

  1. I love the “walk” through your garden. Any tips for working with mint? I’m planning to plant some soon.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you very much ๐ŸŒฟ My top tip for mint is to plant it in a container … it really does spread everywhere very quickly if not contained ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sounds like wise words. I will definitely do that. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Most welcome – lots of luck and happy planting ๐ŸŒฟ

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Vicki says:

    I also love the ‘walk’ through your garden. Who cannot be filled with happiness with the signs of Summer as they spring up high and delight the senses. Thanks for sharing observations in your garden. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Vicki ๐ŸŒผ This is the first year of the garden after the landscaped paths went in so Iโ€™m enjoying the surprises of random moves bulbs and seeds popping up everywhere. I hope everything is well with you ๐ŸŒฟ

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Kellie says:

    Oh I love this post, I was walking through too, cup of coffee in hand โ˜•๏ธ ๐Ÿ˜‰ I love the mention of your sons as BFFs and the joy of sitting around the fire, I really need a fire pit ๐Ÿค”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love that you read the post with a cuppa โ˜•๏ธ I often take my tea outside and just wander round the little pathway.

      Iโ€™ll have to grab a photo of our outdoor oven. Itโ€™s a funny little thing ๐Ÿ™‚ I recommend one – itโ€™s lovely to sit by the fire in the evening, any time of year.

      Like

  4. fakeflamenco says:

    Lovely garden design. Looks so inviting.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! It took me ages to decide what to do with the small space, I shall have to post a before and after and all the drawings I did at some point! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. fakeflamenco says:

        I’d love to see them. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I shall find them out! ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

  5. The fuschias are so pretty! Another enjoyable walk through your delightful garden.

    janet

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Janet – itโ€™s been a good year for fushias … I cut them almost to the ground last year and one is already almost six foot ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

      Like

  6. TanGental says:

    Looking great… oh and don’t just show us the cake! Tell us the secret!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Iโ€™ll have to write it up ๐Ÿ™‚ For some reason whenever I made it, I ended up with one half of the cake all apple and the other half all raspberry – but Iโ€™ve cracked it now.

      I *think* you asked about the bluebells but I canโ€™t find the comment anywhere … My garden bluebells were gone by early May – but the north side of the woodland flowers late May to early June (I think because it is cold?) ((with apologies if I totally misremembered who asked me ๐Ÿ˜ƒ))

      Like

  7. Adele Marie says:

    How amazing and beautiful. I am currently watercolour painting our Columbines before they drop their last petals.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A post beautiful in prose and photography. Good luck with those beans.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ann Mackay says:

    Your children are going to have some magical memories from this time in the garden. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Ann, I hope so! ๐ŸŒฟ

      Liked by 1 person

  10. You have a beautiful garden and with so much love your narrate about it. One day you will be gifting this wonderful hobby to your children.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much Deeksha – I hope so, I really am trying to keep it a family space for all of us (even if it does mean a few of my flowers go missing ๐Ÿ™‚) ๐ŸŒฟ

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Circle of life revolves around something missing and new discovery… each new petal of a flower or leaf of a plant from your garden will keep reminding you this…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Beautifully put, Deeksha โ™ฅ๏ธ

          Liked by 1 person

  11. Some amazing photos and descriptions. I agree these spring / summer late evenings in the garden are great.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I do love the light evenings – but if you have any tricks for getting a clutch of children to bed when it is still light, youโ€™ll have to let me know your secret ๐ŸŒฟ

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha! That is our biggest summer problem too -lol. Well, that and moths, bees and flies in their rooms! Oh my goodness!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. At least itโ€™s not just us ๐Ÿ™‚ It was a much greyer start to the day today and our five children slept until 9am – bliss ๐ŸŒฟ

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Wow! All 5 until 9am!!! Haha… thatโ€™s absolutely amazing to hear. Congratulations to you. Yes, weather not so good today! Hope your dayโ€™s been a good one. ๐Ÿ™‚

            Like

  12. Your post is like balm for my soul. You have an enchanted garden. I could have read so much more. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is the nicest compliment any writer can get, that a reader would have read more ๐Ÿ™‚ That will keep me smiling through the whole week, thank you ๐ŸŒฟ

      Liked by 1 person

  13. tootlepedal says:

    That cake looks delicious.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! Iโ€™ll check my success wasnโ€™t a fluke and then share the recipe ๐ŸŒฟ

      Like

  14. Fiona says:

    Your garden looks so beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much ๐ŸŒฟ

      Like

  15. John says:

    Thanks so much for following my photo blog, your photos and writing are wonderful!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is so kind and you are very welcome John ๐Ÿ™‚ Iโ€™m really looking forward to seeing more of your photos ๐ŸŒฟ

      Liked by 1 person

      1. John says:

        Thanks, I’ll do my best! The lock down has me digging really deep into my archives with only the occasional new photos. I’ve never been to the UK, really want to visit! I have a few online friends over there, you are the newest. ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I know how you feel! Iโ€™ve been finding my wild Scotland photos from last year for some upcoming posts, usually we would be hiking mountains in spring ๐Ÿ” We live in the very centre of England – I hope we get to visit your part of the world one day, but until then I shall enjoy your pics ๐ŸŒฟ

          Like

  16. candidkay says:

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Kay, really glad you enjoyed it ๐ŸŒฟ

      Like

  17. moragnoffke says:

    You have a beautiful way with words, even without the photos you paint your images with words. ๐Ÿ™

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Morag, thatโ€™s very kind ๐ŸŒฟ

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Karen says:

    Your wonderful description of May makes me wish I could visit your lovely garden…perhaps with a slight glimpse of the deer, if present. ๐Ÿ˜Š

    Like

  19. Great looking garden, though I prefer the cake. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! ๐ŸŒผ Once Iโ€™m positive that Iโ€™ve got a full proof recipe for the raspberry and apple cake, Iโ€™ll post it up – itโ€™s ever so tasty ๐ŸŒฟ

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I look forward to it. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  20. sideofmay says:

    Ahh, morning coffee in the garden! A perfect way to start the day.

    https://onthegowithmay.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Leif Price says:

    Interesting piece! It’s worth reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much ๐ŸŒฟ

      Like

  22. So lovely and what adorable little wooden animals.

    Like

  23. Whitney says:

    I love this!! Well written and such a joy to be a part of your garden. Seeing your little girl there playing warms my heart. Itโ€™s the little things in life that matter and where memories are made. Such joy here! โค๏ธ I too love gardening with my little ones! Iโ€™m hoping to do a post soon, thanks for inspiring me!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Whitney ๐Ÿ™‚ I am just working on my โ€œJuly Gardenโ€ post … this summer is flying by! When you write your post on gardening with your little ones, please do feel welcome to leave a link here, I would love to read it ๐ŸŒฟ

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Whitney says:

        Yes it sure is flying by. Awe thank you Iโ€™d love to share it!

        Liked by 1 person

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