The May Garden

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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56 Comments

  1. 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. 🙂

    1. Thank you Vicki 🌼 This is the first year of the garden after the landscaped paths went in so I’m enjoying the surprises of random moves bulbs and seeds popping up everywhere. I hope everything is well with you 🌿

  2. Oh I love this post, I was walking through too, cup of coffee in hand ☕️ 😉 I love the mention of your sons as BFFs and the joy of sitting around the fire, I really need a fire pit 🤔

    1. I love that you read the post with a cuppa ☕️ I often take my tea outside and just wander round the little pathway.

      I’ll have to grab a photo of our outdoor oven. It’s a funny little thing 🙂 I recommend one – it’s lovely to sit by the fire in the evening, any time of year.

    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! 🙂

    1. I’ll have to write it up 🙂 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 I’ve cracked it now.

      I *think* you asked about the bluebells but I can’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 😃))

    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 🙂) 🌿

      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…

    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, you’ll have to let me know your secret 🌿

      1. 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. 🇬🇧

        1. I know how you feel! I’ve been finding my wild Scotland photos from last year for some upcoming posts, usually we would be hiking mountains in spring 🏔 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 🌿

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

  4. 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. It’s the little things in life that matter and where memories are made. Such joy here! ❤️ I too love gardening with my little ones! I’m hoping to do a post soon, thanks for inspiring me!!

    1. Thank you so much Whitney 🙂 I am just working on my “July Garden” 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 🌿

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