Sunday, 17 May 2015

Merry May

 May is my very favourite month of all. There is a freshness about it, still a part of spring, but containing all the promise of summer. Trees and fields are verdant with the brightest, zingiest greens, and the air smells sweet with the honeyed scent of blossoms and new growth. Even when it rains in May, it's fresh and invigorating. I tried to capture this sweetness in my calendar page for this month. It was difficult limiting myself to just six photos - I could easily have chosen many more.

I'm in good company in my admiration of May, as many writers and poets have been inspired by this month. The poet Thomas Carew wrote about the burgeoning countryside:

'Now do a choir of chirping minstrels bring
In triumph to the world the youthful Spring
The valleys, hills and woods in rich array
Welcome the coming of the long'd-for May'

And I love this quote from Mark Twain. It perfectly captures the feeling of renewed energy and restlessness that arrives with the spring:

'It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!'

I've had Edith Holden's 'Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady' for many years, and the charm and skill of her paintings never fail to delight me.    

The May paintings are very delicate and fine, and I love her depiction of bluebells, may blossom and a bird's nest.

On the subject of blue, have you noticed just how many flowers in May are blue? And not just any old blue - my very favourite shade of purply blue. The early clematis which grows up the front of my shed is so graceful with its bells which gradually open. These photos were taken a couple of weeks ago and the flowers are now green, spirally seed-heads.

Our ceanothus, or Californian lilac, is blooming at the moment. It's such a deep, rich blue and makes quite an impact in the garden.

The Spanish bluebells are looking glorious now. We haven't been out to look at any native bluebells yet this year - we'd better get a move on before we miss them!

When we celebrated my dad's birthday at a country pub a couple of weeks ago I took a picture of this wonderful wisteria growing up the front of it. We used to have a lovely one which grew around the windows on the front of our house, but a couple of years ago it suddenly died. I do miss it - maybe we'll plant a new one, if we can find room.

As well as blue there's plenty of pink around at this time of year too. The aquilegias, or granny bonnets, are at their best now. Long slender stems carry those gently dancing blooms above ferny foliage - what's not to like? A year ago I wrote about how prolific they are in our garden, and it's still the case. I shall have to do some thinning out so that our other plants have room to grow. I'm very fond of their soft colours in shades of pink and blue, though.

The dicentra, or bleeding heart, is another pink flower which brightens the garden in May. Its unusual blooms hang in a row of delicate little pink hearts.

I also have to mention this sweet little lilac-coloured flower which is at its best in May. I always knew it as Wandering Sailor as a child, but in recent years I discovered it's official name, Ivy-Leaved Toadflax.

Along with ivy, it grows all over our stone garden wall and has pretty little flowers which look like tiny snap-dragons.

It's easily overlooked, but I think it's an incredibly pretty little plant that deserves a closer look.

Every April and May the ferns unfurl (just love that word!) and send up little coiled fronds which look a bit other-wordly, like strange creatures.

Gradually they unwind, uncoiling up the length of the frond.

This is how the fern looks this morning, completely unfurled.

These are all things I love about May. Other things I'm looking forward to are:

-cow parsley lining paths and lanes
- meadows full of buttercups
-hawthorn blossom in the hedgerows
-really warm days that feel more like summer than spring
-eating outside in the garden
-wearing sandals - hooray!
-the first fragrant, glorious roses
-watching the Chelsea Flower Show on tv
- long evenings spent outside

... what are you looking forward to this month? 

(By the way, I'd like to say a big 'thank you' for your encouraging comments about our forthcoming kitchen and your own kitchen-related experiences. Our old one is now gone and the room is a shell awaiting damp-proofing - it's all very exciting indeed!). 
See you soon x


  1. What a wonderful floral post. Blue is my favourite colour so loved seeing all the various blue plants. I too love the Edwardian Lady books, the illustrations are so beautiful and I love all the old country sayings. Hope the kitchen renovations are still on track. xx

  2. Looking at your photos I definitely have 'Spring Fever'. It is such a lovely month isn't it, although I have to admit that the thing I am looking forward to most is these wretched AS exams being over! Did you see the garden design programme where the winner gets to design a plot at Chelsea? I'm quite looking forward to the flower show too; unfortunately, it will have to be via the TV! Have a grand week. xx

    1. Yes, I did and have been watching Chelsea in the evenings this week. It's such a treat and very inspiring. Hope you all have a break from the AS revision soon :)
      Cathy x

  3. Gorgeous clematis, so unusual. And I love the wisteria too, one of my favourites. The diary is beautiful, I love nature diaries. You're right, May is a pretty good month. CJ xx

  4. Ooh lovely! I must get my Edith Holden out again, it is such a beautiful book. Glad to be looking at your sunny garden as it's raining in mine today. x

  5. It is a lovely month isn't it? I know I'm sure enjoying it!
    I love the old fashioned names of those flowers: Granny's Bonnet and Wandering Sailor are much preferable to their 'real' names aren't they?

  6. You are totally right: May is a wonderful and somehow magical month. I love how everything is blooming and sometimes I wonder how we made it through the winter without all the wonderful colors!

    Take care
    Anne (Crochet Between Worlds)

  7. What a lovely post, beautiful flowers - I do love aquilegias, I used to have lots, mostly self sown, in a previous garden and feel quite nostalgic for them seeing yours. Something to add for next year! I love your calendar too - are they your photos? Been thinking of doing that next year - seeing as I keep all my photos in dated folders, thought it might be fun to go back and pick a representative selection. x

    1. HI Sandra, thank you for visiting my blog :) Yes, they are all my photos and I make a calendar every year with them using Vistaprint. Hope you enjoy collecting some aquilegias for next year.
      Cathy x

  8. Funnily enough we have all the flowers you mention in our garden, except the ivy leaved toadflax, which is new to me. Though I'm trying to get rid of the bluebells; they spread so and look far better in a woodland, I feel. I love May, too. Lats hope this rain stops and we get some SUN!! Jen

  9. I noticed this year how many blue flowers are around in May, no bluebells in my garden but I do have Granny's Bonnet and a huge drift of forget-me-nots flowering and some blue poppies coming out. Your photos are beautiful. Helen


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