May in the garden

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And just like that, the first quarter of the year is over and we’re now looking at May in the garden – where does time go? The recent mix of sunshine and showers has made everything green up almost overnight and lots of flowers are beginning to burst into life at last. Like the delicate pale pink honey scented flowers on our Japanese cherry tree in the cover picture – I’ve been picking a few sprays for bedside posies and the fragrance is just beautiful.

What’s flowering now?

Our new jasmine plant in its pot by the front porch is wafting heavenly fragrance over visitors and us whenever we open the door. Masses of tulips are beginning to open up, and both our white and pink perennial dicentra spectabilis are looking wonderful. Our summer snowflakes are still nodding away by the pond, and now that the daffodils are going over, the bluebells are starting to open up in the orchard. And our biennial honesty plants are really brightening up a rather shady flower bed.

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Potting on, hardening off, planting out

All the seeds we sowed in February have been potted on into larger pots (you’ll know when it’s time to do this as their roots will start poking out the bottom of their original pots or coir pellets). And I’ve planted out our cornflower seedlings into one of our raised flower beds where I grow flowers specifically for cutting.

I’m playing hardball with the slugs and snails this year though, any new or young plants go in the ground with a scattering of blue pellets around them. I’ve tried various non-bio methods in previous years and lost far too many young plants and a lot of hard work. Sadly, nothing is as effective as the little blue tabs, it’s not ideal but sometimes you just have to go with what works.

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Now that the weather and soil is warming up, I’ve been leaving the greenhouse door open all day and night to acclimatise and harden off our other seedlings (sweet peas, cerinthe, dill) which have come on in leaps and bounds, before they get planted out shortly.

Flower seeds to sow

As I mentioned last month, if it’s warm enough for weeds to grow, it’s warm enough to start sowing seeds outside too. Last year I sowed some wildflower seeds on a patch of bare ground at the back of our summerhouse and both I and the bees were delighted with the results. So I’ve done it again this year, with a different mix – watch this space πŸ™‚

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I’ve got some white and purple foxglove seeds for a shady border and purple poppy seeds for a sunny patch and they’ll be going into the ground shortly. I could have started them out in module trays earlier this year but life’s too short, I’m going to scatter them direct where I want them to grow and see what happens. And I’m going to try growing some edible flowers for the first time too – I found a box of seeds in Sainsbury’s recently, it’s a mix of nasturtiums, violas, calendulas, marigolds, and lettuce. Hopefully we’ll have some colourful summer salads later this year!

Vegetable seeds to sow

Now’s the perfect time to sow peas and we have two lots: some left over from our April Mud and Bloom box and some that came with a recent Innocent smoothies pack purchase. Flora loves helping with this and her other job will be finding suitable sticks to plant alongside to train the young plants up as they start growing.

We’ll also plant some carrots (tip: buy seed tapes, it makes life so much easier as the seeds are already spaced out for you) and some spring onions. Another tip: plant the carrots and onions in alternate rows so the onions mask the carroty smell and the dreaded carrot fly doesn’t come and eat your baby root vegetables.

Planting perennials

Prowling around garden centres at this time of year can reap some real bargains. I bought some lovely pink/purple flowering pulmonaria raspberry splash, some blue flowering brunnera jack frost and some polemonium jacobs ladder that will have purple flowers in early June.

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All were being sold off cheaply to make way for new summer plants. Tip: don’t worry about a few dead leaves or flowers on sale plants, the roots are the main things in perennials. As long as they haven’t dried out completely, a quick soak in a bucket of water before planting out will reward you with some strong and healthy plants for very little money.

Deadheading

Most of our daffodils have gone over now so I’ve been deadheading them (pinching off the dead flower just below the seed tip). But you should leave the green leaves in situ to carry on absorbing sunlight and nutrients to store and feed the bulbs ready for next year’s flowers. Once foliage has gone brown, you can cut it all back. I picked up a good tip from Gardeners World recently: deadhead your potted bulbs but leave those that are naturalised in grass (like our orchard) so they can self-seed and multiply.

Watering pots and ponds

Strange as it sounds, in spite of all the rain, pots need watering at this time of year. Most plants will have lots of foliage so the rain runs off the leaves instead of getting through the soil and down to the roots.

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And after all the frantic mating activity last month, both our ponds are crammed with frogspawn, some of which has hatched already. Flora’s been having a wonderful time pond dipping for tadpoles and she’s even caught three newts! Again, it’s really important to keep water levels topped up, ideally with rainwater from a water butt.

This is a lengthier post than usual, partly because there’s so much to share and partly because I’m responding to requests to see more of our flowers throughout the year (although you can see plenty of them on my Instagram <grin>). But if you’re still with me (!) then thank you for reading about our May in the garden – what plans do you have for this month?

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Ms Via
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This is very beautiful. So many different colored flowers, vegetables and plants its so pretty and heavenly. Loved all your pictures and you are doing so much to maintain and grow new plants. The colorful salad sounds yummy. Absolutely gorgeous post. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

Via | http://glossnglitters.com

Jenny in Neverland
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All these flowers are so pretty! Although I hate summer and I hate the warmer weather, I do love seeing all the pretty flowers. I’d love to see your garden in Spring / Summer!

Rebecca
Guest

Lovely post Lisa. Flowers just make you feel so much better! You have so many beautiful flowers and your garden looks gorgeous! I saw loads of bluebells on a cycle ride last weekend – so pretty xx

Bethany Jane
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Your garden is looking so beautiful as it all comes into bloom! I really need to come round and sit in this Eden you’ve created, it looks incredible and I bet it smells amazing too! Although I reckon I’d be joining Flora in terrorising the amphibian population haha! Your photos are beautiful and making me so excited for summer!

Beth x http://www.adventureandanxiety.com

Sara Coffield
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Sara Coffield

Blimey! You are busy πŸ™‚

Jessica & James
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Omg so pretty. It has brought back the spring vibes! Hope we get to have a garden space/plant area when we move in togther! Love this so much!

Jessica & James | http://www.foodandbaker.co.uk / http://www.foodandbakertravels.co.uk

Florence Larwood
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Florence Larwood

Such pretty flowers! I’m surprised at how much has grown (especially in these previous months of cold weather and then warm weather!)

Florence

A Cup of Wonderland
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So many beautiful flowers and so vibrant in colour! We have just been sorting our allotment and gardening out but with the new puppy, he decided he wants to deal with all the slugs and snails that appear – which is not good at all since we have to watch him more than being able to garden. Can’t wait to be able to see your garden in full bloom as Summer draws closer!

Bexa
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Your blog is so educational Lisa, today I learned that edible flowers and carrot flies exist. Your garden is absolutely gorgeous, I love how you have such bright & colourful flowers everywhere. Having a pond must be so much fun for Flora, I remember going pond dipping all the time as a child and loved seeing what I could find. Fab post, thanks for sharing your pretty garden with us! <3 xx

Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

Jasmin
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Everything looks so gorgeous! I’ve always killed everything I’ve planted haha. Whoopsie.

Melanie
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Another great post Lisa with beautiful photos. As I have said to you before I’m terrible in the garden and had no idea you had to deadhead daffodils I will most certainly be doing this now!
Thanks for sharing πŸ˜ƒ

Melanie | http://www.frasersfunhouse.com

Ellie Phillips
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All of your pictures are beautiful!

Sophie
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I’ve never been overly interested in gardening myself but I actually love reading your in the garden blog posts! I adore having flowers around the house and I’m really thinking about having a go at planting some for myself after reading your posts!- https://sophiehearts.net x

Kate
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Wow your garden if filled with so many beautiful plants and flowers, you must be so proud of it? Those bluebells are beautiful especially, ours have just started to flower too πŸ™‚ Loved this post, and loved the little tips you’ve added too!

Kate | http://www.katelovesx.co.uk/

Ruth
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These are so pretty! Your garden must be beautiful.

I live in a flat so I don’t have a garden of my own so I’m a bit jealous. Although, I don’t think I’d be as dedicated as you are – probably just one plant that I’d forget to look after.

Ruth | http://www.ruthinrevolt.com

Eena
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Your plants are so beautiful!! I think growing a garden is one of my favorite parts about spring/summer! I wish I could grow more plants this year but I’ve been swamped with work that I just stuck to my cacti and succulents xD

http://www.chrisandeena.com

Prachi Maulingker Naik
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You’ve got such a pretty garden !! In love with all the beauties out there in your garden πŸ’•πŸ’–

Elin
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What a wonderful garden you have πŸ˜€ Really green fingers ^^ I myself am taking care of some tomatoes, cucumber, melons, kiwi, figs and chilli ^^ Its so much fun to see them come up πŸ˜€