Garden Views-05-May 2023

May 2023 began in benign mode, with a grey, damp, misty morning, but was quickly followed by a couple of slightly warmer days with plenty of sunshine.

The daffodils were still looking lovely in many areas, after the cool spring with the final flourish from the first N. poeticus recurvus flowers only opening on May 4th.

Meanwhile the copse display of white and blue Spanish bluebells and Tulip ‘Peppermint Stick’ looked glorious at the beginning of the month.


All the time spent with the ewes and young lambs over the last 4 weeks has paid dividends with all of the 7 lambs staying very placed, and becoming very biddable, many liking to come over at ewe feeding time for a chin tickle. Although it was a disappointing year for lamb numbers, at least we have 5 bonnie ewe lambs to help rejuvenate our small flock, necessary after a break of 4 years with no lambing at all.
Getting down at eye level from early on with both ewes and lambs seems to be critical in this process of benign acceptance, allowing us to move the flock around with a carrot, not stick (or dog), approach.

Violets in the upper hay meadow have continued to spread around and have had a lovely year of flowering.

At last, I seem to have found a good container system for growing not just perennial plants which we grow in bulk for the garden and meadows, but also for vegetables. I’m hoping these sturdy plastic plug root trainers from H. Smith Plastics will yield plants that might be plant-able with the Pottipukti, in due course.

In a very late cool spring, many things are still behind their usual timings, leaving some poor scenes, rather devoid of interest for a few days in early May.

As the month progressed, amounts of rainfall declined, and temperatures gradually rose. On about May 16th, our unmanaged larch trunk hive which had been showing signs of lack of space for a few weeks, swarmed and took up residence in our vacant insulated German Butter churn hive, bringing us to our full complement of 6 hives, for now, around the garden and property.

From the second week onwards, grass growth in the meadows suddenly took off, and May’s riot of flowers began to emerge in a rush. Suddenly there were far too many jobs o do, as Fiona kicked off external decorating whilst I moved into plant watering mode.

I discovered fairly late on in my gardening career, (!) just how much more tolerant plants in small pots, or indeed the root trainers are, if kept out of full sun and wind. So moved all that I could into such locations given the forecasts began to show an extended high pressure system with no rain and much sunshine, through the whole of May, and beyond.

The Malus/Sorbus copse looked fabulous as the biggest crab apples burst into bloom

I finally caught up with the rush to get vegetables sown/planted out, and this area tidied up, so could then concentrate on other areas of garden maintenance.

The terrace garden approached another glorious moment as the Alliums, Quamash, and Aquilegia all began to bloom around May 17th.

The main group of Rhododendrons began to bloom mid-month, shortly followed by the scented Azaleas.

The tyre garden became a riot of colour as the month progressed, with Welsh poppies, Polemonium and ‘Ravenswing’ cow parsley, and Sweet Cicely all frothing.

The garden warbler returned early in the month, and sang its heart out as always, whilst we had to wait until May 15th for us both to hear a cuckoo clearly for the first time.

The month progressed in glorious fashion with largely unbroken sunshine, sometimes very brisk, cool Northerly winds, but temperatures benign in the high teens. Almost a perfect May, for us. The sheep were shorn on May 21st, and a super added to the PV hive, as seasonal markers.

The meadows really began to look interesting from the third week of the month onwards with the pignut, meadow buttercups, bird’s-foot trefoil and first orchids all beginning to bloom.