May the Blooms be With You

Chloris of the Blooming Garden encourages us to share our top ten blooms each month, and this post highlights mine. Having chosen blooms that have made the most impact in May, my selection is a mix of the general and the specific, starting with Rosa ‘Crown Princess Margarita’ above. The roses here are a week or two ahead of themselves compared to last year, and some have very quickly made a jaw-dropping contribution to the garden and taken a number of the spaces in my ten.

I showed Rosa ‘Rural England’ in yesterday’s post but it fully deserves another slot today, with dozens of new blooms since the last photograph. From relatively inauspicious beginnings, it is now becoming of the best performing roses in the garden.

‘Snow Goose’, against the wall by the stone circle, has also underperformed for most of its residency, but its impact today was such that it had to be included as well (although it is unlikely to make it into my favourites list).

‘Madame Alfred Carrière’ is always one of the first roses to flower and is as wonderfully floriferous this year as she always is, but growing way above my head she is so difficult to photograph, especially against a sunny blue background. As a short floribunda rose ‘Regensberg’, however, does not present this difficulty, and the group of them planted in one of the beds under the clematis colonnade is beginning to fill out nicely. Four varieties of low-growing roses were chosen for these beds to disguise the ankles of the clematis growing up the posts.

The final rose included in my best May blooms is ‘Susan Williams-Ellis’ which, dare I repeat myself, is doing so much better than she ever has done before, previously just producing one or two blooms at a time – with a mound of startlingly pure white little petals she is a beautiful and easily recognisable rose and is really standing out in the shrub border this year. Perhaps it is just going to be a good year for roses!

Not all the roses are flowering yet, and even though ‘Rambling Rector’ has been smothered with its usual thousands of buds for weeks he is still following his typical flowering schedule, which is the end of May and into June. The first few buds that have opened already are completely overshadowed by the adjacent Clematis montana ‘Grandiflora’ but they make a great couple, being of very similar dispositions.

In the working greenhouse the early ‘Winter Sunshine’ sweet peas have been flowering since early April so have made an impact throughout May – what a joy they are, bringing colour and fragrance to the early spring garden and endless flowers for vases and posies until they are ousted to make room for tomatoes, by which time the outdoor sweet peas will be ready to take on that role.

Another typical May star is usually the wisteria but it is noticeably absent from the May role call this year, having failed to make any real impact at all for the first time since it started flowering about 12 years ago. There were racemes only on the uppermost stem, but even these were sparser than usual, and at first I put the relative absence of blooms down to some extra thorough winter pruning to tidy wayward shoots, although having pruned it successfully for all these years this seemed unlikely. Chloris tells us that pigeons are partial to the flower buds on her wisteria, so perhaps I can lay the blame at their door instead of my own; whatever the cause, let’s hope normal service is resumed next year.

Rhododendrons are another May stalwart and although they have made an impact for much of the month they seem to have been affected by the heat and lack of rainfall, with blooms on some just, well, ‘flopping’ is the best word I can use to describe them, and today I watched a bee trying to squeeze into a flopped floret. Past their best, they and this part of the woodland edge border still deserve to be included:

I shall finish with my three April and May stalwarts, allium, astrantia and aquilegia, no specific varieties as they all qualify for inclusion and are to be found in most of the borders in various combinations, joined in some of the photos by hardy geraniums, erigeron and Papaver ‘Princess Victoria Louise’. Bounteous borders like this are what makes gardener’s hearts sing at this time of year – just one of the things, that is! Thank you to Chloris for facilitating the sharing of our May blooms.


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15 Responses to May the Blooms be With You

  1. tonytomeo says:

    Clematis montana can work like a climbing rose for those of us who dislike climbing roses. I know the personality is completely different, but it really can be used on fences and arbors in a similar manner.

  2. Teacher Camille says:

    They’re so pretty! How I wish I have a green thumb too. I bought some seeds on the market before but I guess I didn’t really made the effort to let them grow. They would’ve been beautiful. Hehe 😀 Thanks for sharing your pretty garden, it’s so relaxing!

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you Camille. My best tips for growing from seed are to sow just a few seeds in a small tray, prick them out as soon as soon as they have their first true leaves, pot them on when the roots become congested and plant them out when conditions are OK, keeping them well watered till properly established

  3. Such lovely roses!

  4. Chloris says:

    Lovely Cathy. Thank you so much for joining in with your May delights. You have certainly caught the rose bug, yours are all gorgeous, aren’t they early this year? And absolutely intoxicating. I’m certainly tempted by Crown Princess Margarita.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Chloris – it doesn’t seem that long ago that I didn’t have the bug (or any knowledge of roses), but now I am always on the lookout for another suitable spot!

      • Chloris says:

        I know. Having been blogging chums for several years now, I have watched the birth and development of your rose enthusiasm grow into a passion. Welcome to the club.

        • Cathy says:

          I know I was only willing to start with climbing roses, and chose purely by colour without considering fragrance or length of flowering…very different these days!! But yes, it’s definitely a passion now 🙂

  5. Chris Stacey says:


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