Sumer is Icumen in…Slowly

A warm, sunny and dry April accompanied by chilly nights has been followed by a cool and damp May, with weather records broken in both months. The borders are gradually filling up with attractively mounded clumps of fresh foliage, some now punctuated with splashes of colour as blooming begins. The promise of summer is clearly there, as the border above and below shows, but one of the major heralds of summer, the rose, is still absent: plenty of buds, but no blooms. But all in good time, and they will come when they are ready…

It is always a pleasure to welcome back old friends in the garden, so let’s take a quick ramble around it and see what’s blooming in this latter part of May, starting with old faithful astrantia, allium and aquilegia in the above border, along with early flowering Persicaria ‘Superba’. On a breezy afternoon it was hard for the camera to focus on the many variations of aquilegia that can be enjoyed here, but here are a few that came out clearly:

Geranium make gorgeous clumps at this time of year, but so far it is the more informal and often partially evergreen varieties that have begun flowering:

I mentioned signs of  geum reappearing in one of the bold borders, and it has company, especially in the form of recent purchase Geum ‘Tempest Scarlet’, making a currently unparalleled splash:

There are the first buds on summer flowering clematis but two of the spring flowering varieties are still in bloom:

Bluebells were a little later this year but are still dominating the woodland along with wild garlic and a large clump of red campion, returning after a year off:

Centaurea are another stalwart of late spring, with buds of both blue and white varieties opening to reveal blooms which always make such an attractively bright contrast with the soft green leaves:

Also seasonal but running late are the slowly establishing lily-of-the-valley, whereas this low growing comfrey is rarely out of bloom:

Rhododendrons can be expected every May, and this seems to be the usual flowering time for the powerfully fragrant Choisya ‘White Dazzler’ too:

I am chuffed to have grown these candelabra primulas, P ‘Miller’s Crimson’, from seed:

In the cutting beds my seed-sown cosmos, still less than half its full height, is in bloom and should begin appearing in a vase soon. There are buds on some of the cornflowers too, but it will be a few weeks before anything else is flowering.

Early season bedding plants (pansies, bellis, polyanthus and tulips) still occupy many of the pots, delaying their summer flowered replacements, but I can still enjoy them while I wait…

And finally, an unseasonal latecomer, the last of the hippeastrum in the Coop, ‘Appleblossom’:

Addendum, written a few days later:

I managed to omit from my notable May blooms the spreading but still welcome Galium odoratum:

And wonderful Magnolia ‘Susan’:

And how could I forget the Winter Sunshine sweet peas in the greenhouse? Probably because they had all been picked to put in a vase on Monday:

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15 Responses to Sumer is Icumen in…Slowly

  1. Anna says:

    Oh after the last four days or so it is hard to believe that it will be flaming June in just over a week! Still there are lots of signs in your garden Cathy that summer is on the way. I love the allium, astrantia and aquilegia combination. I have just the one rose in flower – a present for my sister which does flower ahead of all my others. This month like April will indeed be another record breaker weather wise but again a sad reflection of extreme weather patterns.

    • Cathy says:

      The forecast is looking drier and milder for later in the week which will be a boon for gardens and gardeners (and those who relish their bank hols!)!

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Your spring garden is looking good.

  3. Cathy says:

    There is so much in bloom already, and so much fresh green growth too. Love that candelabra primula. 😃

  4. You have a wonderful garden, Cathy. Simply bursting with life and lovely flowers!

  5. “ .. loud sing cuckoo!”

  6. Brian Skeys says:

    It has been a very unusual spring weather wise Cathy, you do however have plenty of colour. Sunshine forecast for the rest of this week🌞

    • Cathy says:

      I think the 3 As are pretty much flowering at their ‘usual’ time, and the roses were exceptionally early last year. I am glad I am keeping moore of a record of these things now so I will be able to assess better what is a typical flowring time. Rambling Rector is invariably in boom in the first week of June (the Golfer’s birthday) but is probably still a fortnight off

  7. Denzil says:

    Lhude sing cuccu! You have a beautiful garden Cathy. Despite the chilliness and wetness of May. Nice clematis too: do clematis grow up strings, do you know? I have planted one in my new garden (starting from scratch, what fun!) and am not sure if I need a trellis or poles or whether string is sufficient.

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you Denzil. Clematis stems are quite easily broken so I wouldn’t risk growing them up strings. Some make a huge amount of growth in a season too. A trellis or obelisk are definitely the better options, although wires on a dfence or wall would be fine. And some herbaceous ones don’t need any support at all, and may just scramble through a border. What fun to starting a garden from scratch – do you have a clearish plan in mind?

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