Posted by: Christine | June 23, 2013

The Garden in May

Yes, I know it’s nearly the end of June, but I’ve been busy – more about that later.

May was another mixed month. It started with warm sun but there were periods of gloomy wet weather and most of the month was windy. Unusually some of the best days coincided with the bank holidays, and on 6th May we visited the Quarry Garden at Bagington, near Coventry. We have visited here before, but slightly later, when the Rhododendrons and Azaleas are out. We thought there would not be much colour, but of course the Magnolias were out.

View across Quarry Gardens

View across Quarry Gardens

A bank of Magnolia Trees at Quarry Gardens

Magnolia flower at Quarry Gardens

Magnolia flower at Quarry Gardens

In our garden the focus moved from the border where there has been a pause between the tulips and later flowering  plants. The exception was the Paeonia mlokosewitschii, whose red shoots we saw earlier in the year.

Flower of Paeonia mlokosewitschii

Flower of Paeonia mlokosewitschii

On the opposite side of the garden buds were unfurling and leaves stating to appear on the trees. By the middle of the month they were in full leaf.

The tree border on 16th May

The tree border on 16th May

From right to left they are: Weeping Willow, the red Acer palmatum ‘Atropurpureum’ and green and white (for a couple of days it was bright gold!) Acer platanoides ‘Drummondii’. We call the latter the “Millenium Tree” since we planted it in 2000. The dark blob is a common holly and on the left is the fence with next door – yellow conifer on their side, mixture of Euonymus, honeysuckle and ivy on ours. The shrub in front is Choisya ternata – in bud. If you are worried about the claw in the top right hand corner – that’s part of the Wisteria (more about that next month)

Two weeks later, the holly has turned pink from the Clematis montana that has invaded it from several yards away (memo to self: must chop it back when it finishes flowering) and the Choisya is flowering – wonderful smell.

Trees on 31st May

Trees on 31st May

Of course the problem with all these trees is lots of shade! Underneath, at this time of year, is a plant that I have found useful, Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum). I think it can be a bit of a thug, but anything that thrives in this situation is welcome. This, with the variegated holly (silver king?), pulmonarias and aquilegias, and of course the bluebells, adds light to a dark area.

Using Woodruff and other plants to lighten a shady area

Using Woodruff and other plants to lighten a shady area

Sorry the picture is not quite in focus – I was bent double under a magnolia branch!

Further down the garden is the vegetable garden AKA “the wildflower meadow”. We allow plants here if they are not interfering with the vegetables. We have a thriving colony of Welsh poppies. They have just taken over from the primroses and will be in flower until winter when the primroses start again. Here a patch has formed a nice contrast with some Forget-me-nots. The Apple blossom above is just ending.

Yellow poppies and forget-me not below the apple blossom

Yellow poppies and forget-me-not below the apple blossom

Another plant that seeds itself around the garden is Aquilegia. It appears in a variety of different colours from purple, through pink, to white. I intend to be more strict with it and limit different colours to certain parts of the garden. It does seem to make a decent job of it itself though. Here is the purple version positioned right in front of a pink clematis alpina.

Clematis alpina and self sown purple Aqilegia

Clematis alpina and self-sown purple Aquilegia

On the 25th May we visited Coton Manor Gardens for our annual visit to see the bluebells.

Coton Manor bluebell wood.

Coton Manor bluebell wood.

Like a lot of other plants this year, the bluebells were a couple of weeks late.

There was a lot to see in the rest of the gardens there. I was glad to see that I was in good company with my display of orange tulips.

Orange tulips at Coton Manor, with colour co-ordinated chicken.

Orange tulips at Coton Manor, with colour coordinated chicken.

There was also a lovely gentle view in the orchard of Camassias and Cow Parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris – also known as Queen Anne’s lace or, to my husband, Keck)

Camassias and Cow Parsley in the Coton Manor Orchard

Camassias and Cow Parsley in the Coton Manor Orchard

As Coton Manor is within easy travelling distance, we bought season tickets, so there will probably be other pictures from there, later in the year. Just don’t confuse them with pictures of my garden!

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