End of Month View – May 2012

With the blink of an eye we are at the end of May. A couple of weeks ago I wrote, with a sense of excitement, about the sudden arrival of warm, correction – hot, weather. I foolishly said that I hoped to have a garden full of flowers ready for the May End of Month View. How wrong could I be! I am beginning to wonder what I have done to prevent the production of flowers and I will read with interest the other EOMVs, with the hope it’s not just me.

Last year one of my beautiful peonies had flowered by now, this year not a single flower is to be seen.

Another disappointment is the sudden death of the glorious salmon pink poppy with its paper thin flowers the size of saucers. It has flowered every year for the past 6 years, this year it looks like this:

On a more cheerful note, one little lavender that looked sorry for itself last year, is making up for it now. There are a few rogue buttercups, and you probably can’t quite see it but in the right hand corner a pretty California poppy has self-seeded itself.

This is what I love about my garden, nothing behaves and self-seeds pop up in odd places, they clearly know that I garden without rules and regulations.

Although slow to start the vegetables in the raised bed are now beginning to get going. I have been eating (and giving away) Rocket for weeks now and the Swiss Chard is ready to use. In the front of the photo you can see tiny leeks. I planted some garlic between them and the Chard. Not having the space afforded by an allotment, everything is crammed in somewhat so I hope they will grow ok. The carrots are to the far left, just out of the photo and they are way behind from last year. Charlotte potatoes are my chosen crop this year and am watching the leaves closely for fear of blight which hit last year.

A few months ago a few gardeners on Twitter talked about growing Cleome, a flower I have not had in my garden anymore. The gauntlet was thrown down to see who could grow them successfully. I am not sure what mine will end up like, but they seem to be doing well at the moment and last weekend I planted out several of the larger plants. I think I should have put them slightly further back in the border, I forgot that they can grow quite tall. I am covering them with bamboo cloches at the moment to protect them from the neighbourhood cats, who like to use the flowerbed as a toilet.

The Cleome were amongst a selection of cutting flower seeds brought from Higgeldy Garden, all of which have been successful. I have pink poppies, black cornflowers, stock, nigella and scabious all waiting to be planted out very shortly. There are few courgette plants there too.

To make room for all of these I have decided to pull up a number of the hardy geraniums. They do spread and take over and they have been around for a few years in my garden so it’s time for a change. The ones I have left are the lovely Johnsons Blue.

Fingers crossed that with June knocking on the door, all the plants will burst into flower and the garden will be a mass of colour, which Summer is all about.

Thank you Helen (Patient Gardener) for hosting this monthly meme, I am now going to pay a visit to the other garden bloggers who have written an EOMV to see the different stages our gardens have reached the end of May.

  • Coming up soon on the blog: Celebrating the Jubilee in France

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  1. It is very strange how some plants thrive one year then suddenly throw a wobbly the following year. I have Cleome in my garden – it is very attractive but I think my soil is too light and dry for it to really thrive. I hope yours does well.


  2. I do feel your pain as we have had a hard time with some plants…but things are finally turning around with all the warm weather in May…with June now the weather has cooled to 60s and 70s again…keeping my fingers crossed for both of us!!


  3. Maybe your plants are stressed, the UK weather has been very strange. I was at Chelsea last week and it was hotter than at home in Italy! Your garden is all set, though and will look lovely. I only planted out my chard yesterday mainly because I’m lacking space too! Christina


  4. I’m very fond of cleome after seeing it planted en masse in Honfleur a few years back. I do have some (still) tiny seedlings – I don’t suppose they’ll do anything this year. D


  5. It is fascinating to see other people’s gardens and what is thriving and what is not. Mine here in North Wales is patchy – the peonies are in flower, the poppies not yet. My real saving here has been alliums which I have never had before in quantity. I will definitely be doing that again! The thing I love about EOMV is that you can see what was happening last year and how different it is from one year to the next. Thanks for sharing yours.


  6. Oh dear I wonder what happened to the poppy? My salmon colour one is doing well and the peonies have buds, blooms and the first seed head. I love cleomes and for a few years managed to nag a friend (with more space and kit) to grow some from seed for me, they are such rewarding plants but I haven’t any this year, silly mistake. I hope you enjoy yours!


    • The poppy was doing well until a few weeks ago, I will miss watching the flowers opening overnight from bud to flower in the morning. The cleomes are doing ok at the moment, and I hope they like their new home in the flower bed. There will definately be photos on the blog if they do well.


  7. Lovely geraniums indeed. The demise of your poppy is so sad. 😦
    Your chard is ahead of ours, somehow I was talked out of starting in the greenhouse as usual, and it is struggling to get going outside through all the hot dry weather this month. Picking leaves for salad, but no big leaves yet.
    I started Cleome seed earlier in the year for the first time, but all except one seedling have disappeared, the remaining one is still tiny, so I’m not sure I’ll have any – try again next year!


  8. I had maybe two or three years when the cleome grew really well but then for some reason I had no luck with them. I think they need plenty of space and may have got crowded out by other things.


  9. Fascinating reading Ronnie, I know what you mean about things not appearing at the same time as last year – in fact some of our regulars – the chives for instance – have completely disappeared.


    • I’m beginning to wonder if perhaps I over feed everything in March and they have put all their efforts in producing leaves instead of flowers. Finger crossed for June colour otherwise it’ll be a trip to the garden centre.


  10. Hi Ronnie,

    So sad to see your garden is struggling for blooms; I wonder why?
    Mine is chock full and looking stunning, honestly I’ve never seen it so lovely!!

    Hope yours blooms soon… It’s been a strange old year that’s for sure!


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