June 12, 2021 by IG

May 2021 Garden Journal — IG

May was a month of abundant bloom in my garden. Yes, that sounds amazing, but in truth, I planted all my favorite flowers without seasonality in mind. The show is winding down now and by July, there won’t be much left in bloom. I’m not too upset about this oversight because it’s a problem with a clear solution — plant more plants. And I shall...if the big flower bed ever gets made. Finding a landscaper hasn’t been easy in the time of Covid, gardening is all the rage among the cooped up masses and contractors are in high demand. Ours promised a July start to the big tilling and amending project for our heavy clay soil. I’m hoping July isn’t contractor speak for August or September because my seedlings are not amused with their current digs of small nursery pots.

I was finally able to grow a poppy (Papaver orientale ‘Princess Victoria Louise’) to maturity, hidden from the bunnies in a drift of Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus tall double mix.)

The month started with lily of the valley and camassia in full bloom and ended in a parade of my beloved Sweet William, of which I have a lot in a single flower bed. I shudder to think of the hole its end will leave there. Once again, I failed to place plant supports before the plants got too tall and flopped. Now ‘Walker’s Low’ catmint, feverfew, ‘Totally Tangerine’ geum, et al., are laying prostrate over the grass, displaying their bald spots in the center.

Convallaria majalis and Camassia quamash bloomed beautifully but very briefly in the first days of May.
I can’t get enough Sweet William, I want it everywhere.

My contribution to the garden this month mostly consisted of daily watering, as it was another very dry month. Most of the grow lights are still on at the end of the month. I gave somewhere around 50 tomatoes and a dozen peppers away but still have many left with no place to plant them. I’ve ordered more grow bags than I can even admit to myself for temporarily housing vegetables and spent flower bulbs. Removing the spent bulbs from my large containers has allowed me to start planting them up with the annuals I started from seed and a few cute variegated plants I bought. I love variegation.

Please, take my plants!
I’m quite enamored with Salvia coccinea ‘Coral Nymph.’

The dahlia tubers I ordered couldn't wait to be planted until the soil is prepped in July, so I did some light amending to a bed that formerly housed some unattractive shrubs and stuck the shriveled little darlings in the ground, crossing my fingers that they can handle the clay underneath. A few other plants like the nepeta I bought during a long awaited trip to a nursery made it into the bed too for temporary housing.

We’ve set up a “nursery” area for overflow plants but, well, it’s not big enough for everything and a fenced area is needed for bunny fodder like lupines and hollyhocks, which are getting lanky without full sun in the sunroom. A neighborhood garage sale is coming up and I wonder if I can sell some tomato plants and part of the sedum army. Bird poop on tomato leaves makes them de facto organic, right?

Moving some plants out to the “nursery” area (top) allowed me to clear a walking path on the 4 foot deep patio (bottom). Success.

A robin has made a nest in one of our hanging baskets, we’re now (im)patiently awaiting the hatchlings. Cicada brood X has emerged. A bunny family has moved into a front yard flower bed. The skunks under our sunroom (who are ignoring our eviction notices) are respectfully getting around the plants almost entirely barricading their hidey-hole egress. Roses have begun to bloom. Peony and lilac blooms came and went. Wallflowers and pansies are still in full bloom. I was able to treat myself to a tiny bowl of tiny alpine strawberries started from seed 2 years ago. Hairy bittercress pops seeds underfoot. The garden is alive and with a mind of its own.

Paeonia lactiflora 'Raspberry Sundae.'
Peonies in bloom.
Lilac in bloom, punctuated by Allium stipitatum ‘Mount Everest.’ A smattering of Tanacetum parthenium and narcissus foliage fills out the bed in May.
We have some new neighbors.
Fragaria vesca v semperflorens and another unidentified variety not quite filling a 5 inch wide bowl.
Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’ in bud and in full bloom. I really liked the elegance of the buds on the dark, slightly arching stems.
Geum ‘Pretticoats Peach’ freshly bloomed (left) and faded (right.) This hybrid is supposed to rebloom in the summer, we shall see.
Perhaps it is the warmer temperatures, but the late May Viola cornuta ‘Antique Shades’ is much less vibrant than it was in the beginning of the month.
David Austin roses: ‘Jude the Obscure’ (top left), ‘Wollerton Old Hall’ (top and bottom right) and ‘James Galway’ (bottom left.)
‘Wedgwood’ rose (top and bottom right) and ‘Wollerton Old Hall’ (bottom left.)
Verbascum 'Southern Charm' (left) and Heuchera 'Berry Smoothie' foliage (top right) and blooms (bottom right.)
Salvia officinalis 'Extrakta.’ All photos by IG.