Category Archives: Plants for May

Quite by chance

I noticed this week how some colour and flower combinations were just meant to be…





This Clematis flower tones in so well with the greys and browns of the brickwork it is scrambling up




This sweet little pink and white Nemesia sings out between the purple Heuchera and dark leaved Lysimachia behind,  with the purple hues of the brick border in front.




This pansy and the Iris share similar colour combinations – maybe I’ll combine them in a pot next year?


And the Clematis montana looks fabulous dripping from the Pittosporum, both plants enhancing each others features and doing no harm.

Eremus robustus or Foxtail Lily

Here it is standing tall and proud at the back of the border. Wow. But just the one one? It looks daft on it’s own. Foxtail lilies flower for about 3 weeks. I shall be leaving the flower spike to stand till early Autumn this year as that gives it more of a chance to self seed. Fingers crossed.

Persicaria bistorta superbum

A fabulous perennial plant that looks great in a herbaceous border, flowering here with alliums or naturalised in the wild garden, happily nestling in with the grasses..IMG_0730

It reaches it’s peak at the end of May/beginning of June. The leaves and flowers then begin to die down and if you then cut it back to the ground, it will grow for a second flush later in the year.

Ground Elder

Ground Elder, the enemy
Ground Elder, the enemy

If I added up all the hours I have weeded out ground elder from the borders in the last 10 years, it would probably have been 5 of them, although I sincerely hope it only felt like that and was more like 1 year. If you don’t have it in your garden count yourself lucky. Whilst it can be quite satisfying pulling the roots out of the soil (thick white roots a bit like spaghetti), you also know they travel into and through all the other plants and downwards more than a metre. Realistically impossible to get rid of in an established border organically. All we can do is try and slow it down and pick it when we see it.

In contrast, the featured image is the gorgeous variegated ground elder. Beautiful in colouring and habit, as ground cover or as an edging plant. It also has dainty white flowers held in umbels above the leaves. Nor is it invasive at all. It is rarely found in Garden Centres though, as people just don’t trust it!

A – Z of gardening NOW

A – A firm hand – you cannot garden without one!
B – Baddies/beetles – look out for anything that might destroy your plants. Right now I am seeking bright red Lily beetles and removing them.
C – Create new borders. You could fill them with annuals just for this year or try out some new perennials on the scene which will come back year after year
D – Last chance to divide and replant your Kniphofias as many of mine are flowering already
E – Earlies…I hope you have been planting up your pre-chitted early potatoes?
F – Friendly… This is a great time to share your over abundance of seedlings
G – Glut – Following on from the previous comment, we either have too many or too few. let us share!
H – I love this one.. “half-hearted?’ No you can’t be now. Weed Weed weed, we need to be strict. Put on the radio and get yourself a good kneeling pad. No hurry, and slowly but surely, you will get it done.
I – ‘I’? let me remind you all that we are not on our own. Maybe WE garden at my house this week and your house next week. Let’s not garden alone.
J – J is for gardening jaunt.. it is SO inspiring visiting other gardens, we MUST do it!!!
K – Keep going – This is such a busy time of year but it is worth putting in the groundwork for the rest of the year.
L – look out for snails and slugs if you are growing things in pots.. they are always lurking somewhere close.
M – Mulch your borders. Make sure they are wet underneath the surface first and weed free and then mulch mulch mulch in abundance: mushroom compost or bark chippings or garden compost. It will save you time/money in the future because once it is done it is done.
N – No you don’t have to fill every gap right now. The gaps may well fill themselves in.
O – Observe. For me this is the most exciting month of the year, just ooh and you will enjoy. Even weeds look fabulous now.
P – Photo’s are brilliant, they really help you focus on what you need to do next year and they also make you realise that you have a fabulous garden and do not forget that..
Q – Question plants that have just arrived (?) in your border. Get rid of the interlopers.
R – Don’t forget ‘R n R’ this is why you do it. Enjoy your garden.
S – Slug rings, yes they are expensive, but once you have them there is no looking back. We love them for the survival of our Dahlias and Hostas.
T – Time in the garden. the more time you spend, the better it looks..
U – All those seeds that haven’t germinated.. are you sure you haven’t looked under the pot and found a big fat snail that has actually gobbled up all the new growth?
V – Valerian, it finds itself everywhere. It is a weed. Get rid of it.
W – Watering. OMG we need to make sure all living things have water, particularly anything you divided and moved last year or this, or have just planted or have just sown the seed.Don’t forget..
X – If it has the X factor, put it in..
Y – Yuccas, I try and disarm them whenever I can by just cutting off their horrible spikey tips.
Z -Zantedeschias… Wherever and when ever you can plant these (usually somewhere very damp ) you must, because they are one of the most beautiful plants on earth x

The extraordinarily beautiful Zantedeschia Lilies
The extraordinarily beautiful Zantedeschia Lilies