Birds flying high, You know how I feel. Sun in the Sky, You know how I feel… It’s a new dawn. It’s a new day. It’s a new life… And I’m feeling good.
Whether you’re a fan of Michael Bublé or Nina Simone, let these lyrics set the tempo for May. Nature is bursting with life and activity, don’t be left behind, join in and let its heady warmth carry you from spring to summer. Languor in its dreaminess and cherish the explosion of blossom.
Wisterias will be out in their glory – let them grace a sunny wall, drape over a pergola, through railings or along fence tops away from drying winds. Try W. brachybotrys ‘Okayama’ with pendulant, scented lilac-blue flowers; the whiteflowering W. brachybotrys ‘Shiro-kapitan’ (aka W. venusta ‘Alba’); and lilac-pinktipped W. floribunda ‘Kuchi-beni’.
Delicate but elegant in its purity with a captivating scent that transcends time is Convulvia majalis (Lily of the Valley). I was enchanted by this white, bell-shaped flower on first discovering it as a child and it still captures my imagination. It thrives in partial shade – a delightful discovery along the edge of a woodland border.
It is peak time for tulips: in pastel shades, red, purple, maroon-black to yellow and orange; from singles, doubles to parrot, and it goes on. Great for filling gaps, plant in pots or in parterres. The raspberry-ripple effect of Tulipa ‘Estella Rijnveld’ is a show-stealer. A less kaleidoscopic bulb but quintessentially British, breath-taking en masse, is our native bluebell, Hyacinthoides non-scripta.
Continuing with blue, there’s the Californian lilac and as the name suggests, for a sunny sheltered spot. Try Ceanothus ‘Concha’ (4m), which has vibrant blue flowers. C. arboreus ‘Trewithen Blue’ (8m) has larger, more rounded leaves. The evergreen leaves work well with cream and green variegated plants.
Prune any frost damage from shrubs, give box hedge a light clip, stake or use supports for perennials such as delphiniums, lupins and sweet peas. Aerate compost; harden off young plants and plant out once the risk of frost is over: salad crops, French and runner beans, sweet corn, courgettes, tomatoes and pumpkins; rejuvenate herb planters.
Even if you haven’t caught the gardening bug (yet!), you can still appreciate the beauty of nature and all that it beholds. For an inspirational feast then gorge yourself silly at RHS Chelsea Flower Show – not just for plant lovers! Whatever you choose to do – do it well and be the best version of you!