EXPLOREMY LIBRARY
We love May
May has an awful lot to offer – it’s a month to be savoured by gardeners and nature lovers alike. All around us are bursting buds, the unfurling of foliage, and the unmistakable 泫Ìæ›Óª››òâ«›Ó̳̫››Ì››Óý›âeÓþ³Ì«› ª›âí³Å³íA››C›Ae³›æ››òcc›››Óòí›íâA³Ì«› to pack as much travel and procreation into the short lifespans granted to them, and May trees (aka hawthorn aka Crataegus monogyna ›››â››³Ì›ªòÅÅ›eÓþ›â››]ßâ³Ì«› °›æ›ËÓæí›››E̳í›ÅA›æßâòÌ«››Ì›› summer is just around the corner. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the most anticipated month in the gardening calendar.
(PHOTO: TORIE CHUGG)
“Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May”
Shakespeare

STAR OF THE MONTH

Primula ‘Inverewe’

When I was a child, we used to have a tin of boiled sweets in the car glove box: they were dusted with icing sugar › I am pretty sure that many of you will know exactly what I am talking about. These were dished out at moments of extreme boredom or imminent car sickness. I am mentioning them here because the Óâ›Ì«››e›ýÓòâ›››æþ››í››ÓÌ›››³í›°››››››Ì›æò›Â›››ªÓâ› ›››³í››þ›æ››a››íÅA›í°³æ››ÓÅÓòâ›››í°³æ›eÓþ›â››ý›Ì›°›æ› a dusting of white to remind us of the sugar. A bright, cheery orange that will light up a shady corner.

Best on edge of a pond or stream under deciduous shrubs. Sterile, so divide in autumn. HxS 80cm x 40cm

TICKLED PINK

››ª››òÅÓòæ›ßÅ›ÌíϚ›þ° â ›í° ›ĕÓþ âæ››òâæí› from a papery pod and dangle like the Queen of Sheba’s earrings. Then, come late summer, they return to the upright position and make a crisply handsome silhouette for winter. A few years ago, this used to be an allium but the name was changed Ї although it still smells quite oniony, so best left in the border rather than being brought inside.

Nectaroscordum tripedale

More flowers than its better-known cousin N. siculum. Will grow from seed but best as a bulb planted in autumn. Looks good in long grass. H x S 1.2m x 10cm

WILD BLUE YONDER

Sometimes, if I am lucky, I happen upon

››Ĕ Å››Óª›ĕ›ă›þ°³Å ›íÓÓíų̫››âÓòÌ››í° › countryside and I always pull onto the

ý â« ›íÓ› Ì¿ÓĄ›í° ›æ ››Óª›ß›Å Є›Åò ›ĕÓþ âæ› nodding in a gentle wind. You, too, can have the same thing in your garden with, or without, tall spikes of echium.

Linum perenne

Perennial flax. Best with lots of sunshine and excellent drainage. Propagate from seed or cuttings H x S 60cm x 30cm

Echium wildpretii

Also known as the ‘Tower of Jewels’. A spectacular biennial plant, flowering in the second year. Protect from frost. H x S1.5m x 60cm

BALLS AND SPIKES

When combining plants, you need to look not just at colours and cultivation, but also

ĕÓþ â›æ°›ß ››c°³æ›³æ›››«ÓÓ›› ă›ËßÅ ›Óª›þ°›í›

I like to call a balls and spikes combination,

þ°³›°››Åþ›Ąæ›þÓâÂæ›þ ÅÅ››c° ›Å³Ë Є«â Ì›ĕòªª› that ties them all together in this particular photograph is a euphorbia

Allium ‘Mount Everest‘

Good in flower and as a seedhead. Propagate by dividing bulb offsets. Removing foliage as it gets tatty does no harm. H x S 1.2m x 30cm

Salvia ‘Caradonna’

Very popular mid-height perennial. Cutting back after flowering promotes a second flush later in the summer. H x S 50cm x 30cm

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Meconopsis ‘Lingholm’

Needs slightly acidic soil, cool, damp summers (Scotland is good), moist soil and shelter – you see what I mean? H x S 80cm x 30cm

IN THE GREEN

When we think of tulips, we usually picture fanfares of rich colour in pots, borders and, of course, vases. With that thought in mind then, a green tulip may seem like a weirdly pointless invention. Rest assured that it isn’t

Ї it is, instead, a valuable curiosity that goes well with other tulips and the fresh foliage

Óª›æßâ³Ì«›››Ì››³í›ĕÓþ â曪Óâ››« æ›Ї right into June if you are lucky.

Tulipa ‘Evergreen’

Plant bulbs in November once temperatures have dropped enough to deter tulip diseases. H x S 60cm x 10cm

VELVET AND LACE

I was taught that red and white together

þ›æ›òÌÅò›ÂĄ›Ђ››Åí°Óò«°›ĔÌ ›ªÓâ›í° ›]þ³ææ› ĕ›«›Ђ›.›í°³Ì›³í›þ›æ›íÓ››Ó›þ³í°››ÅÓÓ›››Ì›› tears. However, with these two plants I will make an exception. The only thing missing is a sashay of Stipa tenuissima to give a bit of movement.

Orlaya grandiflora

Really long-flowering annual. Sow seed in autumn for beefy plants – if you have a cold frame. H x S 60cm x 60cm

Geum ‘Mrs J. Bradshaw’

Avoid very wet soil, Sow seed in a cold frame or divide plants in either spring or autumn. H x S 60cm x 60cm

(PHOTOS: JASON INGRAM)

PHOTOS: PAUL DEBOIS; JASON INGRAM. PHOTOS: ALAMY/MARTIN HUGHES-JONES; JASON INGRAM