May in the Garden

May in the garden has been such a joy. It feels like every day I stepped out into something new in bloom. May is undeniably spring in full swing, but something about watching our neglected, overrun garden burst into life felt extra special, more than just the gifts of the season.

We’ve been slowly trying to uncover the gems from their bramble cages, and it’s been painstaking work. Everything has been neglected for so long, we are guessing it’s been around ten years since the garden had any real care, and whilst the plants are surviving, they haven’t really been thriving. With that in mind, back when we first got the keys we pruned the rose bushes we could see back to promote healthier, bushier growth. Well the joke was on us because we pruned back five bushes but this month we have eight varieties of blooming roses. The ones we missed were tangled up into trees, and so tall they only flower up in the boughs of our cherry and magnolia trees. When the season’s over we’ll be giving them a drastic haircut so they’re less leggy, fuller, and so we can appreciate their flowers at eye level.

Inside the greenhouse things are starting to take off. Tomato plants have shot up a few feet in their grow bags, the marigolds I planted from seed back at the end of March finally have little heads appearing. My chilli plants have been potted up, the basil seedlings were ready to be pinched out for bushier growth, and I was able to start some winter seedlings too, purple sprouting broccoli and purple kale!

The veggies are all starting to show off too, my parsnip seedlings are looking bushy and healthy in the veg box, my rainbow chard and lambs lettuce should be ready in time for some summer salads. I’ve planted a first crop of radishes, which I will continue to plant through the summer to allow for a continuous harvest. I’ve put four of my strongest cucumber plants in the ground outside, and kept four safe in the greenhouse as a backup. Basically, it’s all looking good for a veg heavy summer.

Possibly my favourite thing about the garden right now is finding new things around each corner. Whilst there’s a real sense of satisfaction and pride that comes from planting seeds and nurturing them to growth, it’s also pretty amazing to turn a corner and find something flowering you didn’t know it was there. We’ve got lots of rockery in our front garden and it’s bursting to life this month with flowering wild geraniums, lush green ivy and wild strawberry plants too. This garden is incredibly well established, and despite the lack of care it’s received, it’s nice to see the course of nature uninterrupted, with bulbs blooming in spring, and wildflowers taking over as summer approaches. I’m crossing my fingers for mushrooms come autumn!

At the moment we are missing some of our boundary fencing, and until that is restored and we have our garden set out, the big picture stuff will have to wait. I’ve got a very strong idea of what I want to do long term, making the most of the way the garden naturally lends itself to having separate sections. But until then, I’m working on removing the giant brambles, digging out invasive weeds, and clearing the flowerbeds that are overrun with ivy. It’s a slow process, the weeds are so established that their roots are sometimes three feet deep into the earth, but it’s satisfying work. So far we’ve only worked on the smallest bed, but we’re set up to start the next one now.

Mostly the big picture plan with this garden is to enhance it. To give what’s here the room to really shine, whilst creating areas I can grow veggies & a few flowers too. I can already tell next month will be a big one in the garden and I can’t wait!