Friday, May 31, 2019

This Month in the Garden: May 2019

May brought dramatic changes to my garden. Gone were the pretty blossoms of the weeping redbud, replaced by the spectacular blooms of the crabapple tree. Next, the viburnum was clothed in white -- every year this shrub stuns me with its beauty.

Weeping redbud (Cercis Canadensis 'Lavender Twist') with its distinctive heart-shaped leaves
Flowering Crabapple (Malus species)
Maries' Viburnum (Viburnum plicatum tomentosum 'Mariesii') near the back porch

 At the front of the house, first the azalea (also white) then the rhododendron.

Front of the house views.

The honeysuckle flowers are abundant, as always. My daughter gave me a colorful hanging basket for Mother's Day. I replicated its 'joy' in an arrangement on the front porch.

In the cottage garden, the forget-me-nots remind me of my mother as they were her favorite flower.

Blue and white forget-me-nots with primroses
More of my favorite May flowers

In spite of the dreadful downpours of rain, threats of tornadoes, and high winds, I accomplished quite a lot of tasks this month. With help from my long-suffering husband, I prepared the kitchen garden for planting. Grandson Jonathan helped me plant and sow and I'm happy to report that most seeds have germinated.

We were later than previous years cleaning and treating the pond. After a lot of hard work, we were so happy to switch on the waterfalls and declared it open -- better late than never.

The pond is open!

Jon did an amazing job of renovating three of the miniature gardens. We started over with all of them, expanding the bed for the in-ground one, emptying the pots for the others, putting in new soil and plants.

Jon's handiwork

We are about a month behind with cleaning out beds and adding mushroom compost to them. It has been difficult to get the compost because our supplier frequently says its too wet. We have finished about half the garden. We are hopeful that June will start with a dry spell and we can complete the task.

The Serenity Garden waiting for its annual treat of mushroom compost. Note the climbing hydrangea is about to bloom.

Because of all the rain, I have a new project: I am creating a rain garden where a pipe carries water away from the basement and gutters of the house. We have a wet basement served by a sump pump. I was tired of the water flooding Abundance Garden. I've added an area to Abundance, with basins to catch the water. I'm following Penn State Extension's recommendations for size, depth, and types of plants. I will buy all native plants that don't mind water.

The rain garden's beginnings
After a storm. I checked that it drains fairly quickly.
 I'll keep you posted.

The Cottage Garden today with peony and allium in bloom

Gardening is always a challenge, now more than ever. I pray you stay safe in the path of dreadful storms, dear gardening friends. I saw my first monarch butterfly today -- never before in May -- giving me hope for a better summer.

Pamela x

Chickadee nesting in the jug birdhouse on the porch

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