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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I look forward to visiting your blog in return.


  1. It's all looking fabulous. I love the honeysuckle, absolutely beautiful. I love to see a kitchen garden at the beginning of the season all dug over and waiting for things to grow, it won't be long until those seeds are pushing their way through the soil and there won't be a patch of earth left to be seen.

    1. Thank you, Jo. I agree that this time of year, waiting for the seeds to push up through newly dug earth, is lovely. I wonder if you miss your allotment. I miss your postings about it.

  2. What a magnificent garden. I am particularly struck by the beauty of that flowering crabapple, but so many wonderful blooms and colors!

    1. Thank you, Dorothy. I love the way the garden changes every week at this time of year, sometimes every day. The crabapple in bloom is one of my favorites.

  3. Hi Pam,
    You have been extremely busy in the garden this month, it puts our efforts to shame! Your May flowers are lovely, it's a surprise to hear your yellow honeysuckle has no scent, it looks beautiful drapped over the archway. It will be interesting to see how your rain garden develops. Sarah x

  4. I love your square foot garden and how it is neatly organized. Your house is similar to mine and I like how your gardens compliment its style. I have gotten some good ideas from your pictures. Now, if only I can find the time to do more work!

  5. Loveliness, all of it! Your kitchen garden is inspirational! The swaths of Forget-Me-Nots are really pretty.

  6. Visiting from New Zealand and learning lots as I slowly create my own cottage garden.

  7. What a beautiful garden you have, Pam. I was quite amazed by the size of your crab apple tree. I planted one this year, if it grows to the size of yours it would take over the whole garden!

  8. Your gardens look so beautiful, Pam -- what a joy to work in them with your grandson too! Thanks for sharing your beautiful flowers. Best, -Beth

  9. Wow, but that crab apple tree is gorgeous!And I love the idea of a rain garden. What a great idea! So enjoy seeing how gardeners create!

  10. The rain garden is such an exciting project - can't wait to see it as it progresses. Your garden is just so lovely and you inspired me with one of your posts. Right at the top of my plant list this year was a Maries' Viburnum. It is now waiting to go into a bed in our backyard where a deceased ash tree is waiting to be removed. Hopefully it does as well as yours has!

  11. Pam, your energy and perseverance amaze me! I am also suffering from too much rain. With my son, I've shoveled more gravel back into the paths than ever before. It's been a humbling spring, but still beautiful. Now, where is Mr. Sun?