by Janis on 26th May 2023 / 0 comments

It’s been quite a productive month

This is such a delightful time of the year, so many of the plants we purchased last year are beginning to flourish, especially our lupins and foxgloves. Another majestic winner is the Clematis Josephine – Evijohill; it is stunning.

Our spring flowering bulbs have all now finished. However, the alliums I planted are just starting to open like regimented purple globes; they’re beautiful.

It’s amazing how some of the plants in our garden almost bloom in phases. At the moment, the beds are draped in a swathe of blue, with the forget-me-nots and cornflowers doing a lot of the heavy lifting.

What I love about our garden is that there is something new to discover every day when I stroll outside in the morning. The other day, I opened the patio doors and our bearded Iris ‘Kent Pride’ had sprung open; it’s a stunner.


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Our dark purple buds and chestnut-brown ‘Kent Pride’ Iris in bloom in our cottage garden in late spring
Iris ‘Kent Pride’
The view along the path of our Cottage Garden bed in May 2023with a mixture of foxgloves, lupins and iris in flower
The Cottage Garden - May 2023

What we’ve been up to in May

In the garden and on the website

My little seedlings I sowed this year are coming on a treat, although not so little now. I’ve potted on quite a few, and our cold frame is now overflowing with young plants.

I’ve planted our sunflowers between the Lavender ‘Munstead’ in our Provence garden. It doesn’t appear that we have long to wait before the lavender will be in full bloom.

The wooden cold frame on our patio full of seed trays continuing their development.
Our cold frame

Last month I was concerned that a few of my tomato and chilli seeds weren’t germinating, so I sowed a few more, and they have nearly all been a success. I think I may have to give a few away.

We made reasonably good progress on weeding our cottage garden. Still, as we have had a mixture of sun and rain, the weeds keep returning in abundance.

In our woodland shady section, we have one established fern that had sprouted a couple of rhizomes, so we separated them into three plants, and they flourished a treat. All three have taken on a new lease of life.

The woodland shady area of our garden planted our with ferns, hostas and heucheras
The Forest Shady area

Gary and I have prepared an area on the patio for our young tomato plants. Hopefully, we can support them a lot better this year, and they don’t become too top-heavy.

Also, this month I cleared one of the beds in our front garden; unfortunately, our Buxus had become ravaged with caterpillars, so they had completely died. I will clear the other bed very soon.

Achievements for May

Let’s keep ticking those boxes

May has been a pretty productive month in the garden, although as soon as I turn my back, more weeds appear; however, I’m learning more about the garden as weeks go by.

It has been a mixed month with the weather in the southeast of the UK; I’m hoping the sun will shine for us a bit more in June. The garden is such a happy place to be in the sunshine, and it helps with your personal well-being immensely.

An ornamental cornflower with a white outer and a pink centre in front of pale blue forget-me-nots in our english cottage garden bed
Ornamental Cornflower and forget-me-nots
So, let’s see what we’ve managed to tick off for May
Potted on lots of our healthy seedlings.

Remove the old barrel from the patio.

Continue to clear all the soil from the four raised beds.

Cleared the first flower bed in the front garden.

Rehomed the remaining seedlings to the cold frame.

Sowed more tomato and chilli seeds.

Weeding many of the beds and pruning.

Prepared area for tomato plants

Planted out the sunflowers in our Provence flower bed.

Re-connected the irrigation system.

Patio table was cleaned and re-oiled.

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Lessons learnt & mistakes made

You live and learn

I made the mistake this year of not using seedling compost when I sowed all of my seeds. I added vermiculite and perlite to the original compost; however, I think it was still too dense.

I have since resown some tomatoes, chillies, and flower seeds in fresh seedling compost, and they started to germinate in no time at all. They are more sensitive than I thought.

The lawn shady area of our garden leading to the Secret Garden and the pond
To the Secret Garden

Our plans for the coming month

What’s on your to-do list?
Continue to maintain the weeds in the Cottage Garden bed.

Plant out the rest of the seedlings in the garden and pots.

Manage our overgrown and unruly shrubs in the Secret Garden.

Plant our tomatoes into new grow bags.

Continue to clear the soil from the four raised beds.

Fill our patio pots with colourful blooms.

Continue to monitor our garden tasks on the RHS Planner; this online tool is so handy.

Clear more weeds from the drive.

Decide how to progress with the raised bed section.

Remove old Buxus from the second flower bed in the front garden.

Clear the dead leaves from the spring bulbs.

Propagate Creeping Jenny.

Propagate Erysimum.

Our lawn shady bed at the end of our lawn is filled with forget-me-nots and purple foxgloves in front of the wooden door to our old outhouse.
The Lawn Shady Area
Please let us know what you have planned in your garden this month; we’d love to know.

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