May is my favourite month of the year as trees and shrubs are in leaf, the foliage is young and looking at its best and there are flowers everywhere.
Trees with blossom in May include Crataegus laevigata Paul’s Scarlet, a Hawthorn. This is for larger spaces as it can get up to 8m tall and wide. In spring, the blossom is a rich deep pink and will cover the tree then you get red haws in autumn. Beware the sharp thorns though!
Many shrubs flower in May including scented Azaleas. The latter are deciduous medium sized shrubs with gorgeous flowers and a heady scent. They need shade and an acidic soil, well drained but moist – so sandy soils are out. For a hot sunny space, try Ceanothus Puget Blue. It is often seen with many blue powder puff flowers smothering the shrub in May. They will get to about 2.5m tall and wide and need a sunny place out of the wind with light well drained soil. The leaves are evergreen in winter.
Those with boggy gardens or ponds can try the perennial March Marigold or Caltha palustris with its buttercup yellow flowers in May. They get to about 30cms tall. If you have soil which is light and free draining in full sun, why not try the Bearded Irises? They do not flower for long but the flowers can be exotic on stems 80cm tall. Colours range from white, cream, blue, plum, yellow or bronze. They grow from thick rhizomes which have to be in sun with the top showing on the soil. Also try perennials for their foliage only. Heuchera Creme Brulee or Marmalade with their orangy amber leaves. Heuchera have a range of foliage from lime green to deep purple growing to 45cms tall and good in pots or in the garden. Like a moist soil in the sun.
Plant out runner beans grown in pots into their final positions. Sow seeds of courgettes, cucumber, squashes, cabbages and broccoli for cropping later in the year. Plant up your pots with annuals for a good display throughout the summer. Prune shrubs that have just finished flowering.
If you would like to visit gardens, look out for gardens open under the National Gardens Scheme where all proceeds go to charities including Marie Cure Cancer Care and Macmillan Cancer Support. Inglewood at Heswall on the Wirral is open on 18th May in the afternoon. Stunning garden with beautiful ponds, trees, shrubs and seating areas surrounded by flowers.