May in the garden

The Spring Meadow during May

After an extended wet winter and early spring, with albeit relatively mild temperatures, we were a little concerned as to what damage the seemingly continuous wet conditions may have caused, but in general the garden and its plants seem to have got off to a good start.

The main areas of later performing grasses and perennials such as we have in the Decennium and Mill End borders are now starting their fast green growth that is always ignited as the temperatures warm. In the Decennium the bright yellow flowers belong to Euphorbia palustris which is always the first perennial to flower in the border; often only a matter of weeks after the annual cut back around late March.

Euphorbia palustris in the Decennium border is always first to flower and only a matter of weeks after the border has had its annual cut back.

In the Spring meadow and Rain garden Luzula Snowflake is currently looking rather fabulous with its bright while flower emerging from amongst the spring green foliage

There are plenty of flowers to be seen from the many woody plants such as cornus, berberis, magnolia, viburnum and of course the rhododendrons. Rhododendron King George was planted only a few years back in the Forum (opposite the marquee), and though still a young plant is offering pinkish white delicately scented flowers that always remind us of Spring and the Chelsea Flower Show.

Crinodendron Ava Hoffman has impressive waxy pink lantern like flowers and is perhaps less often seen that the more usual red flowered form.
Libertia grandiflora offers clumps of iris like evergreen foliage but is especially valued for its delicate heads of clear white flowers that appear to float above the silky blue foliage of Poa labillardierei in the Dry Meadow.
In the entrance border a combination of white flowered camassia, libertia and luzula partner nicely with the blue spikes of aconitum and some spherical alliums.
The amazing layered effect of the wedding cake tree, Viburnum Lanarth, produces masses of lace like white flowers in late spring.
A little more delicate (and compact), than the viburnum are the bright white rice grain like flowers of a UK native grass, Melica uniflora Albida, which loves dry shady positions such as under this earlier flowering magnolia.
Continuing with the white flower theme is Luzula Snowflake, a Knoll Garden selection, that has icy white spring time flowers and is happy in open spots as well as some shade and will take average to damp soils.
Although the main areas of the Dragon garden are intended to be at their best later in the season the ultra dry long Dragon bank was sown with a mix of native flowers and grasses in 2023 with the first few flowers such as kidney vetch, red campion and ragged robin now just beginning to flower for the first time.
While still relatively low the plants in the Long Walk are already providing a tapestry of different greens and foliage shapes.
Tellima grandiflora is especially useful early in the season for its freely produced spikes of dainty flowers such as in the Dragon Garden. It was not planted in this area but has arrived via seed and is most welcome to stay!
Hakonechloa are great long lived and easy care plants for pots in sun or shade such as Hakonechloa Samurai in its glossy red pot or the all yellow/gold foliage of Hakonechloa All Gold in a lighter pot to the right.
The green form of hakonechloa or Japanese Forest Grass, Hakonechloa macra, is equally impressive in pots, with some we have on the nursery doubling as a shade plant for Neville the nursery cat.