Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. May.

Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colours, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night’.  Rainer Maria Rilke.

In May, every day brings new delights in the garden, last week’ s glorious sun and then a bit of rain has worked magic.

Apple blossom is everywhere and is one of the joys of May; my trees are all very old. This one has fallen over at some time in its long life, but is always full of blossom and has large fruit like a sweet Bramley.


I think Quince blossom is even prettier than that of the apple tree. My tree is not very old, but I am hopeful that this year I will have plenty of fragrant quinces.

Cydonia oblonga 'Vranja'

Cydonia oblonga ‘Vranja’

I have two huge stately Horse Chestnut trees which I would never have planted, but I do enjoy them at this time of the year with their beautiful ‘candles’. In autumn they look terrible when the they are attacked by Bleeding Canker. How odd that they come back as good as new each spring.

Aesculus hippocastrum

Aesculus hippocastrum

When the sky is blue as it is today,the shrub, Abutilon x suntense looks wonderful.

Abutilon xsuntense

Abutilon xsuntense

‘My real treasures of early May are my early peonies.  Paeonia smouthii is one of the oldest recorded hybrids at over 160 years old. Still, it remains quite rare. It has finely cut leaves and single red flowers which are delicately fragrant.

Paeonia smouthii

Paeonia smouthii

Paeonia mascula ssp.mascula has leaves similar to those of the more well-known ‘Molly the Witch’, Paeonia mlokosewitschii, but it has cherry red flowers instead of lemon yellow.

Paeonia mascula ssp. mascula

Paeonia mascula ssp. mascula

This old tree peony never fails to produce its dinner plate pink flowers.


All my irises have plenty of buds and I get so excited waiting for them to open. The first of course, are the dear little dwarf ones.

Iris 'Austrian Sky'

Iris ‘Austrian Sky’

The Californian hybrids are early flowering too. This next one is Iris ‘Banbury Gem’

Iris 'Banbury Gem'

Iris ‘Banbury Gem’

Corydalis are early spring treasures, but this one, Corydalis temulifolia ‘Chocolate Stars’ blooms in May. In spring, I think it is at its best with lovely bronze foliage. This loses some of its richness and turns green as the season progresses and it starts to bloom.

Corydalis temulifolia 'Chocolate Stars'

Corydalis temulifolia ‘Chocolate Stars’

Most of the epimediums have finished blooming now and we are enjoying their lovely fresh new leaves. I have a large-flowered late bloomer called Epimedium ‘Amber Queen’ which is still looking good. It is such a gorgeous colour.

Epimedium 'Amber Queen'

Epimedium ‘Amber Queen’

To my delight I have found a seedling nearby which is not quite the same but lovely too.

Epimedium seedling

Epimedium seedling

Next to the Corydalis and the Epimedium is Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’. I love its orange flowers in spring.

Euphorbia griffithii 'Fireglow'

Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’

Another Euphorbia which is delightful at this time of the year is the sunny, yellow litte Euphorbia polychroma.

Euphorbia polychroma

Euphorbia polychroma

I grow bergenias for the leaves that turn red in winter so I am always pleasantly surprised by the flowers in spring.

Aquilegias are everywhere in so many different colours. I let them hybridise as I love them all. This dark one is very pretty.

Even prettier are their close cousins the dainty little Semiaquileagias. This one is the dusky pink Semiaquilegia ecalcarata. It is short lived but with a bit of luck it will seed around.

Semiaquilegia incalcarata

Semiaquilegia incalcarata

I love geums and there are some pretty new hybrids. My latest is a double apricot seedling from the wonderful nursery, The Beeches, near Saffron Walden.  By the way, this is my favourite nursery , it is full of many rare and unusual plants.  I am planning to go later this month with Julie who writes the wonderful blog, Peonies and Posies. I had better start saving up.


Little poppies seed themselves everywhere in spring. This orange Papaver rupifragum can become a bit of a nuisance. But it is very pretty.

Ppapaver rupifragum

Ppapaver rupifragum

The yellow Welsh poppies are just as invasive but I let them fight it out with bluebells,  Tellima grandiflora, Brunnera and Blupleurum rotundifolium. There are also yellow tulips in this bed which come back every year.
There are still some tulips looking good. Here are a few.

This is getting rather long, I am getting carried away with enthusiasm, so I will stop now and save some blooms for another post.
The popular meme, Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted by Carole at Maydreamgardens. Why don’t you join in and share some of your May blooms with us?

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30 Responses to Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. May.

  1. Pauline says:

    You have a fantastic variety of flowers, they are all so beautiful. Our Horse chestnuts too are all looking lovely but soon their leaves will be attacked by a moth which makes them go brown, such a shame. Love your Epimedium Amber Queen.

    • Chloris says:

      I think nearly all the horse chestnut trees in the country are diseased now, it is amazing how they recover each spring.
      Epimedium Amber Queen is beautiful with big flowers like amber spiders.

  2. I don’t think I have ever eaten a quince. It’s certainly a beautiful tree. Love the orange poppy. A friend of mine gave me some double orange poppies last fall and I am antsy to see them bloom. He didn’t know what they were named, I wonder if they are the same as yours. Perhaps I will regret planting them but I can’t think about that now.

  3. Meriel Murdock, Co. Wicklow, Ireland says:

    I can sense your excitement with the number of lovely photos. I feel it too! I love everything but was interested in the lovely ‘invasive’ Papaver ruprifragum which I have not consciously seen before. I have just the area for it to invade with an orange and purple theme. I must look out for seeds. Also glad to have the name of the small Iris ‘Banbury Gem’ which looks the same as one I have from ‘the plant table’!

  4. Chloris says:

    If you email me your address Meriel, I will send you some seeds of Papaver rupifragum.

  5. So much to be excited about with all these flowers…. Epimedium blooming here too and it braved many a very cold night!

  6. Anna says:

    It’s a fabulous time of year Chloris and your garden looks as if it is in full party mode. We have two chestnuts just outside the garden. Like yours they look fabulous at the moment but ours suffer from the same woes that Pauline mentions. I think that I may possibly have iris ‘Banbury Gem’ too. It came to me with the label ‘Pacific Coast Iris’ and looks most similar to yours. The flowers are fleeting perfection. Have fun nursery visiting with Julie.

    • Chloris says:

      Thanks Anna.
      I think all the British horse chestnut trees are diseased now, but somehow they carry on. Yes, this Iris is a Pacific hybrid. Have you tried sowing the seeds? They germinate readily.

  7. Tina says:

    So much blooming in you May garden. I especially like the tree peony, it has such a pretty color. Our iris are nearly done, though I did some in another’s garden recently. And you have such a variety of aquilegia–wow, I only grow two and they hybrids they produce.

    • Chloris says:

      I am eagerly waiting for the tree peonies I grew from seed to bloom. It shouldn’ t be long now. I used to grow a few different aquligeas from seed each year and then let the bees mix them all up.

  8. pbmgarden says:

    Much to admire in your May garden. The apricot geum is nice. I must look for a geum! Can picture you and Julie enjoying your favorite nursery. Hope you have a wonderful time.

  9. Oh beautiful! Love the quince blossoms and irises! Happy GBBD!

  10. Kris P says:

    Your May garden is magnificent! All those peonies! And still tulips! We share few flowers in common it appears but I do have some bergenias (just 3), which I’m trying again after a long hiatus – unfortunately, they’re already going a bit crispy.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Kris. When I read about your flowers I find myself drooling and wishing I could grow them. It is always fun finding out what people grow in different parts of the world.

  11. Christina says:

    The excitement in your post and in your garden is tangible. I think your weather is better than ours at the moment. Your garden is so full of treasures, it is such a joy to walk around either in reality or virtually, I am hoping I might be able to visit you soon, I’d love to go to the Beeches and be tempted!

  12. Sam says:

    Gosh, there is so much to look at here, so much going on! I love your peonies and the blossom, and the irises, oh, and tulips, and the geum… I wonder if I can fit in a detour to The Beeches some day when we’re visiting my mother-in-law in Norfolk. Hmm…

  13. Flighty says:

    A most enjoyable post and lovely pictures which show just what a wonderful month in the garden May is. No wonder that for many of us it’s such a favourite time of year. xx

  14. annamadeit says:

    I LOVE the Rilke quote – somehow he always knew what to say… 🙂 Your garden looks amazing! I’m a big fan of Fireglow – mine is still rather small. You have so many beautiful things that it’s hard to pick favorites, but that Paeonia smouthii is lovely, as is the orange poppy. Oh well, too much goodness to choose one… Enjoy your beautiful May, Chloris!

  15. Brian Skeys says:

    You have as always Chloris a wide and unusual range of plants in your garden. You must of dedicated a lot of time and effort sourcing and caring for them. We reap the benefit of this via the wonder of blogging.

  16. Your garden is so full of wonderful treasures. I love that you always have multiple varieties of each delicious flower, so that you can discuss the merits of each.

  17. rusty duck says:

    I do love that epimedium. Mine isn’t out yet and it’s usually quite late but always worth the wait. Oh it’s so good to see things blooming again.

  18. Julie says:

    What a delightful post full of wonderful plants and excitement. Semiaquilegia ecalcarata are new to me, they are so pretty, the leaf looks a little like Corydalis.

  19. Cathy says:

    Such a wonderful selection. I love quince too – they are much treasured here, so we see a lot of them. The French are great fruit-growers: even women in their early twenties feel driven to make quince jelly later in the season! Did you get the Bupleurum going from seed and does it now self-sow? If so, was it easy? I’ve spent years trying to establish Alexander’s (Smyrnium) and have always failed.

  20. snowbird says:

    Your garden blooms are utterly delightful! It must be a pleasure walking around spotting all these lovely gems. I must say, your peonies are stunning and have stolen the show!xxx

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