… as we head into June, May is arriving. What should have been a show-stopping leap centre-stage, has been a slow, very late and frankly embarrassing shuffle in from the wings.
Not much is flowering at the Priory therefore though there is plenty of new, green growth. Here in the rock border, ferns (which survived the-years-of-neglect and being strimmed!) are stretching up and out among a drift of the forget-me-nots I introduced a couple of years ago.
The bank of rhododendrons behind the kidney beds (also still just foliage) are starting to flower – so a that’s a jab in the arm. And, for the first time in weeks, I’m on top of the mowing. Who knew that a sentence like that could give me so much pleasure?
But the long borders are still a damp squib; the allium leaves have rotted away like the tulips. And all that cold weather has burnt the emerging persicaria in the foreground.
The Acer palmatum dissectum in the kitchen bed looks fine though and once again I’ve planted the bed up with Lobelia ‘Crystal Palace.’ Bedding plants? I know, I know – but I’m a bit of a convert to lobelia. I like lobelia – there I’ve said it. Anyway, I’ve also added a few shuttlecock ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris) – though I wonder whether they won’t dwarf the tree and box. Probably. If so, I’ll move them; but for the moment I like the little lime-green fountains.
Birds are pressing on with birdy business despite the wet, cold pseudo-spring. Most of the nest boxes are in use …
… and the moorhens bring their young to feed on the scraps beneath the bird feeders.
The chicks may look ungainly but, being very shy, they don’t half leg it when they catch a glimpse of me – those huge feet disappear in a blurred whirl as they scoot off to the ponds.
Inconveniently, a blackbird has made a nest in the woodstore by the house. I crept in and, using my most powerful lens, took a couple of snaps. I’ll leave her be now, put up a sign to warn others and delay topping up the wood-pile.
On my drive to the Old Forge last week, May was more in evidence …
… with the lanes lined with cow parsley and …
… a great slab of rapeseed as a backdrop to the garden, while …
… a neighbouring paddock had a rather nice buttercup field-of-the-cloth-of-gold going on.
The grass in Margaret’s fields has grown long too. But all the rain has forced her to defer the Great Stampede as it is known (but only by me). I didn’t realise, until I met Margaret, that cows (at least in this part of the world) spend about six months of the year indoors. She normally lets them out in early May but the ground has been too wet and the cows’ hooves would churn up all that lush pasture all too quickly.
Last week it was finally dry enough; watch out – here they come! You can imagine how very excited they get at the prospect of fresh grass after months of silage. Galloping …
… towards and past an anxious photographer (quaking on a wooden stile) and …
… careering out into the field above the Priory greenhouse.
For a couple of weeks a bull will keep the cows and calves company. He probably thinks his luck is in – but unbeknownst to him, all the cows are already in calf. Poor lad; disappointment looms.
Still, the cows are happy and so am I. With the cows out in the fields at long last, it feels like May has finally arrived.
Albeit, almost in June.