Back garden overview June 2019 with kale tree in bloom

The Marvels of May

May is over, but here is a bouquet of sights from my garden gathered during that month. It was a great year for irises. Two managed to bloom that had not for years, probably due to shade and dry conditions. And I have blue poppies once more. I can’t take any credit for them as yet; if they survive the next winter to bloom again, I’ll have something to brag about. The mass of yellow bloom on the right side of the featured photo is a giant kale plant, almost a tree.

Pale yellow irises with dark red purple bearded irises
These irises (names unknown to me) have always been here. This year they’re blooming better than normal.
Pale yellow irises
Dependable pale yellow iris, type and name unknown to me. They’re increasing nicely in the dry shade of the back garden.
Bearded iris, white with blue edge
Surprise iris (not it’s real name). I vaguely remember it in bloom many years ago. I moved it to a better spot a couple of years ago; it must be happy there.
Purple bearded iris
Another surprise iris, a big purple one this time. No idea when I planted it. It must have languished bloomless for years, until now.
Primula auricula in bloom with tomato plants and potted dahlia with blooming thyme in background
Primula auricula. I have two plants, which both bloomed well this year. Small tomato plants in lower left corner, sprouting dahlia “Bishop of Llandaff” above.
White foxglove with thalictrum behind
Volunteer (meaning self-sown) foxglove. It’s right at the front of a border, but I’m glad I didn’t weed it out.
White foxglove spotless
Close up of the foxglove flowers. It’s totally spotless; a plant elsewhere has purple spots inside the flowers.
Urban deer
Trouble in paradise — plant-nibbling urban deer. They cruise by regularly and sample the garden buffet. On the plus side, I’ve seen them eating bindweed.
Mixed foliage in the front garden with "Pink Panda" ornamental strawberry flowers
Mixed foliage in the front garden, with a few flowers of ornamental strawberry “Pink Panda”

Here are four photos of the two blue poppy plants I bought a few months ago. Their labels call them Meconopsis sheldonii “Lingholm” (grandis).

Rosa glauca, red-leaf rose, blooming in the rain
Rain-washed leaves and flowers of the red-leaf rose, Rosa glauca. The inch or so of rain was most welcome.

I’m looking forward to June, but sorry to see the end of iris time.


      1. Ours, not the best tended, has exploded into life…we never know what is going to pop up. Best year ever for a ‘wild’/ ‘natural’ themed garden

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          1. It refuses to be controlled; bulbs pop up nowhere near where we thought we had planted them, and sweet little flowers whose identity we have no idea of turn up quite frequently.

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        1. The problem with winters here isn’t cold but too much moisture at the wrong time (winter). So often, the plants perish of crown rot by spring. And our summers are dry and increasingly hot, which these plants don’t like. I understand that the Meconopsis poppies do quite well in parts of Scotland.

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            1. No! I live (and garden) in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. I’ve noticed from photos by garden bloggers in Britain that plants bloom about the same time there as here. Our winters are relatively warm and quite wet, and our summers are fairly dry and not too hot (by international standards, although they seem to be getting warmer now).

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    1. Thanks, Joy. This garden looks best in April and May, before the soil dries out. I probably take more pictures in May than any other month (except maybe October, which is my favourite). The deer certainly add to the ambiance, but I’m glad the back garden is fenced!


  1. Lovely irises Audrey. When I was watching the Chelsea Flower Show they went to visit the family who has the country’s largest collection of Irises; if I heard correctly they had 1,070 varieties through constantly cross pollinating!

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    1. Thank you! Irises are such dimensional flowers — the colours, the textures, the way all the parts are arranged are endlessly fascinating. As a group, they have a long bloom period too, almost year-round.


    1. Thank you, Robbie. There’s something about blue flowers; they have a magical quality. Blue poppies especially, because it’s like a miracle when they do well. They’re from the Himalaya region and need just the right conditions to prosper. Unfortunately it’s hard for gardeners to provide those conditions (perfect drainage and the right amounts of moisture at the right times).


    1. True, but they do eat garden plants. Some people around here dislike them, but I’ve fenced part of my garden, so that’s where I grow the plants they really like. A few plants in the front garden (daylilies, for example) need to be covered in black plastic netting at times.

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      1. I would think it is normal for them to eat plants. Maybe people should plant more of the grass they are eating… (says the capital-born girl, who had seldom seen deer close – and of course not in her city!)

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