The Changing Seasons ~ May Has Been Very Yellow

Spring has been all of a gallop this month, as if plant life is set on making up for lost time. Within the space of two weeks the rapeseed field behind the house went from muddy, over-wintered, pigeon-scoffed plants, scarcely a foot high – to a billowing yellow sea taller than me. (Oh, the unbridled power of agri-chemicals!)  It has anyway been great fun walking down the tractor trails within the crop, completely surrounded by sweet-smelling eye-high yellowness, and coming home covered in petals.

Now though, the flowers have almost gone, helped on their way by the last two days of storm and cloud burst. This morning it is foggy over the Edge. Fog in May? And I can’t see the wood at the top of the field.

In the garden there have been changes too. Behind the house, on our top level, the last scrap of lawn had been dug up, and the shed of He Who Builds Sheds And Binds Books now has a smart gravel forecourt, complete with red geranium in pot, which really isn’t what a chap wants outside his lathe and screw-collection domain, but I think looks jolly. Btw: the shed doesn’t actually have a chimney. Not too keen on the plastic water butt, but it’s there for now – water-gathering over aesthetics.

Our neighbour Roger also gave us some wooden sleeper pieces, left over from his own garden make-over, and these have now been used to contain the main herbaceous border beside said shed. The border has been blooming with aquilegias which are now giving way to alliums, foxgloves, euphorbia and oriental poppies. I have also  put in the plants bought at the Arley Plant Collector’s Fair last week (previous post), and am looking forward to china blue scabious and sweet scented phlox in a few weeks’ time. The bed is now officially FULL.

The narrow border on the left hand side of the gravel, and above our kitchen door, has also been given a containing wooden edge by re-purposing timber thrown on the bonfire heap at the allotment and duly carried home across the field. Yesterday I noticed that the small Coxes apple tree that is growing there is now busy making apples. So soon. It was all blossom only last week.

Now shed-building man is wondering what he can do to the old privies to stop them being head-banging, dysfunctional garden sheds, this while still retaining rustic quirkiness. At the moment a very fine, self-planted foxglove is growing beside them so operations are presently on hold.

Out at the front of the house, half of our boundary is open to the kerb-side. I have replanted the border with assorted verbascum, alliums, centaurea, hesperis, foxgloves, hellenium hoopesii (very yellow), Whistling Jack (a magenta, Byzantine gladiolus) and a few other things, including a small weeping crab apple called Red Jade. This border is my cultivated response to motorists who insist on breaking the 30mph speed limit (and the law) by speeding along Sheinton Street at 40mph and above.

And now here are more scenes from the Farrells’ May garden, beginning at the front. It’s all rather rampant:

And in the back garden:



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The Changing Seasons

Please visit Su to see scenes from her recent trip round NZ’s South Island

50 thoughts on “The Changing Seasons ~ May Has Been Very Yellow

  1. Well, I have to say the unbridled power of agri-chemicals has me concerned, Tish. But back to your post, what wonderful rampant floral specimens! A delight for the eye

    1. Glad you like it, Sue. I feel that I’ve finally embraced all of it – well apart from a difficult bit by the front door. It does do a lot of its own gardening though.

  2. I agree with you Tish rampant, riotous and very rustic. I admired the shed setting with the Tish touch of the red geranium. A delightful English country garden you have there. What a huge change from last month

  3. So nice to see your garden for a change and what a riot of colour it is. Such a super cottage garden and everything seems way ahead of anything I have growing here. Looks like summer has arrived in Shropshire.

    1. Thanks, Shimon. I would rather like the shed for myself. But Graham’s not budging, and he did build it from scratch, so it’s all been made to accommodate all his tools etc.

  4. You have many more flowers than we do, but then again, you grow a lot more flowers than we do. It’s a gray cold day today. Like yesterday. The day before that, it was summer and absolutely perfect summer weather with sunshine and comfortable, not humid temperatures. I’m told by Wednesday, summer will be back.

    We’ve got a few thousand young day lilies waiting to bloom. No sign of the roses, but they never show up until suddenly, they bloom. I never see any buds, but suddenly, there are flowers.

    I think it’s going to be one of those peculiar summers when we get good days, then cold days, then a few good ones and a few bad ones. Climate change is all over the place!

    1. We’ve had a couple of swings back to cold and wet, but warm again today. It’s all very confusing. I love day lilies and have none here. They will be a treat when they open. And then those sneaky roses.

  5. well I feel the power of art, the power of music – and here I felt the power of garden…
    sure did –
    and laughing at this title:
    He Who Builds Sheds And Binds Books

    oh and does the chimney belong to the house in back?

    1. Hello there, Yvette. I love that the ‘power of garden’ reached you, and that I made you smile. And yes the chimney belongs to the next door cottage.

  6. There are so many gorgeous scenes in your post! I love the foxglove and shed, and the geranium, and all the stone walls…

    1. Thank you, Ali. It’s a small garden, but with many parts and levels due to the house having been built into a bank between road and field. And then extended along the road by the previous occupant. Some quarters are rather challenging in terms of access, and might need a rethink as time goes on 🙂

  7. Your garden is just glorious Tish and I’m so glad summer seems to have arrived to bring some warmth and colour. It is a shame that He Who Builds Shed and Binds Books is so far away from NZ, or I would offer him a commission to build me a hideaway in our garden (preferably one of the relocatable kind).

  8. stop and gasp – or so I imagine the passers by do. Had no idea your garden was so sensational – I suggest upgrade the old privies and open to the public. p.s. those crafty foxgloves always do best wherever they decide to settle themselves. p.p.s. those stone steps and wall are so inviting

    1. Will tell the shed builder that you admired the steps. He built them a couple of years ago to replace very dangerous, ugly, sticky-out ones. He used good old lime mortar too. And he built the new ones bit by bit while demolishing the old ones so I was never cut off from the back gate to the allotment. I was v. impressed. And now you suggest a privy opening. I like it.

  9. Simply gorgeous. Our lawnmower is on the blink and I think I may have to contact a relation of Issie Brunel for spare parts! ( yes, it is that old!)
    The idea of a lawnless garden and rather one with lots of winding pathways and oodles of plants and flowers, especially on a stand of over 2000 squares is a wistful dream. I would be looking at a lawyer’s letter from the wife should I even attempt such a stunt!

    1. There are pros and cons, as always – gravel or grass. Actually our lawn was mostly dandelions, moss and buttercups. Even so, I’m sorry we don’t have a nice little patch of velvet lawn somewhere. Instead we’ve got a lot of gravel paths. We forget to rake them which means weeds. But it also means plants popping in all over the place. It’s amazing what is happy with its roots on garden membrane with two inches of stones on top.

      1. Yes, I suppose unless one is prepared to let things be and/or run riot as my mother would say then one lays out a garden to relax in and then spends the rest of one’s free time maintaining it!

        That said, I would still reduce the expanse of lawn considerably and plant low maintenance indigenous.
        After all, after Brazil, South Africa has more flora than any country in the world, apparently.
        I ‘m sure I could get enough succulents and aloes etc not to have to worry about weeding and what have you!

      2. Oh now that sounds wonderful – prairie planting as the garden designers call it. You MUST do it. What could be better than using all the local stuff. Aloes for height and drama. Great for wildlife too. The garden will love you for it 🙂

      3. Oh, we have various area of the garden that are all succulent and cacti orientated, and I sneak in a bit more every now and then.
        Yesterday I planted about a dozen Black Rose “Zwartkop”. next to the cactus garden., covering a bare patch of soil.
        The response was : Wow, beautiful.
        So, slowly slowly catch a monkey as my dad says!

  10. Looking wonderful Chez Farrell, Tish 🙂 🙂 An absolutely lovely sequence of May shots. I quite like the jaunty geranium. What next for those sheds indeed? He has to have something to scratch his head over.

    1. Thank you, lovely Jo. The sheds are indeed head-scratchers as well as head-bangers. The jaunty geranium needs to grow a bit methinks. G. likes it really.

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