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May – The Month for Seed Sowing

Fritillaries

This is an important month for seed sowing, the soil is warming up and it is an ideal time to start the vegetable and annual seed sowing. Time for my runner beans in pots or you can use plug trays, I grow Lady Diana which I find one of the best and does not go stringy. With French beans I have given up growing bush varieties as they either became splashed with mud or the slugs got them before I did! Cosse Violette I find does well, the beans are dark purple and go green when cooked, taste delicious and freeze well. Sow them now under cover and then they can go into the garden at the beginning of June when there is no risk of frost.

If you do not have a dedicated vegetable garden they are attractive so easy to make a wigwam of hazel or bamboo poles in the flower garden and train them up amongst your flowers. Courgettes can also be sown in pots now, I used to grow four plants but found they produced far too much for us and we ended with too many marrows when we turned our backs. I now grow one with yellow and one with green courgettes and they are enough.

Keep on sowing lettuce, I grow salad leaves as again I find too many lettuce bolt and much easier to just keep cutting leaves and you can grow mixed forms which are pretty in a salad.

May is tulip time in my garden, I grow them in pots, tubs and in the garden. I mix different varieties in the tubs often with wallflowers which I love just because they smell wonderful. If you want special coloured wall flowers June is the time to sow them for your pots next year. Near the café I have two tubs with ivory wall flowers and tulips Croquette and Verona which have different shaped flowers but are both creamy yellow, they are surrounded by crocus which will have flowered in April. At the bottom of the avenue I have very dark maroon Bulldog and David Teniers which complement the rose above them, Rosa William Shakespeare which is a very scented dark red. This year we have experimented with replanting all the pink tulips we had in the garden, usually I buy new bulbs each year so it will be interesting to see how many make good sized flowers I am hoping to be able to pick them for the café.

 Our meadow is wonderful in May, in the damp patches we have sheets of fritillaries and where it is dryer there are clumps of Camassias which are very happy in the grass. It is the time when we have clouds of a day flying moths called Chimney Sweepers, small black moths which live on a plant in the meadow called pig nut and make the fact that we are organic well worth it.