May 2020: Nesting birds and spring flowers

The bird box we erected in November 2018 was used for the first time this spring by a pair of tree sparrows; here is a clip of them in action feeding their brood:

Many of the plants in the garden have stared to bloom this month including this Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Ingwersen’s Variety’, which is mat-forming and semi-evergreen. I think this is a really high value plant as the foliage is highly scented and it creates a lovely ground covered backdrop to the rest of the planting. This variety  flowers in a soft shade of pink and the bees seem to love them. We planted quite a few out last year and they’ve already spread to form decent size clumps. We’ve planted more into the mound this spring and look forward to these establishing there.

Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Ingwersens Variety’

I’ve spent more time propagating from seed this year and have enjoyed the process of sowing, pricking out and potting on. In the past I’ve sown too many seeds and found this rather overwhelming, so this year I’ve concentrated on growing 1 type of annual to plant into the garden (Nicotiana alata ‘Grandiflora’), and the other as cut flowers for the house (Helianthus ‘Vanilla Ice’).

The aquatic plants we planted last August have started to get going this month. One really high value specimen is the Carex ‘muskingumensis‘ which you can make out in the  top left of the photo below. This started to put on new growth really early in the season and has a vibrant colour and structural habit. We intend to plant more of this into the largest pond.

Many of the the pond plants that we planted last August have put on fresh growth this month; in the foreground is Alisma Lanceolata

Last October we trained our climbing rose onto wires against the pergola and it’s been thrilling to see it flower so abundantly this May. I’m looking forward to tying in this years growth so that we have even more flowers in 2021.

October 2019 – training the climbing rose against the pergola
rose blooms 27/5/20
our first rose bloom of the season – 9/5/20

We planted 12 or so Aquilegia ‘Munstead White‘ into the mixed border this spring and they performed well. We started this bed in 2018 and although we’ve got improvements to make, I think it’s starting to come together. The mixture of foliage colours, textures, shapes and sizes is working quite nicely.

Allium ‘Mount Everest’ in the mixed border 24/05/20

It was good to see the Alliums flower this month, although to make the display more impactful next year I’ll plant more bulbs this autumn.

Allium ‘Mars’ in the central planting bed 9/05/20