We are just over a week into the beautiful, bountiful month of May and it is high time to sum up the last month on the land.
Many lovely pollinators were out and about and we managed to get one photo of the beautiful orange tip butterfly in flight.
We have many different bumblebees on the land and it is such a joy to see all the berries and fruit flowers transforming into miniature fruitlets ready to grow and ripen up in the coming months. Our pears are already forming nicely.
April brought a nice mix of sunshine and showers and we were delighted to see some of our more unusual fruiting trees and shrubs flowering for the first time. We wrote a post about some of the special members of our forest food garden a couple of years back. You can find it here.
The snowbell tree, Halesia Carolina has small bell-shaped flowers, followed by winged fruits in midsummer. We are looking forward to hopefully tasting our firsts in salads this summer.
Another interesting tree is the Siberian pea tree, Caragana Arborescens, the only legume to grow on a woody perennial plant. We hope these yellow flowers will develop into tasty peapods in a couple of months.
The strawberry tree, Arbutus Unedo, is growing well but has yet to set fruit.
We have a lovely purple corkscrew hazel, Corylus avellana ‘Red Majestic’ and we are hoping for some tasty hazelnuts in the autumn.
There are also many edible groundcovers that can be of interest in a forest garden and we have planted an edible fiddle head fern, Matteuccia struthiopteris, also called the ostrich fern. The parts that are eaten are the young tightly spiralled fronds. Our ferns are still small but perhaps next year we will be able to taste a few. They do require boiling before they can be eaten safely. Most other ferns are toxic.
We are also naturalising wild garlic, Allium ursinum in the woods. It is such a versatile and tasty spring delight.
Sweet cicely, Myrris odorata is another lovely groundcover plant in the forest garden.
These shrubs are chokeberries, Aronia Melanocarpa and Arbutifolia, and we grow them for the berries that have many benefits to the body. They are not very tasty on their own so we tend to mix them into smoothies.
Around the main circle plants are looking green and lush and we hope that the late frosts will not create too much damage to tender leaves and buds.
In the coming month we will be busy planting out all the vegetables seedlings in their final positions in the raised beds, mulching everywhere and sowing many more vegetable seeds. May is an incredibly busy month on the land preparing for the growing season ahead but it is also one of the most beautiful times of the year and we make sure to stop working now and again and just take a slow walk through the winding paths around the garden. There is no place we would rather be.