May brought us a couple of weeks with next to no rain and then a ten day downpour. We have been busy in the garden, planting our vegetables and watering for the first couple of weeks and then tackling a few of our structures in need of updates. We will write more about them in the next couple of weeks.
In our conservatory we have two different passionfruit plants and this year our purple petal variety flowered for the first time along with the more common light green one. We have lots of small fruits forming already and maybe the season will be long and warm enough to actually get some tasty, ripe fruits later in the year.
Outside we have set aside a large area for growing sunflowers. It is the same space where we grew pumpkins last year. The whole bed is made up of two year old weeds that have rotted down. The sunflowers were grown from seeds in April and we hope enough of them will survive the slugs to create a beautiful spectacle in the coming months.
We do have a lot less slugs compared to a few years ago and that is mainly due to our two wildlife ponds. One has mostly newts and the other frogs.
Our vegetable beds are starting to come on and we are growing many members of the cabbage family, onions, beans and mangetout amongst other more unusual things.
The recent rain has made the garden lusher than ever with grass, leaves, wildflowers and added plants jostling for space and light. We cut paths through it all but let nature be let alone in most places. The results can be truly breath-taking.
Around our main circle colours are starting to break up the swathes of green as flowers emerge. We planted a lupin last year much to the delight of the pollinators. The cardoons and artichokes are growing very tall already thanks to the rain and a generous mulch of pondweed. They are beautiful to look at with their architectural, silvery leaves and have the added bonus of being edible and delicious. What more could you ask for in a plant?
Cardoons to the left and lupins to the right.
Many trees are flowering at this time of year and we are particularly happy this year as the Chinese dogwood is flowering for the first time. Flowering is not actually the right name for it as what you see in the picture are fruit bracts. Later in the year there will be edible fruit on this tree.
Our hawthorns are also putting on a beautiful show with pink and white blossom.
We are planning to open our garden again this year for one weekend in July. If you are around we hope you will call for a visit. This year we will pot up different mints and other great plants for pollinators that guests can bring back home for a donation along with our popular pick your own berries for charity event.
It is great to do an open garden once a year as it gives you a bit of a push and things get done that otherwise might fall behind. We will donate all proceeds to Amnesty International Ireland as we usually do.