For the Love of May

Indica hybrid Azalea "Formosa"

Indica hybrid Azalea “Formosa”


May brings perfume to the garden and joy to the soul. 

It is the happiest month of the whole year to me.  Spring’s warmth has settled comfortably over the garden so the last of the shrubs and perennials finally stir from their winter slumber to send out their first green leaves, which let you know they have survived winter.





Taxes are completed and forgotten for another year.  The first fresh local strawberries ripen, tomatoes may be planted, songbirds are nesting, and school is nearly out.

May is for proms, graduations, Mother’s Day, births and weddings.  It is a month for successfully completing long lived goals.   Happiness is almost a tangible fragrance in the air.


May 7, 2015 garden 021


Our roses always bloom by Mother’s Day, but our first bud opened in all of its warm beauty yesterday!

Our shrubs are absolutely covered in buds this year, by the way.  The air is soft and filled with the fragrance of sweet iris and freshly cut grass.  The mint has grown tall enough to harvest, and I’m finally planting this summer’s crop of Basil.


May 7, 2015 garden 002


I spotted a hummingbird for the first time today flitting from one Columbine blossom to another.  A snapping turtle chose a quiet area to dig a nest and lay her eggs this morning.


May 7, 2015 garden 022


The closing weeks of May serve as a “soft opening” for summer. 

May is for switching over to the summer wardrobe and buying new sandals.  We greet May with Cinco de Mayo and bid it farewell with Memorial Day and the opening of community pools.

May is for the first beach trips of the season, enjoying long twilit evenings on the deck, and catching up with the farmers who run the local farm stand.  We re-arrange the deck for a new season, re-plant the pots, and remember our summer routines.


May 7, 2015 garden 009


My summer routine finds me in the garden most mornings watering, observing, trimming, and taking photos.  Listening to the chatter of birds and the whirr of hummingbird wings, I take note of what needs attention that day.  And we celebrate each new wonder as it unfolds.

Yesterday brought the Mountain Laurel opening the first of its flowers.


Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel


Today brought more roses opening and more Iris.  And today I finally installed that new planting bed that I’ve been contemplating since February.


May 7, 2015 garden 017


Of course May also brings Mayflies and sunburn, summer heat and higher gas prices.  Every month has its stresses, its true.

Yet May holds more happiness than most.  And I’m partial to any month which brings me iris and  roses…


May 5, 2015 garden 009


Woodland Gnome 2015



About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

13 responses to “For the Love of May

  1. What a nice tribute to May, also my favorite month! Your mayapples look like pinwheels, mine are more like umbrellas. I didn’t know there were different species. I love learning new things. 🙂
    Your iris, laurel and columbines are so vibrant and I can’t believe how many buds are on your roses! They must love what you are feeding them. 😉

  2. I spy your David Austin beauties in this post. And how I love mountain laurel. The woods in Massachusetts are loaded with it much like our redbud here in VA. Isn’t it just the prettiest flower? I planted your morning glory seeds last night. Here’s to a quick germination. Lovely post, WG, as usual.

    • Thank you so much, Barbara. Isn’t it interesting that the English roses bloom first? John Paul II is in bud, as are some other tea roses… but the English shrub roses are the first and the last each season 😉

  3. You captured May precisely. If I were orbiting the earth, I would take this post with me.

  4. What a lovely post! Yes, so may wonderful things in May. I saw the first slow worm today, and my first Iris opened. And a peony flower may open tomorrow. Happy May!

  5. Your garden is so lovely, and I enjoyed the beauty of your words. I was excited to see your azaleas blooming. Even more excited when I saw the columbine. I cannot, for the life of me, get columbine to grow. I keep hearing how easy it is, but the seeds I buy never sprout.

    I am currently enjoying early spring again in northeastern Ohio. The daffodils and tulips are still blooming, the redbuds and crabapples just started blooming, and although the azaleas have buds, they are still a week or so away from opening. Maybe. Spring tends to come all at once here some years (especially after a hard, extended winter when spring arrives late to the party). One year we had crocuses, daffodils, tulips, irises, forsythia, azaleas, redbuds, fruit trees, and rhododendrons all blooming at the same time. It was a strange, but magnificent, sight. Our drive out here was interesting, too. It was a bit like rewinding Spring. 🙂

    • Dear Robin,
      So happy to hear you’ve gone home to Ohio for a visit, and hope you are enjoying plenty of time with loved ones. “Re-winding spring” is a beautiful way to put the experience of spring time travel to place where it comes late 😉 We’ve experienced that, too, when traveling to the Virginia Mountains in April. You can watch the season come and go as you drive up and down the mountains! It is such an odd sight, but such fun to enjoy the beauties of each point in the season again and again. It is like a “bonus” spring 😉 This is a good time to be away from the coast, Robin, and I hope your trip keeps you in Ohio until after Wednesday or Thursday. The forecast on TS Ana changes with each news cycle, but there will be at minimum rain, wind and tidal issues in VA, and likely MD as well. We heard the forecast intensify last night from the 6 PM local news to the 11 PM local news.
      Columbine grows easily if it likes its spot…. moist and fairly shady. And it takes time for it to establish. I tend to bring home blooming plants and let them self-seed if they like it here. The seed does best if given the winter out of doors before germination, by the way. Giant hugs, and thank you for visiting Forest Garden today ❤ WG

  6. Very beautiful words and photos. This lifted my heart!!

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