May is drawing to a close ... and it's been a good one! Hottest gossip on the UK gardening scene is that Tom Coward is moving from Great Dixter to Gravetye Manor in July, so watch out for changes in the way the Manor garden looks. Lots of good weather (although the English gardens are running well behind thanks to the brutally cold winter); a visit from well-known American blogger - Alice (below) of Bay Area Tendrils and Alice's Garden Travel Buzz. It's always good to meet fellow bloggers and we went on a whirlwind tour of gardens in Sussex, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire and Wales, many of which Alice is currently featuring on her blogs. I also had the chance to meet the lovely Victoria of Victoria's Backyard and sneak a peak at her glorious garden, which opens for the NGS later this year.
First time gardens for me this month were Chart's Edge, Gravetye Manor, Monk's House (entirely due to Alice even though it's so close to my home), Veddw, and the Roof Gardens in London's Kensington (great lunch and even better views!) - all very different gardens and each unique in its own way - and all covered in May postings, so do scroll down if you've missed them.
The most impressive sight this month was the Rock Garden at Leonardslee (top),which simply took my breath away (top), together with the tulips at Cothay Manor, where I encountered the charming owner Mary Ann Robb (RHS in picture below), hard at work in the bog garden, with her co-workers.
May also saw The Chelsea Flower Show, which I missed, but managed to catch up with on TV; the promise of many new gardens to come in June and lots of hard work in my own garden (which never gets featured on my blog because it's work in progress, but not far enough advanced to be proud of yet!)
But after four years of hard work, it's beginning to come together. Below is one of the areas I'm working on right now - there was nothing here at all at the beginning of April, and I'm planning to have a whole bed of different euphorbias and heuchera .... all experimental at the moment ... so it may well change!
And not to be forgotten are new bloggers on the scene this month include Seeds and the City and Monkey Dribble - both lovely UK blogs and Rosemary's Blog with its wonderful pictures. I thoroughly recommend all three. Fellow Blotanist Catherine Horwood of Gardening Women - has a new book out, to be reviewed on BBC's Woman's Hour tomorrow and I'm just off to buy a copy, so will let you know what I think when I've read it.
I'm off to Barnsley House - former home of Rosemary Verey - in June, to do a photography course with Clive Nichols; and to West Dean to see what new courses they have on offer at a special preview day. There are many gardens on my wish list, including several in the Cotswolds, which I hope to see when I go up to Barnsley. So all in all, May has been a good month, with many lovely sunny days, gorgeous gardens to visit, and new friends ... and June promises to be even better.