What’s in bloom in May?

posted in: Gardening | 17


What’s in bloom in May I hear you ask?  Looking out at my garden it seems to be more like an April garden.  It feels it too with that incessant cold wind!  I delayed the hardy annual seed sowing until the beginning of May as April was the coldest month since 1986 here in Perthshire.

The daffodils and tulips are still in flower and the garden looks so different compared to May 2012, May 2011 and May 2010.   I’ve had one sighting of the Orange tip butterflies. While on the few occasions when it’s been warm and sunny the bee flies have been darting around the garden at warp speed.


What’s in bloom in May in my garden?

yellow daisy flowers Doronicum orientale 'Leonardo' leopards bane
Doronicum orientale ‘Leonardo’


There are sunny yellow daisy flowers from the Doronicum orientale ‘Leonardo’. It’s one of the woodland plants that will go dormant and completely disappear during the summer months. It’s good to grow along side late flowering herbaceous perennials and the first of the hoverflies are enjoying its nectar. A much larger and native Giant Leopards Bane grows wild nearby.


yellow cowslip Primula veris 'Cabrillo'
Primula veris ‘Cabrillo’


Another yellow flower that seems to have been in flower for months is the very hardy cowslip Primula veris ‘Cabrillo’.  In fact this one can cope with a little bit more sunshine than the native Primula veris.


Yellow spurge Euphorbia epithymoides, syn. E. polychroma
Euphorbia epithymoides syn. E. polychroma

There’s also Spurge –  Euphorbia polychroma. It has neat cushions of sulphur yellow and green from the tiny flowers bracts and it grows alongside my Ballerina Orange tulips.

…more herbaceous plants

Lathyrus vernus 'Alboroseus spring pea pink flowers
Lathyrus vernus ‘Alboroseus’ | spring pea pink flowers
 Epimedium rubrum
Epimedium rubrum


The Spring Peas – Lathyrus vernus have been in flower for weeks with their purple flowers. Indeed this year I finally managed to source the pink cultivar Lathyrus vernus ‘Alboroseus’.  Moreover I’ll be collecting the seeds from this one as it’s such a beautiful addition to the spring garden!


Epimedium rubrum is sending out loads of little tiny blooms on wirey stems. I had to use extension rods on the camera lens to get a close up image like the one below.


purple pulsatilla vulgaris | Pasque flower
Pulsatilla vulgaris shot wide open at f1.4
Brunnera macrophylla ' Looking Glass' Siberian Bugloss
Brunnera macrophylla ‘ Looking Glass’


Nearby the Siberian Bugloss – Brunnera macrophylla, Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ and Brunnera macrophylla ‘ Looking Glass’ are all in bloom. They have tiny wedgewood blue sprays of flowers.  In fact I wrote about them a few days ago and shared some high key photographs of them.  Let’s Meet the Family – it’s Portrait Time!

The white pulsatilla flowers are nearly over but there are still purple and red ones in flower. I’ve let these plants seed around the garden and quite a few colonies are developing.


What’s in bloom in May?

…well there’s also the cherry blossom.

After a two year hiatus it finally has started to bloom again floriferously . Those really bad winters in 2010/11 really took their toil on this small cherry shrub and only for it’s amazing autumnal colours I would have been saying my final farewells. It’s still as popular as ever with the birds and we even had had a pigeon nesting in the densely packed branches last year.

cherry blossom Prunus incisa 'Kojo-no-mai'
Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’ shot wide open at f1.4

All is forgiven Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’!


Bulbs in Flower

snakes head fritillary | Fritillaria meleagris
Snakes head fritillary | Fritillaria meleagris shot wide open at f1.4
Muscari latifolium broad leafed grape hyacinth
Muscari latifolium (broad leafed grape hyacinth) – shot wide open at f1.4

There are lots of bulbs in flower at the moment like the daffodils, tulips, scillia, muscari and ranunculus.  There also are snakes head fritillary in bloom along with Muscari latifolium which was newly planted last autumn.



this is an image of purple drumstick primula's - Primula denticulata
Primula denticulata
this is an image of wine coloured Primula auricula
Primula auricula

Lilac purple blooms from the Primula denticulata are looking their best just at the moment down at Muddy Boots Corner. Likewise there are the many shades of the Primula auricula’s in the scree beds.


Changes Made to the Garden Design


I’ve too many photos to share of what’s in bloom in May. But for my final photograph I wanted to let you see how the back garden has changed during the past few weeks.


I’ve more photos to share in a few days time that will show more wider views of the garden.  If you click on last months What’s in bloom in April you’ll be able to compare the views. 


You’ll see that two of the blue arches are gone and I’ve taken the turf away.  I made a new wider path which later in the season will be covered in bark.  For now it’s being left as it is as.


Besides I’ve sowed random drifts of wild flowers along the path. The seeds have now germinated so I’ll be looking forward to seeing what comes into bloom.


Finally there’s a very important flower that’s about to bloom this week – Amorphophallus titanum – Titan Arum.   It’s the biggest flower in the world. The Eden Project in Cornwall, England  have a live webcam page that updates every minute. No one is going to miss the special event!


Follow Rosie Nixon:

Photography Tutor and Gardener

Rosie is a garden photographer, writer and nature lover. She enjoys soaking up nature and is easily distracted from doing the weeding by anything that flutters, flies, buzzes, creeps or crawls! She enjoys sharing the beauty of creation through her photography. Rosie has been featured on TV on BBC2's The Beechgrove Garden and she uses the outdoors as her natural light studio. Her work can be seen at one of Scotland's only photography galleries - Close Gallery, 4b Howe Street, Edinburgh. She also writes and shares her nature images on www.irelandbirdphotography.com

Latest posts from

17 Responses

  1. Andrea

    Hello Rosie, it's amazing that April is the coldest in the country which is No. 1 in my wishlist to visit. On the contrary, it is the hottest month in the country where i live in this lifetime. It's now past half of May and at last we got the first rains, that largely diminish the icky-hot feeling outside the buildings.

    I love all your flowers, but i like most that wide angle shot of your garden. In my case, i posted contrasting status of plants for April and May.

  2. Linda Claxson

    Rosie you have alot of blooms right now don't you! I love the garden view photo though it kinda puts a perspective on it all.
    Nothing blooming here except the daffs and the Iris in the polytunnel – can't wait for summer!


  3. Mark and Gaz

    Hi Rosie, good to see the progress of your garden, it's coming along nicely. And how true how everything seems to be delayed or set back this year courtesy of the cold March and April. Forsythia bloomed here in early May when normally it does so in March.

    Lovely photos and blooms, especially the Euphorbia!

  4. Layanee

    I love that comparison! What a difference a month makes. Epimediums could be my favorite…wait, no, the forget-me-nots…no, the …I guess it depends what I am looking at in the moment. Love your blooms and love your garden.

  5. Melanie J Watts

    Love that view of your back garden. Isn't funny how as our gardens grow we eliminate more and more lawn 🙂

  6. Trainer John

    Summer comes in slowly this year. A nice set of spring flowers you have there. Love the photos – I really must try more wide open low key effects rather than always stopping down for maximum DOF.


    Hi, I found you through GBBD, nice garden you have, and nice spring flowers, many of which I grow or have grown in my own garden. I like your new layout for the garden, in my own garden the lawn ended up smaller and smaller and finally I took away the last bit in autumn 2011. That was the best thing I ever did! So much more space for even more plants 🙂

  8. Jo

    Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. You've got such a lot going on in your garden at the moment. Some things are really late this year, my dicentra is only just starting to flower and the lilac tree, which usually blooms much earlier, hasn't even started to flower yet. The daffodils seemed to last much longer this year, though they're starting to go over now.

  9. Angie

    Rosie – as usual perfect photography!
    Our gardens are at a similar stage still and yes, very much like April. We also have very similar plants going on in our gardens – well suited to the Scottish climate!!
    Epimedium rubrum is my favourite plant blooming right now – although it's foliage has now taken on the red tinge – I love it at this stage.
    I grew Muscari latifolium for the first time this year too – I'm quite impressed with it.
    Happy GBBD!

  10. Larry

    So many wonderful plants! I have a couple pink lathyrus and totally appreciate them. My purple ones have created dozens of new plants and I cherish them all! A January rain followed by extreme freeze is suspect in my epimediums demise… I just finished replacing a goodly number of them today. Great post! Larry

  11. scottweberpdx

    That image of the Pulsatilla is gorgeous…just love it…and those checkered Fritillaria are so very charming…Happy Bloom Day!

  12. John Williams

    HI Rosie: Have to admit I have been a little lax lately about following and replying to blogs. All I have to say is I love your Photos, you and your blog and Facebook posts. I do read all of your posts but have not been replying to many of them. Keep it up i am sure many readers enjoy your posts.

    Have a wonderful day,

  13. Millymollymandy

    It is looking very colourful despite the cold spring! You've certainly packed a lot into a small space here and I've been searching in the last photo for your kale…. is it flowering yet? 🙂