My Top Ten May Blooms

I am just in time to join Chloris at The Blooming Garden for her monthly invitation to post our favourite ten flowers. I feel I blinked and missed May, it has flown by so quickly. I have been almost as busy as the bees in my garden this month, and flitting about like a Hummingbird Hawk Moth! Talking of which…

Can you see him? Dead centre. The first day the Valerian/Centranthus ruber opened up, these amazing little creatures appeared! That is the main reason I love this plant so much, although there are other reasons to adore it too. In my rockery it will continue to look good for most of the summer, as long as I keep cutting off the spent flowers. It needs no other care except to be chopped down once it starts collapsing in October/November. It thrives on dry ground, seeds itself profusely into any nooks and crannies and attracts beautiful insects. πŸ™‚

So that was number one: Centranthus ruber

Now number two, a pink Aquilegia, bought from a garden centre (unlabelled) many years ago. This one hasn’t seeded itself yet, unlike all the others. I am pulling out a lot of the dark purple ones in the hope that the paler ones will spread more. Not sure how successful it will be though as some have gone to seed already!

Number three is the peonies. This one is Sarah Bernhardt, which has produced several flowers this year after a slow start. Worth the wait though. πŸ™‚

The other peonies in my garden are the early pink, then the deep pinky red, and of course the steadfast white Festiva maxima – these three all came from my partner’s Mum, and we think of her every year when they start flowering. πŸ™‚

Number four is my surprise Iris which doesn’t show up regularly and appeared from nowhere a few years ago. I think it may be ‘Frequent Flyer’, identified from online photos and descriptions of the scent. If you know better, do let me know!

Number five is the Moon Daisies, otherwise known as Oxeye Daisies and in Germany ‘Margeriten’. There are more than ever in our wild meadow/lawn this year.

Number six is, strictly speaking, not actually a bloom but a seedhead – the Pulsatilla seedheads are one of my favourite things in May and June and I must remember to cut a few to keep for winter arrangements.

My seventh bloom is the glorious Oriental Poppy. I grew these from seed one year, planting them out in late August and since then they have wandered around the rockery. This year a couple of pink ones returned too, but the orange ones are the stunners and it is almost impossible to photograph one without a bee bathing in it!

Yes, there is a bee in there somewhere…

Number eight is the lovely Campanula my friend in the village gave me. She has also given me seed and a white plant, but for some reason only the blue ones come back – everywhere! πŸ™‚

My ninth bloom is also a favourite, and one of the few plants that had survived the neglect when we first took over this garden: pale blue Veronica (which is also my current header).

It was hard to choose between Rosa rugosa and the wild strawberries for my final favourite… the rose won, because it was full of bees again (whereas the mice and slugs nibble on my wild strawberries!) and this year it is smothered in flowers and NO greenfly for once! πŸ™‚

A big thank you to Chloris for encouraging me to document my top ten flowers each month. Do visit her post if you haven’t already!



51 thoughts on “My Top Ten May Blooms

    • We don’t get hummingbirds here, so this is our equivalent! πŸ˜‰ There are several different hawk moths, but this one is the most reliable visitor.

  1. You have such wonderful variety in your garden, Cathy. I love the vibrant colors, and peonies and Oriental Poppies are probably the most striking to me. But, I must say Centranthus ruber, quite new to me, is a wonderful addition. I’m going to do some research to see if this is something I can grow in my own garden. I’m hopeful! πŸ™‚

  2. Oh, you have some stunners on your list! That Oriental Poppy is dramatic! My Peonies and Irises are just starting to bloom. I love both of them and they make great companions in vase arrangements.

    • My irises went over rather quickly, and the peonies are suffering in our heatwave too, but the poppies are producing loads more buds and should last well this year. πŸ™‚

  3. That iris is excellent!, even with a bit of yellow. I have four whites, and none are perfect. One is sort of grayish – it smells great but looks like putty. Two others are perfect white, but are very billowy, so billowy that it is hard to see that they are iris. The fourth is a bit simpler, but not quite as neat as yours is. Yours looks almost like a white version of Iris pallida.

    • I am very pleased with this iris. It must have been dormant (hiding under some weeds πŸ˜‰ ) in a spot where I don’t actually ‘garden’! It has grown substantially this spring so I hope it will become a regular feature now it has reestablished itself!

  4. You have a really nice variety of flowers there and I especially like that glowing poppy. I’ve bought some poppy seeds myself and am looking forward to flowers in the spring.

    • I do enjoy poppy season and will allow some to go to seed again this year. The seedheads look pretty but the foliage tends to get rather tatty after flowering and suffocates other plants, so I just pull the leaves off. It works! πŸ˜‰

  5. Cathy, your photos are STUNNING. I love the depth of colour and the definition you get. What sort of lens and camera are you using, if you don’t mind my asking?
    I love Centranthus too. Your hawk moth photo is stunning. And your peonies and poppies!

  6. Gorgeous flowers, I also love to plant those which attract the bees and butterflies or moths into the garden. Love your irises with the raindrops.

  7. Cathy that 10 beautiful flowers you have. I love all your Peonies, but the one that is the most is Sarah Bernhardt. The light blue Veronicas I like a lot. The white iris is wonderful. The pink Aquilegia is very beautiful. I love all your flowers. Have a good week. Take care. Greetings from Margarita.

  8. They are all so lovely, and don’t seem to have suffered from your hot dry weather at all! I love the red valerian (Centranthus ruber) and must add that to my garden soon! πŸ˜€ I have lots of white Valeriana officinalis which is quite nice too. And peonies are always a favorite. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Joanna! Centranthus ruber was given to me by my partner’s aunt years ago and she told me I would be grateful for it. Now I know what she means! It spreads well, but can easily be pulled up if it gets too invasive. πŸ˜‰

  9. Thank you for joining in with your 10 favourite May blooms Cathy. And such brilliant photos. Lovely to have so many beauties for the bees to enjoy. And a humming bird hawk moth, wonderful! I particularly love your peonies and that gorgeous iris. May is such a fabulous month and this year it has been particularly beautiful.

    • You are right. It has been a very good month for the garden and I am looking forward to hearing the bees enjoying my lavender which is just opening… one for the June list! Thank you Chloris! πŸ™‚

  10. Poppies always make my heart skip a beat. One of these days I will find a spot they will like in my garden. Of course all of these blooms are wonderful. May has been kind and generous with her flowers.

  11. This is a terrific selection, Cathy. I particular like that seed head. It’s a star unto itself, isn’t it? I like the idea of bees “bathing” in your poppies. That’s a nice play on words.

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