"You are as welcome as the flowers in May."

How did we get this far through May already? The weather has cooled, we have had several nights of frost which at this time of year is quite damaging to all that fresh new growth on perennials and trees like the Cercidiphyllum. Now we are back to warm temperature and sunshine. The plants will recover and thankfully the fleeced annuals all look ok. I'm still working away spring cleaning the stock beds, in G now, of which there are alot of Geums and Geraniums. They do so well up here in our often challenging conditions, so I like to stock a good range. Its pleasant standing in the sun working at my mobile potting bench in the stock beds with views over the Pentlands and the sound of bird song in the hedgerow, you'd never know everything was falling apart.

Geum 'Leonard's Variety'

We are now into Geum season, these are great wee plants for the front of the border, tough and flowering on and off through summer, they are well worth a corner in the garden. Some even tolerate damper soil. Many are bred from the native Geum rivale which is starting to flower along river banks now. You might spot it on your daily walks. In the nursery we have Geum 'Borisii', Geum 'Karlskaer', Geum 'Mrs W Moore', Geum 'Nordek', Geum 'Pink Frills', Geum 'Primrose Cottage', Geum 'Prinses Juliana', Geum rivale 'Album' and Geum rivale 'Leonard's Variety'.

Geum 'Primrose Cottage'

Geum 'Karlskaer'

Great excitement in the wildlife pond this week. I saw a newt when I went down to plant some Geums! Our pond is only a year old and we are super pleased to have so much wildlife in it already, newts are in the nursery already, especially in the poly tunnel, so to see them in the pond was fab. Within a couple of weeks of filling the pond last year we had water boatmen and water skaters, then there were the frogs and toads, tadpoles this year, which are getting fatter, and now newts. So if you need any excuse to put in a wildlife pond, this is it.

Useful plants from the garden - Chenopodium bonus-henricus
"Good King Henry" Used as a vegetable for centuries it was once a common sight in every garden. This reliable kitchen garden staple has fallen by the wayside in recent years and is now a rarity today, but this unique herb still has much to offer as a perennial. The succulent young leaves and flowering stems can be either eaten in salads or cooked like spinach, amongst many other uses. H 75cm, S 60cm.
This is very simply a green veg dish. Once cleaned the leaves are placed in a steamer for a few minutes until cooked. Served with a dish of your choice, we had it with steamed kale, new potatoes and a chicken dish made in the our Remoska.
I won't deny it's a strange taste and David has catagorically banned it from the kitchen as disgusting and unpalatable! Leaving his on the side of his plate, I thought my days of trying to get the males in my life to eat their greens were long gone when my boys grew up

Chenopodium bonus-henricus

with some kale for colour

in the steamer

with a chicken dish and new potatoes

Saturday Planters - This is an old dish from the kitchens, and with holes drilled in to the base it has been recycled into a planter for Semperviviums. It's been in the wee polytunnel all winter, time for a spring clean. Weeds removed, a couple of the Semps bulked up with more plants and a new layer of grit. As good as new for another season.

The views on my journey home change again with the seasons, the trees are leafing up and there is still some blue sky, though the weather is also changing again

It's also apple blossom time and the nursery and gardens are full of pink and white blooms on the trees. Lets hope we don't get any more frost and an abundance of apples in autumn. We still have apples and crab apple trees for sale, they are in 10 litre pots @ £39.50. I love a plant that you get more than one season of interest from, especially in small gardens this is very useful, blossom in May and fruit in autumn, perfect. We have Apple 'Golden Delicious', Apple 'Greensleaves', Apple 'James Grieve', Apple 'Jupiter', Apple 'Laxton's Fortune' and in Crab apples we have Malus crab apple 'Evereste (£68.95)', Malus crab apple 'Golden Hornet' (48.95) and Malus crab apple 'Red Sentinel' (£48.95).

Great news! After a week of not seeing them, I had a stroll round the cottage wood and spotted the owls again tonight. Baby owl is getting much bigger. Parent owl was sitting a couple of branches lower, keeping an eye on things. I walked right under them and it wasn't until I turned and saw parent owl's silhouette that I spotted them, great camouflage.

Tuesday's day off walk from the cottage, through the ancient woodland and back home along the river. Its all change again with spring flowers fading and early summer vetches and stitchwort now making an appearance. Ferns are unfurling, butterflies making an appearance and a deer spotted in the woods. The owls are back, cheese scones baked = happy hubby. House cleaned, chores done, relaxed, but my only day off goes so quickly.

Walking in the woods


Water avens (Geumrivale) and friend

The cottages from the woods



In the nursery it's my busiest time, juggling tidying the stockbeds, potting all the plants needing potted, potting seedlings, bringing annuals out of the tunnel to plant and for sale. Keeping everything tidy and looking good and watered! I've been planting out kale, calendula, runnerbeans, and latter in the week the sweetpeas will get planted.

Planting the runner beans

Views across the nursery gardens in the sun

Meanwhile at home the Aquilegia are coming into flower

and an unwelcome visitor on the front doorstep!
So thats another week gone, another week of lockdown and adapting to a new way of living, of keeping the nursery going through difficult and challenging times. It will be interesting to see how the next few weeks unfld as we see a lifting of lockdown. It will be a relief in some ways and frightening in others. Life wont be the same for a long time if at all.

Title quote - Charles Macklin

#newts #wildlife #wildlifepond #wildlifeinthegarden #spring

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