May – out with some old, and in with some new plants.

What is going on in the garden early May 2021?  Well I have to begin with the weird weather over the last month – According to the met office April 2021 had the lowest average minimun temperature for April in the UK since 1922, and the UK has seen it’s highest levels of air frost in 60 years.  BUT we had the sunniest April on record!  It was certainly a very dry month here in Edinburgh so I was constantly out with the hose.  I had bought biological controls called Nematodes to control levels of vine weevils and slugs in certain areas of the garden and these must be used within a certain time.  Ideally you wait until the soil temperature is consistentky up to 5 C and apply during rainfall.  Well that wasn’t possible but I had to use them up.  It is hard work using large watering cans and holding them out at arm’s length to apply the solutions so I ended up with a very sore back and shoulders for the next few days.  Being paraplegic means that I have very little in the way of core muscles so all the strain is taken by the shoulders and I can’t use both hands at once otherwise I will fall over.  Shame you can’t just sprinkle them on and hose them in.  I will ask for help the next time and I won’t be ordering them until May next year!

In the front garden the daffs have all gone over, as have the epimediums, mahonia, and the white periwinkle.  Disappointingly, only 3 of the tulips have flowered and 3 small irises.  My mum gave me a selection of irises from her garden and I have no idea what kind they are so I just lobed some of them in the diamond shaped bed out the front where they should get plenty of sunshine.

Out in the back garden, Harry dug out the Golden Japanese rush that was taking over the run-off area at the corner of the pond.  We planted some Primula beesiana and bulleyana in it’s place. In the pond we added some Typha minima (dwarf bulrush) and one yellow variegated iris.  He also planted 3 dogwoods in the clay area that the pigeons trample to death so hopefully these are sturdy enough to cope.  They look tiny just now though.  I will take a pic when they are looking bigger and better.

Golden varigated grass
Golden Japanese rush

I took out all of the Tierella from the stumpery as it wasn’t looking great.  It had gone all knobbly and hardly had any roots.  Perhaps vine weevil damage.  I replaced it with a Geranium pratense
‘Midnight Reiter’ as it has lovely dark purple foliage and should stay quite low as ground cover (but it is tiny just now).

The primula denticulata are going over now, as are the tulips and most of the narcissi.  Things doing well are the cowslips, forget-me-nots, brunnera, dicentra, pulmonaria, epimedium Rose queen, vinca, marsh marigolds, spirea, and the mossy saxifrage.  I do need to take out some of the moss by the curling stone to give the mossy saxifrage more room though.

border with narcissi
Narcissi going over
carpet of dicentra around rhododendron
Dicentra around the rhododendron
carpet of dicentra
Dicentra formosa bacchanal red
purple vinca in the stumpery
Vinca minor
stumpery in early May
Narcissi and cowslips in the stumpery
brunnera in the stumpery
Brunnera and mossy logs in the stumpery
mossy saxifrage next to curling stone
Mossy saxifrage and moss next to the curling stone

Mum was getting rid of her 2 troughs due to work getting done to her house so they have a new home here at the corner of the patio.  I am looking forward to seeing them in full bloom.  I do need to get some new pots for the patio too though.

alpine troughs from mum
Two alpine troughs from my mum’s garden.
trough with alpines
Left trough with alpines
trough with alpines
Right trough with alpines.


The Duddingston Kirk Garden Club held their first event since lockdown – The May plant sale!  It all went well and we followed the rules of being outdoors, one-way system, had contact-less payment (cash too) and it was just as popular as usual.  The weather was not pleasant as it was very cold. windy and wet but we were prepared with some gazebos over the tables.   I had a rubber mat for beneath my wheelchair so I didn’t churn up the soft ground which was a good idea..

Right now though, the weather has changed again – this time a little warmer with showers.  That should cheer the garden up and promote some lush growth (and weeds).


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