Rabbit Pie


Echinacea pallida. Munched. Behind a somewhat belatedly bolted stable door.

Flopsy bunny is indeed fortunate. As an animal lover and aspiring vegetarian I could no more prepare an animal for the pot than I could shoot it in the first place.



And thus Mike is in full-on cage construction mode and we are back to chicken wire Fort Knox. Does it add to the aesthetic appeal of the garden? Not a jot. And it’s so unfair. The garden is full of weeds. Burgeoning, lush, organically grown, surely supremely tasty weeds. Enough to support a bunny for the rest of the summer should it be inclined to hang around. So why pick on a tiny plant, with as yet very few leaves, only purchased in the last day or so at considerable expense?



The gardener really should get those docks out before the root goes down deep. Then it really will be a struggle won’t it.


Cirsium rivulare 'Atropurpureum'


Cirsium rivulare ‘Atropurpureum’

Everywhere at the Chelsea Flower Show. Occasionally also in Devon. Except that in Chelsea they weren’t blown horizontal by the wind.


Cercidiphyllum japonicum


Cercidiphyllum japonicum

Alas and alack, munching critters haven’t been my only challenge this month. There’s also been the weather. Just about everything has been thrown at us lately. At the beginning of May it was two nights of killing frost. At only a couple of degrees below zero not especially cold but the timing couldn’t have been worse, just as the leaves were emerging on the trees. Many of the garden ornamentals are looking rather sad now. The lovely Toffee Apple tree, above, would have us believe it is autumn already.


Davidia involucrata


Davidia involucrata

I’ve waited ten years so far for the handkerchief blooms. It won’t be this year either. There are barely any leaves. Thankfully there were a few shoots left in reserve so perhaps not all is lost.


Magnolia sieboldii


Magnolia sieboldii

Burned leaves and wizened blooms.


Rosa mutabilis


Rosa x odorata ‘Mutabilis’

Now that’s more like it.


Following the frost, a dry spell turned our clay soil into something resembling concrete. Just as the irrigation system broke down. And then, this last weekend, a thunderstorm such as I’ve never seen before. I awoke to a room alive with flashing lights. (Not helped by the fact that the bedroom blinds still haven’t been made, in spite of Mike’s nagging frequent helpful reminders. I’ve ordered the fabric now at least. When it arrives, on a roll, there’s nowhere to put it. Which should focus the mind somewhat.)

Strangely, the lightning had no thunder to accompany it. From the southern horizon the flashes across the sky were not just every few seconds, they were continuous. It was spectacular enough to take me back to Sydney on New Year’s Eve. There is an internet site which displays, in real time, every lightning flash anywhere in the world. Incredibly the storm we were watching was still almost 50 miles distant, the thunder too far away to hear. We tracked it approaching us for over an hour, watching the strikes on the map and the sky getting correspondingly brighter as every minute passed.



Lightningmaps.org (here)

The observant will have noted that this is not Devon. But the following day on the desktop computer this was the nearest thunderstorm I could find. The red and yellow spots are the most recent strikes, making it possible to track which way the storm is heading.

Take a look, it’s fascinating!


Arisaema ciliatum


Arisaema ciliatum

Purchased at the Little Ash Farm NGS Open Day last year (the next one is this coming Sunday) I’m delighted the arisaema has returned, guaranteeing it pride of place alongside the new woodland path. Isn’t she a beauty?

And she isn’t the only new entry this week..


Itoh Peony 'Pastel Splendor'


Itoh Peony ‘Pastel Splendor’

At last.

The colour is exquisite. More of a coral than a pink, with undertones of grey and a flush of gold she is the Farrow and Ball of peonies. Just as well. I’ve never before spent even half as much on a perennial, especially for a bloom unseen, and probably never will again. Although as a hybrid between a tree and herbaceous peony perhaps she is something a little out of the ordinary.


Itoh Peony 'Pastel Splendor'


Splendid indeed


For more end of May floral delights click through to Sarah’s Through The Garden Gate (here).