Saturday, 1 May 2010

The Merry Month of May



New shoots of the hardy banana Musa basjoo. Each year this grows into a 15 to 20 foot beast, depending on rainfall. It looks great against the stone back drop of the old cattle barn, never out of place and interestingly, not particularly tropical-esque, just great foliage.

The first frosts of winter cut it down and that's where I leave it until the following spring, the blackened foliage self-mulching and protecting the crown until April when I clear it away and cut it back close to the ground. It's a ritual at this time of year to keep checking for new shoots wondering whether it's survived and voila!!!





Lilly of the Valley or muguet de bois makes an appearance. Today is May day and in France it is the equivalent of Labour Day or Fête du Travail. The French have a charming tradition on May one of giving this little flower to friends and loved ones as a porte-bonheur, literally, a bringer of happiness and they are sold in little bunches on many street corners.



The unfurling fronds of Holly fern are a wellcome sight. I like ferns as mentioned in a previous post, The Filicarium, and give it a couple of weeks, the sight of all the croziers reaching to the sky simply says spring to me.




Corydalis has self seeded with abandon this year. I reckon it's something to do with the cold winter we've had. The Lilacs (of which failed to get a photo of and now past their best) are the same, somethings really come back with renewed vigour following a harsh season, I can't see any other explanation.




Not strictly relevant though it was nearly May when I put it together, my Ivy sphere. Hopefully there'll be a lot of growth this season and the frame will almost disappear.



Finally, my favourite thing in a pot, Convolvulus mauritanicus. A tender perennial, The first blooms are out and it should continue on and off until late September. I plan to try to take as many cuttings as I can this year as I simply can't get enough of it.

31 comments:

  1. Beatiful pictures. I would love to see it all in person. Carla

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  2. What beautiful signs of spring. I have a similar looking shoot as your banana plant. But mine is bamboo. If I leave my yoga mat in the garden overnight and try to lay on it in the morning, more than likely there will be a new shoot to remove. It grows that fast! Also, love the ivy and sphere. I love topiaries.

    ~janet

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  3. I don't think the hardy banana made it this year in our garden. At least the last time I looked, there were no signs of new growth.

    I'll be looking forward to the ivy sphere.

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  4. Very pretty. I'm especially fond of Lily of the Valley, and saw some in a neighbor's yard in a pot just yesterday. This was a revelation to me, since I didn't grow up here- it means that I can grow it too!

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  5. What are the unfurling leaves to the left of the muguet? A fern? My French husband went all mushy when he saw the first lily of the valley here in Brooklyn...

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  6. I am a true fern lover too, I wonder how delicate that Holly fern is... wonderful planT! Must look into this asap:-)
    I just got back after more than 8 hours outside in the biting northern wind... as we are used to on 1st of May.
    Have a nice evening!

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  7. Hi Rob, there is something about the light there, everything looks so magical, even otherworldly. And beautiful, let's not forget that. The ivy sphere belongs in a fantasy land. :-)
    Frances

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  8. I love your ivy sphere, its fantastic

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  9. It's amazing to think those little green shoots will end up so tall in a short while.
    The Holly ferns are really pretty!
    When we were little we celebrated May Day (the first) by leaving little bouquets of Spring flowers hanging from our neighbors doorknobs. It's a tradition I wish I would've continued with my girls, maybe next year.

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  10. I like that columbine behind the ferns. The corydalis is really lovely, so I can't imagine having too much.

    The bananas are always so surprising, even here. The tropicals that are rated for our zone are some of the easy plants in terms of maintenance (as long as we get enough rain and I don't have to water plants....we need rain here now).

    Wish we had enough time to drop in, but it's a long drive from Antibes to Les Eyzies.

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  11. Great to see the progress of your garden and love to see a man working hard on it. Your many pots are wonderful.
    cariños,
    maria cecilia

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  12. I love your potted Convolvulus, ivy sphere and Corydalis.

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  13. Great post Rob. I love the first photos especially at eye level. You have such a beautiful garden.

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  14. Glad to see that your banana made it through this cold winter Rob. What a civilised tradition - the giving of lily of the valley posies. The French certainly do things in style. Would make me sneeze but I would have been delighted if I had received one yesterday.

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  15. Happy May, Rob. We love our Musa and have divided and divided.. the foliage is so striking in the garden. The Corydalis is so delicate, but does not survive in our hot and dry summer garden; however, the Convolvulus always seems to come back and is one of my favorites.

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  17. aloha,

    love the tour and all your may blooms, especially love the beautiful pot with the convulvulous

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  18. I agree Rob, either your lighting there is something special, or you are a really great photographer!

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  19. All lovely!
    Lilly of the Valley is my favorite, and here in Massachusetts, USA, my lillies will likely bloom this week. The scent is intoxicating.

    Annelie

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  20. Everything is so lovely Rob and you are so clever with your designs! I especially would love to sit in that last photo!! Looks like a place to be very merry indeed!

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  21. Just found your site, beatiful pictures and lots of info. I will be back in the hopes of learning some names of some of my plants! Diane

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  22. Hi Rob, your place is so very beautiful. We are getting ready to leave the US soon. I have written down your address and phone number in case we are diverted to Europe due to the volcanic activity in Iceland! Just to let you know. :-)
    Frances

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  23. Tra-la, it's May! All looks lush and green, Rob. I'm beside with with ferns ... my all-time most favorite plant! My corydalis is no where to be seen but happy yours is so prolific. Let us all enjoy this stunning month!

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  24. Must admit the banana tree took me by surprise - not something I would have expected to see in your garden.

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  25. Hi Rob some lovely photos as always.
    Yes it is exciting seeing what is shooting and unfurling.

    We were in Paris the 1st May and I thought what a charming tradition the sprigs of Lily of the Valley were. I came home to many flowering in my garden.

    The last plant in a pot does look a real treasure

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  26. I love the sweet fragrance of lily of the valley, and the pretty little bless. Yours looks wonderful growing with the ferns and columbine. Ferns grow so quickly once they start to unfurl, but your hardy banana would win the growth race.

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  27. I have go get one of those Banana trees for my garden!

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  28. I have a question..That only a French gardener can answer for me..
    I have wooden teepee kind of things that my husband made with fleu deleis on the top .I have been told they are TOUTORS

    PLEASE is that correct ???
    Thank you

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  29. I like the ivy sphere even while it is in the process of filling in.

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