Showtime in the Garden during May

PUBLISHED: 08:31 29 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:06 20 February 2013

Turkish delight

Turkish delight

A dazzling display of intense colour and brightness makes May a firm favourite with<br/>gardener Sue Beesley

Gardeners shouldnt have favourite months - like children, they all have something special to offer. But if I had to pick one, it would be May.

The new leaves on the trees shine out fresh and bright and the herbaceous foliage unfurls perfectly pert and green. But best of all, the
garden erupts in a rolling wave of colour from the last of Aprils gentle
primulas and bluebells, through swathes of apple blossom and tulips,
to the glamour of the Oriental poppies in all their summer ballgown
gorgeousness.

I have a real soft spot for these stunning perennial poppies. Though
they only flower for a few short weeks in May I think the intense colours and large tissue paper flowers earn their place in any garden.

My absolute favourite has to be Raspberry Queen, with upright flowers of the hottest imaginable pink, but Turkish Delight is a close second, with cup shaped translucent clear pink petals which stand well against rain and wind.

Goliath has dramatic, huge red flowers with black blotches at the
base. More tasteful is Pattys Plum with elegant purplish bronzy flowers
sitting in a nest of hairy green leaves.

Set the plants a little way back in the border to hide the foliage as it dies back later in the summer. Another of Mays signature plants is Allium Purple Sensation with its perfect purple spheres, best planted among mounds of yet-to-flower perennials, as its own leaves die back very early.

You should be able to buy them in flower, but its much better to be patient and remember to plant the bulbs in autumn as youll get far more
for your money.

And theres no holding back now - you can plant out tender plants,
summer bedding and hanging baskets with confidence in the second week of May if the forecast is good. The risk of frost is behind us for another year and summer is here. Enjoy it!

Sue Beesley was runner up in the BBCs Gardener of the Decade and is
the owner of Lodge Lane nursery and Bluebell Cottage Gardens in Dutton,
Cheshire. Check out her website www.lodgelanenursery.co.uk

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