Blessed be gardens and weddings in May

Byzantine gladiolus

It’s the beginning of May. Sorry I haven’t written in a couple of weeks. You must forgive me. Like the garden, I am gathering my strength, girding my loins, and getting ready to launch myself and the garden into June. We are facing the calendar and weather with courage, the kind that’s said its prayers.

We have weddings and graduations in May and a regional daylily garden tour in June. We are fixing fences, building beds and borders, and weeding, always weeding. Anything we can’t fix, we will cover with mulch and call it good. We are fluffing with abandon.

This is the back garden from atop a side border. I am standing on top of the retaining wall about five feet in the air. No bulb foliage here, but you can see the great, greenness that is early May.
This is the back garden from atop a side border. I am standing on top of the retaining wall about five feet in the air. No bulb foliage here, but you can see the great, greenness that is early May.

Most of the garden is in its green phase between the last of the fall-planted/spring-blooming bulbs and the daylilies. It is my least favorite time because I find all that bulb foliage very distracting and messy. Still, I let it do its thing so I’ll have more flowers next spring. Ignore the bulb foliage and let it die a natural death before removing. Don’t cut it back no matter how much it irritates you.

Ignore the bulb foliage and let it die a natural death before removing. Don't cut it back no matter how much it irritates you. Click To Tweet
Byzantine glads in the back garden. I need more of these little beauties.
Byzantine glads in the back garden. I need more of these little beauties.

One of the few plants blooming with abandon are the Byzantine glads, Gladiolus communis subsp. byzantinus. They are unabashedly hot pink and wave their petals in the air like they just don’t care. If you live in Zone 6 or further south, you should grow these lovelies. I’m making a note to buy more from Old House Gardens this fall.

Garden gathers its strength. Apricot mystery rose with 'Niobe' clematis.
Apricot mystery rose with ‘Niobe’ clematis. What a sweet dichotomy I planted here. Occasionally, a plan works as you want it. I planted these about twenty years ago. Hard to believe they are still going. Like marriage, gardening is a mystery.

My daughter, Megan, known here as the Diva, is getting married tomorrow. I am thrilled for her and Robert, her fiance. Lots of changes in our family this year. A May wedding is a splendid thing. I married my sweetheart twenty-eight years ago on May 12.

May is a beautiful time even if the Oklahoma weather is acting like Seattle or merry old England this year. It’s been cold, wet and rainy for days, but I see that blue skies are forecast for tomorrow and the week ahead. What a happy occasion it will be!

Spirea Double Play Red is the most beautiful color and is blooming at the moment.
Spirea Double Play Red is the most beautiful color and is blooming at the moment. It has splendid pink and red blooms.

The garden senses the change in weather too. Right now, it’s a garden in waiting. The tropical plants which began so strong in late April are looking for wool coats, but as I said, next week is supposed to be better. At my house, we’ve had copious amounts of rain, six inches one week and three inches the next. I think we got another inch two days ago.

Click on the photos in the gallery to make them larger and see the captions better.

It’s been cold for May, from 45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit with cloudy skies. Where are you oh Death Star, ahem, Mr. Sun?

The roses and clematis have no complaints except some mummified blooms on the multipetaled roses. They have trouble opening in cold and rainy weather, and thrips don’t help matters. Clematis clamber and climb through the roses as if they’re never faced a hot and brutal sun before. I must laugh at the vagrancies of an Oklahoma spring and at the positive outlook plants seem to have.

I must laugh at the vagrancies of an Oklahoma spring and at the positive outlook plants seem to have. Click To Tweet

Ahhhh, an Oklahoma spring . . . gardeners just never know what they’re going to get. This year, Seattle and London, next year, maybe Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Like the proverbial Boy Scout, a gardener must always be prepared.

Hint: you should also learn to go with the flow.

Raised beds after eleven inches of rain. I'll dig up the tomato plants and the decorative cotton, put in more soil and plant more seeds.
Raised beds after eleven inches of rain. I’ll dig up the tomato plants and the decorative black cotton plants, put in more soil and plant more seeds. Stuff happens. Rain happens.

Remember how I was going to share the building of my raised beds? I still will, but well, my sweet son worked so hard on getting the soil just right, and then tempestuous rains came. Six inches in a few hours compacted the soil where I’d planted cut-flower seeds like zinnias, cosmos, celosia, amaranth and bells of Ireland. Some seeds washed away, while tomato plants shivered. I’m just glad we lined the beds with landscape cloth, or it would have all washed away, down the hill and into the lower pasture.

There was a time when I would be dismayed, but I’ve learned to shrug my shoulders and go on. The rains come. The rains go. We can’t control the rain

Instead, let us be happy come what may. Also, blessed be gardens and weddings in May.