Golly, doesn’t time pass quickly in May. There’s no doubt (in my mind at least) that it’s the best month of the year but it’s also a very busy one. The flower beds that were mainly bare earth at the beginning of the month transform into a riot of colour, growth and smells by the end but that of course brings problems as well as pleasure along the way. Hiding in the undergrowth are slugs, snails and lily beetles while there’s staking, weeding, edging, deadheading within the beds and elsewhere there’s the mowing, watering, planting out, not to mention the daily chore of cutting of the asparagus and now the picking of the strawberries.
And on top of all that there are other distractions. In this neck of the woods in May we have the Charleston Literary Festival with visiting authors keen to flog their books but at the same time providing our little grey cells with stimulating talks and discussion. And treats in the case of Vanessa Redgrave and Barry Humphries with two remarkable and memorable performances. There’s Glyndebourne to book as well as the Alfriston Summer Music Festival’s pre-concert to attend. And perhaps the best thrill of all were the nightingales singing their little hearts out every evening right here in the village (if you’ve never been lucky enough to hear or see one click onto this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK2_bcQcoD4 ).
May is also the time when panic begins to set in: our first public garden opening is on June 17th but before that we’ve got various groups booked to come. The first of these was a few days ago, when a tour party of 50 Austrians visited us, led by Austria’s answer to Alan Titchmarsh, Karl Ploberger. Their itinerary comprised Great Dixter, Sissinghurst, Borde Hill, Pashley Manor, Chelsea Flower Show and The Long House. (Just thought I’d mention it.) Oh, and they also brought with them a television crew and a drone to film the garden and to do an interview with Karl and celebrity gardener Rosie.
One visitor we could have done without though was a heron, determined to get at our goldfish and orfe despite the nylon threads strung across the pond to deter him. Needless to say the stupid bird got tangled up in them and we returned from one of our literary excursions at Charleston to find him/it helplessly flapping and squawking and pleading to be released. Which, an hour or so later, he was. But it wasted precious time, which in May we haven’t enough of. And is why I’ll stop now so I can complete the trimming of the box balls…I know you shouldn’t do them till after Derby Day but surely we’ll not get another frost now. Will we?