Red rhododendron

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day: May in Aberdeen

“They have to be beautiful, tough and prepared to move at a moment’s notice.”

This is how The Traveller recently described plants in my garden! Unfortunately he is right. I either like things or I don’t, and if I don’t they are usually out!
“Tough”  – yes, because I don’t have the patience to pamper to them.  I do try to plant them in the correct positions. I am lucky to  have most aspects in my garden from the hot, (well sort of!) sunny, long border to the damp, shady North facing bit ‘ round the side’.   If a plant doesn’t get on where I put it,  I will move it once and then if it doesn’t pick up the next move is to the compost heap!
“Ready to move at a moment’s notice.” – true again!  There are two reasons for this:
one – I don’t really have an eye to imagine how things will look until I see them, so come Autumn we usually have a big shuffle around.
and two – like most gardeners I can’t resist buying or acquiring new plants, so sometimes I have to move existing plants just to fit them in.  My borders are in real danger of becoming seriously overcrowded.  I think, subconsciously, I am trying to reach that stage when I don’t have to stake any more because the plants will just hold each other up!

Anyway, I digress. On to May’s Bloom Day. As you can see from the top picture, this is the month of the rhododendrons. In fact a couple of them have already had their moment of glory and the flowers are falling onto the grass.

Aberdeen is blessed with a slightly acidic soil and so is good for rhododendrons, azaleas, heathers and other ericaceous plants, though I still give mine an annual mulch of ericaceous compost just to be sure.

The oldest rhododendron in the garden is round the North side. We inherited this one, but I think it is a Cunningham’s White as it looks just like a definite Cunningham’s white that I planted at the bottom of the garden.

Rhododendron Cunningham's White

Rhododendron Cunningham’s White

Close up of Cunningham's White

Close up of Cunningham’s White

I also have a lovely pink one that I did plant, but before the days when I knew to keep the labels.  Both these plants get very little sun, but still flower their socks off.

pink rhododendron

pink rhododendron

pink rhododendron

pink rhododendron

I have an yellow azalea and a red rhododendron at the edge of the pateo.  The red one is flowering so profusely that it keeps catching my eye from the kitchen and I think we have a red car coming down the drive. I put the azalea in to replace a strongly scented one that got rather swamped by the bottom hedge,  but although it does have a scent, it is nothing like the original. They don’t make things like they used to,do they?

Yellow azalea and red rhododendrons with tulips

Yellow azalea and red rhododendrons with tulips looking  up garden

You can see the photinia Red Robin has finally got its winter fleece off. I thought is was time even though it is still a bit chilly here. The yellow and red tulips are from Amsterdam airport and are called La Courtine.  What is it with these Dutch tulips? – these were supposed to be 18 inches tall and they are nearer 36 inches! Maybe they don’t have the same inches in Holland. Either that or it is my wonderful leaf compost! Thankfully, though, they are still standing.

Yellow azalea and tulips

Yellow azalea and tulips looking down garden

The red tulips are Kingsblood (again from Amsterdam, but not quiet as tall).  What a great name for a tulip!

One tulip that hasn’t performed very well is Jackpot. I planted it in the pot with the cream Mount Tacoma as they were supposed to flower at the same time  i.e. April/May. The Mount Tacoma were beautiful (see last post) and flowered early in April. Once they were over the Jackpot tulips decided to finally show their face, but by then it was too late for the affect I was wanting. They did not look very good either, but maybe I just had too much in that pot.



Here is a tulip that I would really recommend as they are such a wonderul rich colour. These  National Velvet bulbs were not purchased in Holland and so the height is what is says on the packet: 16 inches. They are planted in the bottom corner of the garden.

National Velvet

National Velvet

Before we leave the tulips, here is another great performer. I moved this last Autumn and they have still flowered just as well. I don’t generally like frilly flowers, but these are going to look great with the frilly red poppies in the front- if they can just hang on for a few more days….

Swan Wings

Swan Wings

Moving up the long herbaceous border, the clematis montana is magnificent this year. I grew this from a cutting a couple of years ago and I think it wins the prize for the plant that can put on the most growth in one year.

Clematis montana near bench

Clematis montana near bench

Clematis montana

Clematis montana with Ceanothus

While weeding the other day at the back of this border I got the fright of my life as this little fellow jumped out of the damp bluebells! He was kind enough to stay around while I dashed in for the camera. frog in bluebells

Frog under bluebells

Frog under bluebells

Not to be outdone, our other resident frog decided he rather liked a bluebell garland too.

stone frog

stone frog

The orange geums are brightening up a darker area. Does anyone know their name?

Orange geum

Orange geum

I thought this hebe was ‘Green Globe’ as I have a couple of labels in the house, but I don’t think it can be, as the information says: “Very occasionally producing sparse numbers of small white flowers.” Unless it is that leaf compost again! Can anyone identify it?

hebe with blue

hebe with blue muscari

Euphorbia Fireglow is one of the workhorses of the garden. It is in a very inhabitable place in the garden with poor soil and little sun. It comes up bigger and better every year and is no bother at all.

Euphorbia Fireglow

Euphorbia Fireglow

Isn’t the colour wonderful, especially in the late afternoon sun? euphorbia fireglow

Well I think that is it for May’s Bloom Day. I hope you enjoyed the tour of what is looking good in my garden this month. Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Garden who hosts this meme on the 15th of every month; why not visit her site to see how other gardens are blooming today.

Next Garden Update: Something’s bugging me


16 thoughts on “Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day: May in Aberdeen

  1. Your garden is beautiful Annette .

    I have 2 Cunningham whites they are beautiful and I have many photos of my rhodies on trowels you can see the photos there.

    • Sorry for the delay – my spam catcher went into overdrive and caught 5 real comments -don’t know what was going on! I really will get onto your site soon I promise. Yes Cunningham’s White is wonderful. One of mine got a severe chop last week. I do hope it is ok.

  2. What a stunning Rhododendron your red one is!, so many lovely blooms. Your tulips are beautiful, I wish they would stay with me for more than one year!

    • Hi Pauline, Sorry for the delay in replying- my spam catcher went into overdrive and caught 5 real comments -don’t know what was going on! I just assumed everyone was too busy with their gardens to comment. That red rhododendron flowers so well. Such a shame we can’t stop time for a while to look at it longer. Yes I am lucky with tulips too. I just have to remember where they are – but my blog should now help with that.

    • Thanks. I do hope it lasts long enough for the ceanothus to come out fully. White bluebells are lovely,though I am not too keen on the pink ones.
      Sorry for the delay in replying- my spam catcher went into overdrive and caught 5 real comments -don’t know what was going on! I just thought everyone was really busy!

  3. Great blooms Annette
    I also agree re Tulip National Velvet. It’s a smasher isn’t it? Had it in pots a couple of years ago but it did very little the following year. Tulips don’t do well in the ground down here.
    I can see why you are a fan of the Euphorbia, it sure does make a statement.
    Can’t help you with the IDs, hopefully someone will know.
    I’ve just finally got my post together and am now trying my hardest to catch up with blogs!! I need another 5 hours in the day. Enjoy what’s left of the weekend 🙂

    • Thanks for finding the time to comment, Angie. I think everyone is rather busy this month. Is your ground too wet for tulips? I had just taken for granted that I could grow them in the ground. In fact it is only reading other blogs that I realise how much I take for granted. I am now beginning to appreciate things more.

  4. I do envy you being able to grow such gorgeous Azaleas and Rhododendrons. They are fantastic for brightening up the garden in May. I think your Geum looks like ‘ borisii’ but there are so many lovely Geums around at the moment I may be wrong. I love your little Hebe but I don’ t know which it is.

    • Thanks Chloris. We are lucky here in many ways. I can’t even remember where I got the geum so borisii it will be! Thanks. I hope my little hebe stays small as it is right at the front. The flowers were a lovely surprise.

  5. Beautiful pictures and interesting post. I’m impressed by your flowers, especially those splended rhododendrons! I can’t help you with ID’s as well ((.

  6. Annette you have lots of lovely blooms, I do like the white tulips and the dark red/purple ones, the white rhododendron is beautiful,
    I was hoping someone would name your geum as I have the same, mine was given me by a gardening neighbour when I lived on Scalpay, Harris, I did a search and mine looks like it is G. Borisii, Frances

      • no Annette I’m not saying yours is G.Borisii, I said I have what looks like the same geum and I hoped someone would name it, thanks to Chloris for naming the geum, when I checked online it matches the geum I have but I can’t say if it matches yours, you will have to check that yourself, Frances

  7. Pingback: End of Month View: April | My Aberdeen Garden

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