Sunday, May 23, 2010

Merry month of May

There are twelve months in all the year,
As I hear many men say,
But the merriest month in all the year
Is the merry month of May.
(Oxford Book of Ballads)

We are certainly enjoying some perfect May weather with the temperature in the shadiest part of the garden reaching 27C(81F). It is so nice to be able to eat in the garden, starting with an early breakfast while watching the blackbirds zooming in and out of the garage with breakfast for their noisy babies. I managed to get this shot of one little open beak but Mr Blackbird soon hustled me out:
 We think there are four little ones in there but it is difficult to get a good look.

Whether it's Shakespeare or H.E Bates, I can't help thinking of the darling buds of May as I look around the garden. My brother has asked me to refrain from posting lots of photos as they take too long to download, so I'll restrict myself to this peony:
"perfick" as Pop Larkin might say.

At lunchtime we watched the blackbirds still zooming around gathering food for their little ones while we ate some gorgeous local asparagus with hollandaise sauce accompanied by a perfectly chilled Chablis.  I wish Mr Blackbird could have joined us but his only rest is a brief time perching on the lilac outside the garage, ensuring that no-one is following him into the nursery.
The garden ought to be declared a hard hat area as the birds skim our heads at high speed. I know that parenting is hard work but I don't think I was ever so busy as these blackbirds. 

I'm heading back for the garden now: my husband has fired up the barbecue and he is cooking supper. Perfick!


  1. That's a lovely post M. Thanks! I have a pair of blackbirds who have not nested but do forage in my garden. I feel so sorry for them having to work so hard and provide a little help in the form of RSPB-recommended dried mealy worms. Last year they seems to be particularly welcome when the ground was very dry and hard and the fat well-fed babies were nagging their parents, worn to a frazzle, for food, food, more food!! My reward is glorious cascades of blackbird song each morning and evening.

  2. Crinny
    It is now after 9pm and the birds are still foraging. I hope it gets dark soon so that they can all get some sleep. We've been enjoying the birdsong, too. Thanks for the tip about the meakly worms, I'll see if our pet shop has some and maybe the poor parents won't have to fly so far.

  3. Pictures of your garden are well worth the wait. White lilac -- how decadent!

    I see your ad for a resident cook produced a candidate. Nice work.

  4. e
    I love the white lilac. It has a fluorescent quality that is amazing to see at night.

    The resident cook is a strictly outdoor worker!

  5. Shows how far ahead you are down south, Maureen. My peonies haven't opened yet, though the wonderful weather this weekend will have helped. It's hard to get the shots of the nests, whilst trying not to disturb the birds.

  6. Rattling On
    My garden is very confused because of the extremes of weather we've been having. The apple blossom was early but only lasted a week so I don't think we'll have any fruit this year. The peonies are almost finished and the strawberries are about ready to pick. I never know what I'll find when I go out there.
    I would love to have a pond like yours. I'm trying to convince my husband that he would love to dig a big hole!

  7. Lovely photos. My standard peonies are not out yet, just the tree variety which is hard to photograph as the flowers hide beneath the leaves.
    Very hot here in Hampshire too, all of a sudden.
    Erp, why is white lilac decadent?!

  8. Susie
    We are in a very sheltered position, three miles in from the coast so we avoid the cold winds but benefit from the warmer air. Of course having flowered earlier, our gardens fade early too. Mine is at its best in May and June.

    I wonder if erp is referring to the dizzying scent of the lilac? My white lilac has an almost overpowering scent but the purple one has none. I'm sure the lilac in Strindberg's 'Miss Julie' must have been white.

  9. Joyce Grenfell when asked what she would most miss were she to leave England for ever, said 'In spring, the smell of white lilac blossom after a shower'.
    You can get the mealy worms in 'Homebase'. I find the birds can carry them better if they have been soaked as directed on the container.

  10. Thanks, Crinny. I'll get some.

  11. What lovely pictures,my garden is still very green at the moment.I think i need a trip to B n Q to get a bit of colour.The only problem is stopping the rabbit eating everything!

  12. M and M
    I don't have a rabbit but hundreds of snails. I wouldn't dare show close-up pictures of the leaves!

  13. A sweet post, Maureen! The little blackbird looks very hungry. No wonder Daddy Bird is so grumpy- he has to hunt to feed those voracious eaters!
    Your peony is lovely. Mine have just gone past but I did clip some to set by the kitchen window. The smell is heavenly! A little ring of coarse sand around your plants will help keep the snails down. That, or a small saucer of beer. I use that for slugs but it might work for snails as well. CLeaning out the dead bodies is pretty disgusting though. :(

  14. Susie, it's just poetic license. Lilacs are gorgeous and smell divine, but are plentiful and ordinary, while white ones are rather rare and their bouquet so fabulous, it can be almost overwhelming.

  15. Karin
    I'll try the coarse sand for the snails. I think setting saucers of beer all around the garden would be difficult - or would they all head for just one, like football players to the bar?

  16. We say 'perfick' all the time!!! I love the book, and I loved the tv version. I'm not sure what your brother means by 'taking too long to download.' Does he mean just his computer? Does he have a slow connection? They download just fine and immediately on mine, and I don't even have the highest speed internet.

  17. Nan
    I'm glad to know that I haven't been annoying everyone with slow download. My brother is visiting UK so is using an ordinary phone line and not broadband, I think.

    I loved the tv version of The Darling Buds of May, too. In fact I'm watching it again at present on satellite.

  18. I have a friend who moved here from England. She told me that it's the sound of blackbirds singing that she misses most of all. They must sound lovely.

  19. Jodi
    The blackbird only sings at this time of year so it really is a joyful sound, bound up with the coming summer. Here's a verse about it by William Henley:
    The nightingale has a lyre of gold,
    The lark's is a clarion call,
    And the blackbird plays but a boxwood flute,
    But I love him best of all.

    For his song is all of the joy of life,
    And we in the mad, spring weather,
    We two have listened till he sang
    Our hearts and lips together.

  20. O Maureen, thank you so much. The verse is gorgeous. I'm going to copy it out.

    P.S. Will send the pasta recipe soon.

  21. Strawberries from your own garden. I am so envious.
    And just because your brother has a measly connection, I don't think it's fair that the rest of us should be deprived. More pictures of your garden, please!

  22. bruessel
    The strawberries are coming along nicely. I just hope I can get to them before birds do. Now that I know that the slow download isn't affecting everyone I shall post some more pictures!

  23. I enjoy the photos - as well as the text - and they come in easily for me. The phone connection will be your brother's problem I'm sure. Catch up, catch up J!! :)


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