A profusion of colorful and fragrant May flowers signify the start of summer. Some of these flowers will still be in bloom for months to come, complementing the emerging summer perennials.

May Flowering Tree:

Laburnum x watereri ‘Vossii’ (voss’s laburnum) is a hardy, rapid growing tree and a must for any garden. The dark-green small oval leaves are attractive in their own right but it is the golden yellow flowers that hang in chains that make this tree a real show-stopper. The flowers are followed by seeds which are poisonous if ingested. The tree can be planted as a specimen tree or, like Wisteria, trained over walls or other garden structures.

magnolia trees - May Flowering Tree
magnolia trees – May Flowering Tree

May Flowering Shrub:

A small, quick growing evergreen shrub bearing a profusion of deep yellow flowers in May is Berberis darwinii (barberry). Its spiny, dark green leaves make it a useful addition to the garden as it is easy to grow and in autumn will often produce a second flush of flowers.

May Flowering Shrub
May Flowering Shrub

May Flowering Climbing Plant:

For a profusion of sweetly-scented flowers, Clematis Montana is perfect for covering walls, fences or other garden structures, either in full sun or partial shade. It is a vigorous climber, reaching heights of up to 7m and a width of 3m. Available in white – ‘Alba’ and ‘Grandiflora’- through various shades of pink to plum-pink in ‘Broughton Star.’ A star performer.

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If ‘Montana’ is too vigorous Clematis ‘Purple Spider’ might be another option. It flowers through April to June and sometimes again in August. Its deep purple spider-like flowers are followed by silky seedheads. Its height and spread of 4m x 1.5m make it compact enough for a container.

May Flowers:

Gaura is a lovely, graceful, delicate plant with flowers that will last throughout the summer. There are a few varieties and colors around but Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’ has wands of white flowers from May to September. The star-shaped flowers have long anthers, and the flowers fade to pink as they age. A beautiful, wispy plant that grows to around 75cm tall and 45cm across. The plant is not fully wintered hardy and may need some protection in freezing areas.

May flowers
May flowers

Although diminutive Convallaria majalis (Lily-of-the-valley) is ever popular. In moist conditions it will provide ample ground cover, quickly spreading to form a carpet of dark green leaves and bell-shaped white flowers. Try planting en masse, under deciduous shrubs on a pathway, to appreciate its fragrance.


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