Maybe it's a little later to flower this year - but the may is heavy in blossom now: More than last year, thinks Chris who's garden I photographed this scene from this morning. Farm hedges like this one are a bit of a rarity these days and certainly won't have been 'layed' for many years. A classified Unwanted Organism in New Zealand, hawthorn, quickthorn or may thrives in Canterbury conditions - heavy soils, strong winds, and extremes of temperature and weather. In a world where species are disappearing unpredictably due to climate change it's worth questioning our attitude to so-called weeds.
Here remnants of the hedge enclose the garden and form a glorious setting for one of Chris's plantings.
I love the way that this arcade which Chris has built, echoes the curve of the downs rising from his courtyard in Sefton. The hedge appears to curve too. What a stunning borrowed view this is.
Back home this seedling, of a tamer garden variety of may, is flowering in a tub outside my kitchen window. With its prolific double pink blooms it has an eat-me allure about it!
And that brings me to a poignant memory of a day just over five years ago, when this paler seedling from the same parent, flowered for the first time. Elwin studied the few flowers and thinking of the place of Crataegus monogyna in herbal medicine tasted a flower of this species C. laevigata. He handed me one, sweet with nectar. I thought that it was a terribly romantic gesture: as it turned out it was one of his last.
Look how much like tiny roses the flowers are. I had thought this seedling - of the tree in the background - a bit underwhelming and lacking in vigour, but I planted it out of its tub this winter and it's growing on me.
Five years ago today Elwin's heart stopped and our May to September relationship was gone. He would love the show of may around the countryside this year.
May, hawthorn Crataegus monogyna
Pink may Crataegus laevigata 'Rosea flore pleno'