What to look out for in May

Outdoor Gardens

May is one of the finest months of the garden year, when cool misty mornings are gently burned away by the warm spring sunshine, and afternoon breezes dispatch the last vestiges of winter. All things seem possible in the garden this month, and here at Eden, the beds and borders are bursting into life with spring flowers. Aquilegias are appearing in the blue border, along with drifts of Campanula, Digitalis, Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ and Anemone coronaria. Look out for Geranium ‘Brookside’ and Tradescantia ‘Isis’ – and don’t miss the array of flowering fruit trees and shrubs throughout the gardens.

Rainforest Biome

In the humid atmosphere of Malaysia, just by the home garden, Thunbergia mysorensis is still working its magic, but the stars of the show this month are undoubtedly the titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) – not just one this year, but so far three giants of the plant world that always grab the headlines when they flower.

Mediterranean Biome

May is the month when California really comes into its own with stunners like Carpenteria, California buckeye and Californian wildflowers in full bloom. The Roman garden is back by popular demand, and you can once again step back in time 2,000 years and learn the secrets of a Roman vegetable garden. Mixed, informal beds spill over with an array of plants used for food, medicines, dyes, perfumes and for religious shrines and ceremonies. On the opposite side of the path you will find a new display of Anigozanthos, the Australian ‘kangaroo paw’. These unusual flowers are becoming popular in British gardens. 

Outer estate

Take a little time out this month to explore the many pleasures of Eden's outer estate, where the evocative scents of blackthorn and hawthorn hang in the air. In Wild Chile, Berberis darwinii is ‘on fire’ with orange blooms, and new life is bursting forth all around you.

Summer plant highlights

Outdoor Gardens

The gardens in high summer are inspirational, uplifting and simply gorgeous.

In July, discover the fascinating history of that English country garden favourite, the deliciously scented sweet pea – a timeline planting, beginning with the earliest cultivars from the nineteenth century, up to the present day.

Throughout August, when dinosaurs stalk the landscape, head up to the flowerless garden, for an insight into what the earth looked like in Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. You will find luxuriant ferns, tree ferns and a host of flowerless plants.

In September, the crop gardens are at their productive best, and along with the usual favourites you will find some new additions, like the hardy kiwi, Actinidia arguta ‘Issai’, the ivy gourd and the horned melon. Also look out for the wonderberry, but be warned – the fruits are poisonous until ripe! 

Rainforest Biome

Native to Malaysia and Australasia, the beautiful torch ginger lights up the rainforest in July, and thrives in the hot, humid conditions of the rainforest. The flowers can be eaten and have an exotic, floral yet piquant flavour.

In August, check out the bananas and other tropical crops. The purple-fruited ‘Red Dakka’, is just one of our stunning varieties of banana. 

September sees the biome blooming with exotic hibiscus flowers, along with a succession of other stunners – blue ginger and heliconia.  

Mediterranean Biome

A host of Australian annuals greet visitors to the biome in July, providing a wonderful tapestry of colours and textures – look out for Rhodanthe, Schoenia and Waitzia. 

In August we are being treated to a mouth-watering display of tomatoes, featuring some unusual varieties like Apricot Dream and Indigo Rose. Our newly designed perfume exhibit, based on a Moorish courtyard garden, is now overflowing with a wonderful array of aromatic plants, including gardenias, patchouli and bergamot. 

Feel the heat in September, provided by a spicy crop of red hot chilli peppers, in myriad colours, shapes and flavours – you won’t find many of these in your local supermarket!