10 May 2013

Ne'er cast a clout...

The expression 'ne'er cast a clout 'til May be out' is well known and often repeated at this time of year. Most of us take it as a warning not to be too keen to put away our warm clothes (clouts) until the end of May when summer is definitely here. There is another theory that the 'May' refers not to the month but to the blossom of the Hawthorn tree, known as May blossom. So to put it another way, 'don't go out without a jacket until the hawthorn is flowering'! The hawthorn isn't flowering here yet so I'm keeping my jacket handy.

May blossom (not this year)!

It was the Sawrey May Queen festivities this weekend when the new 'Queen of the May' and the retiring queen ride in a horse drawn carriage between the villages of Near and Far Sawrey. The rest of the village children ride in a trailer pulled by a vintage tractor while the parents and others walk behind. The village hall in Far Sawrey then plays host to a brief play featuring St. George (hurrah) and the dragon (boooo), maypole dancing and the crowning of the new queen. Inside the hall there is a cake stall, plant sales, a tombola, cream teas and a raffle. A good time is had by all.

My job for the last few years has been to decorate the trailer with flowers. This year with spring being late and the festivities a little earlier than usual there weren't a great deal to choose from. Fortunately the daffodils were still flowering,  so I begged, borrowed and stole flowers from various gardens in the area! I think it turned out ok in the end.

Spot the dragon!

Meanwhile at Hill Top, the garden seems to have gone into overdrive in the last couple of weeks especially the rhubarb which I swear if you stand still you can actually see growing. It's producing a load of flower spikes which look very spectacular but need to be cut off to concentrate the growth into the leaves. It's doing so well, I might even be persuaded to give some to the house staff!

 There's lots of seed sowing to be done in the veg garden in the next few weeks, runner beans, peas, carrots etc etc all need to be sown but it still feels too early to put out any tender plants so my courgettes will stay in the greenhouse for a while yet, at least until the May blossom is out!

Words and pictures by Pete the Gardener