May, the month of fresh, verdant greens, hedgerows of cowparsley and foxgloves, and in the garden the short-but-sweet season of the peony, is up there as a contender for my favourite month of the year.
The full list of what's included is as follows:
Peony, roses (large climber and smaller-flowered scrambler), aquilegia, foxgloves, sweet peas, pinky-white allium, white armeria, cow parsley, pittosporum, box, fern and grasses.
With this bouquet I wanted to reflect the freshness and the long, light days of this time of year.
The box foliage, not something I've ever worked with for such an arrangement, works really well to give structure around which to build the bouquet and is a good foil for the large blooms of the rose and the peony.
I love how the foxgloves curl over, giving shape and movement and a little bit of informality, which is picked up by the grasses.
The sweet peas are 'Mammoth', I sowed them in October and they are now already over 5 feet tall. The stems are the longest and straightest I've ever seen, although the blooms themselves don't seem any bigger.
Of course, one thing a photograph can't capture is scent. The sweetpeas are, of course, heavenly. When I cut my first three sweet peas of the year, a week or so before making this arrangement, I had them in a bud vase and carried them around the house with me to sniff at regular intervals and then place by my bed. More of a revelation to me is the stunningly sweet and quintessentially 'floral' smell of the peonies.
Turning to the nature in the garden, in particular the growing number of bees I've been managing to attract, the aquilegia and alliums, and even more so the foxgloves (the sound when the bee goes inside a foxglove trumpet and its buzzing is amplified tenfold always makes me chuckle), have provided some much-appreciated late spring nectar sources. This is a good contrast to the more complicated, blousy flowers of the peony, sweet pea and roses, which are more difficult for the likes of the bees to access.
If you're looking for a bouquet or arrangement for May, here's my guide to what seems to be in bloom for me at this time of year