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Diarmuid Gavin shares the best blooms and finest foliage for your May garden display

Watch your garden awaken in May as luxuriant lilacs, pretty peonies and fantastic ferns all spring to life

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Viburnum macrocephalum (Chinese snowball)

Viburnum macrocephalum (Chinese snowball)

Embothrium coccineum (Chilean firebush)

Embothrium coccineum (Chilean firebush)

Getty Images/imageBROKER RF

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Viburnum macrocephalum (Chinese snowball)

May is a wonderful time in the life of a garden. Sunshine and temperatures become more dependable with the passing of the cold frosts, and plants in the garden are at various stages of waking up, in full foliage or starting to blossom. Deciduous trees are producing fresh green leaves, and beech hedges turn from rusty brown to apple green. The gold rush of summer is yet to come but this time of year is full of promise.

Lilacs will be in bloom soon and are prized for their wonderful fragrance. There are many varieties available, from the unusual such as ‘Primrose’, which has elegant pale yellow flowers, and the lovely ‘Katherine Havemeyer’, with fragrant double lavender-blue flowers that complement the heart-shaped leaves perfectly. Lilacs can grow quite large but, for smaller plots, Syringa microphylla ‘Superba’ is a good compact choice. All will attract bees and butterflies to their delicious nectar.


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