May

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May

The month of May is the pleasant time; its face is beautiful; the blackbird sings his full song, the living wood is his holding, the cuckoos are singing and ever singing; there is a welcome before the brightness of the summer.

Lady Gregory of Coole
Meadow in May spring sunshine

May is the month of lime green leaves, the sweet smell of blossom, the busy buzz of bees and the promise of endless summer days. Mayflowers (Hawthorn or Whitethorn) provide clouds of white blossom. Cut grass floats on the air, punctuated by the sweet scent of flowers.

Notable dates in May

28th April – 3rd May – Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival (Virtual)

1st May – May Day

TBA – Machynlleth Comedy Festival

Cancelled – Downton Cuckoo fair Cancelled

TBA – Isle of Wight Walking Festival

Cancelled – Tour de Yorkshire Cancelled

7th May – Full Moon

3rd May –Early May bank holiday

Cancelled – RHS Malvern Spring Festival Cancelled

Cancelled – Urchfont Scarecrow Festival Cancelled

Moved to September – RHS Chelsea Flower Show

26th May – 6th June – Hay Festival of Literature and Arts

22nd May – New Moon

23rd May – Whitsuntide(Pentecost)

Postponed – North York Moors WalkFest

TBC 26th May – 29th May – Royal Bath and West Show TBC

29 -30 May – The Bath Festival

31st May – Spring bank holiday

31st May – Coopers Hill Cheese Rolling

May seasonal foods

What is seasonal in May.

Greens & leaves: Cabbage, Pak choi, Sorrel, Spinach, Spring greens, Radicchio, Watercress, Lettuce Lamb’s, lettuce, Chervil, Mint.

Roots and other veg: New potatoes, Potato, Onion, Spring onion, asparagus, Peas, Radish, Broad Beans.

Meat: Beef, Chicken, Pork, Lamb, Spring lamb.

Fruits: Rhubarb.

Seafood: Crab, Halibut, Salmon, Kipper, Mackerel, Tuna.

Exotics: Grapefruit, Pomegranate, Nectarine.

In nature

The best time of year.

For more inspiration see the Nature Blog

On the Farm

All lambs tailed, castrated, ear-notched and ear-tagged. Shear the long tails of the sheep to prevent fly strike i.e. flies laying their eggs in the wool and producing maggots that eat into the sheep.

Stock removed from silage fields and fertiliser is spread to allow six weeks growth before cutting. Clean out all livestock buildings.

Fencing and walling repairs.

Crops Fertilised. Spray potatoes, beets, peas, beans and cereals.

White meadow flower in May

Things to do in May

In the May garden

May is the last real month of sowing and planting. If there is showery weather things will grow with great speed, but a dry period can seriously vex the allotment holder. Get any remaining potatoes planted, sow for late drops of roots, and continue with salad leaves.

Gardening hints

May like April is a month of massive growth – and this includes weeds. It is time to use the hoe to tackle these: the best time to hoe is early morning on a dry day, as the sunshine will do most of the work for you. 10 minutes with the hoe can save hours of weeding later.

Out and about

Also see the Out and about Blogs

Late spring or early summer?

Bluebells carpet a beech wood

Recipe of the month.

Salmon fillet, minty new potatoes and peas.

A light, wholesome and filling dish, that is an ideal lunch on a fresh sunny May day.

Easy to prepare and full of seasonal goodness. Easily doubled up for guests, or halved for a tasty tea time treat.

Ingredients

  • 400g new potatoes
  • 8 asparagus spears, trimmed
  • 200g fresh broad beans
  • 200g fresh peas
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • Dash of oil
  • knob of butter
  • Mint

Equipment.

An oven cooking tray, two smallish pans. Potato masher.

Preparation

  • Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7.
  • Add a glut of oil to the oven dish and place in oven.
  • Clean the potatoes. If some are large, chop them to make approximately the same size as the smaller.
  • Prepare the asparagus. Just rinse and snap of the very base of the stem. This should occur naturally towards the bottom.
  • If using Peas and Beans fresh from the garden, shell into a container. If these are not available, do use frozen.
  • Clean the salmon and pat dry. Add a little salt and pepper if desired.
  • Half fill a kettle with water, boil.

Cooking

  • Place potatoes in a small pan with a generous quantity of mint and a little dash of salt. Almost cover with water, place lid on the pan. Bring to the boil, then cook on a – medium – low heat for 18 – 22 minutes.
  • Add asparagus to preheated pan from oven. Stir or toss to coat in named oil.
  • Move the asparagus to the sides of the oven dish, and place in salmon filets skin side down. Cook both for about 12 – 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon.
  • Add the Peas/beans to another small pan. Pour in boiling water to about twice the amount of veg. Get water bubbling and heat reasonably vigorously for 3 – 4 minutes. (If using Frozen, 3 – 4 mins after returning to the boil). We are looking to make them hot, not transform then into a soup. Larger or older broad beans may require more substantial cooking.
  • Drain potatoes, remove the mint. Return to the pan and gently crush and add a few small pieces of butter and allow to melt through.
  • Drain peas/beans. Return to the pan and gently crush: feel free to add a bit of butter here too. a couple of spoons of good mint sauce is a very tasty addition.
  • Plate the salmon and asparagus. Stir the potatoes (to distribute the butter) and serve. Do the same with the peas and beans. Enjoy.

For more inspiration see theĀ Food Blogs

Activities, things to see and do in May

The month of May can be spectacular and can feel like a real release from the cooler months. Two bank holidays can give it a particularly festive feel, combined with the ever-increasing abundance of blossom. May is known particularly for the May Flowers (Hawthorn) and Cherry blossom.

Thinking about getting out and about, then perhaps Buy OS Landranger maps direct from Ordnance Survey to discover new places or see the latest handheld GPS devices with bundled mapping from Ordnance Survey.

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May in pictures