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

29th April – 4th May – Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival

1st May – May Day

1st – 3rd May – Machynlleth Comedy Festival

2nd May – Downton Cuckoo fair

2nd – 17th May – Isle of Wight Walking Festival

3rd May – Tour de Yorkshire

7th May – Full Moon

7th – 10 May – RHS Malvern Spring Festival

8th May –
Early May bank holiday (VE day)

8th – 10th May – Urchfont Scarecrow Festival

8th – 10th May – Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza

15th – 24th May – The Bath Festival

19th – 23rd May – RHS Chelsea Flower Show

21st – 31st May – Hay Festival of Literature and Arts

22nd May – New Moon

24th – 27th May – North York Moors WalkFest 2020

25th May – Spring bank holiday

25th May – Coopers Hill Cheese Rolling

27th May – 2nd June – Denbighshire Urdd Eisteddfod

28th – 30th May – Royal Bath and West Show

30th May – Round the Island Race

31st May – Whitsuntide(Pentecost)

May seasonal foods

What is seasonal in May.

If you would like a selection of Seasonal Organic produce, try Riverford veg, fruit and meat boxes

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

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On the Farm

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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

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.

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.

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May in pictures