As well as hinting at the warmth in store over summer, May also brings stunning flowering bulbs, from giants like nectaroscordum, to dainty dog’s tooth violets.
While May is the last month to enjoy tulips and dog’s tooth violets, nectaroscordum, camassia and bearded irises can be relied upon to amp up the spring-summer colour, with plenty of vivid shades to choose from.
Discover five of the best May-flowering bulbs, below.
Tulips are masters at providing a hit of spring colour. Try planting them to create stunning tulip combinations, or, if you have trouble with tulips, try growing tougher and more reliable species tulips.
Yellow tulips with long, pointed petals
These stately perennials produce tall stems topped by pretty, peach-coloured blooms. Nectaroscordum siculum and Nectaroscordum tripedale are two beautiful species you could grow.
A cluster of buds and opening peach flowers of nectaroscordum
Bearded irises are grown from rhizomes and are extremely robust plants, in a very unrestricted colour palette. Blooms range from the deepest purple, to warm, burnt oranges. Here are 10 bearded irises to grow.
An indigo and white bearded iris
Dog’s tooth violets
Dog’s tooth violets, or erythroniums, are ideal plants for damp shade. The species dog’s tooth violet, Erythronium dens-canis has nodding violet blooms, while those of ‘Citronella’ are a lovely warm yellow.
Pink dog’s tooth violets
These North American natives were originally grown as a food crop. The range of colours available is similar to that of agapanthus – from white to dark purple – and they look wonderful naturalised in wildflower meadows.
Light blue camassia flowers
Right plant, right place
When planting your May-flowering bulbs, consider their native habitat and aim to replicate these growing conditions. For example, tulips and bearded irises enjoy full sun and free-draining soil, while erythroniums like partial shade and rich, moist soil.