May sucked but look at those poppies

Let me be honest here: May sucked.

Not Theresa (though my British friends tell me she sucked too). Just the weather. May in Denmark usually has two or three weeks of gloriously hot sunshine during which everything explodes out of the ground in a cornucupia of scent and colour.

Not so this year. It’s been mostly cloudy and rainy. But in between the rain there’s been a few days where the sun came out (and even two that had summer-like temperatures). I managed to grab a few good shots in the garden and elsewhere, without getting drenched.

Without further ado, the pictures of May (such as May was).

The garden

Most of our garden is bee and small animal friendly but that doesn’t mean we don’t have beautiful colours.

Poppies in the front yard
I am in love with the colours of our poppies. Sure, they’re nothing special. Just poppies. But have you looked at that intense flame?
Sage and mint in a blue pot
For a beautiful blue stained cheramic pot, we need something blue. Decorative sage coupled with good old mint will provide aromatherapy all summer—provided that summer ever happens.
Rhododendrons and tulips
Find the pink tulips in a sea of pink rhododendrons.
Early tulips
The first tulips competing with the first bluebells, before the rhododendrons came into bloom.
Bluebells
Okay, now everything is in bloom.
Bluebells
I love the intense blue of the bluebells. Scillas. Spanish boys. Whatever you prefer to call them.
Sage and mint
A close-up of that decorative sage. It smells as good as its colour is intense.
Dandelions
Well. Yeah. It wouldn’t be our garden if there were no dandelions. Dandelions are allowed in our lawn.
the old man on the lawn
The old man prefers to lie in the shade these days. I’ve been trying to get a good picture of him for a long time, and this one does capture his contemplative old man attitude.

Skærup Zoo

There were two warm days, and we made them to the zoo in one. Out of about 1200 pictures a few were worth sharing (I’m still learning this camera).

painted squirrel is curious
This little squirrel was the embodiment of curious. I bet he wishes he had a camera to take pictures of me too.
very curious squirrel
No, really.
meerkats
Meerkats do the meerkat thing.
kookaburra
This kookaburra has the perfect expression. I absolutely loved his go-away face. Do not disturb the kookaburra in the sun.
goose
Don’t wake up the goose half of the geese-and-old-farm-implements exhibition, either.
curious george
Curious George is alive and well.
the best employee
This one was my favourite animal though. A park employee turned up early for lunch and took a nap in the sun. Later, he raided every other employee’s lunchpack, then went back to sleep. Talk about having it made.

New toys are great!

Getting to know my new camera is great fun! Here’s my best first shots.

Startled kitty is startled! Piv is not convinced that the camera lens can be trusted..
Startled kitty is startled! Piv is not convinced that the camera lens can be trusted..
Miv posing like a pro.
Miv posing like a pro.
I'm still not trusting that, says Piv.
I’m still not trusting that, says Piv.
The colours go boom boom boom!
There are surprising amounts of water in Spang Å at this time of year. Technically, the river is the part inside the fences. The rest is dry pasture. Technically.
There are surprising amounts of water in Spang Å at this time of year. Technically, the river is the part inside the fences. The rest is dry pasture. Technically.
This one is the favourite of the day. I do love my blue glass bottles so when they catch the sunlight.
This one is the favourite of the day. I do love my blue glass bottles so when they catch the sunlight.
Begonias like flowers on fire, with blue glass in the background. Fantastic colours!
Begonias like flowers on fire, with blue glass in the background. Fantastic colours!
Just, wow.
Just, wow.
Sharpness on tiny details? Check.
Sharpness on tiny details? Check.
So... very... sharp.
So… very… sharp.
The resident swans decided to check out what I was doing.
The resident swans decided to check out what I was doing.

All photos © 2019 Birgitte Heuschkel.

Summer’s Beautiful Though

Summer is being rough on me this year. The heatwave that began in May shows no sign of letting go anytime soon. Everything is bone dry and the air is full of dust. The heat is not doing my fibromyalgia any favours. But one thing can be said for this very atypical hot Danish summer: It’s beautiful. I’ve spent more time in my garden this summer than in the twenty years previous at the old house.

I planted wildflower seeds in a big pot on the terrace in order to feed my never-ending love for cornflowers. The outcome is a little weird. There’s all sorts of other flowers in there too, but it’s the pink cornflower that baffles me. I had no idea cornflowers could be pink. Cornflowers range from white over pale blue to dark cobalt blue. Maybe this one’s just colour blind.

Wildflowers in the yard. Notice that pink cornflower? I had no idea cornflowers could be pink. Maybe it's just colourblind.

We live close to the river so there is a lot of wetlands wildlife in the area. We see toads all the time, and salamanders are fairly common too. But the ones we usually see are smooth newts, by far the most common in Denmark; this big fella is northern crested newt which is a rare and protected species here.

No one who knows my husband will be surprised to hear that we now have salamander-friendly patches and watering holes under the rhododendrons. I’m hoping to meet adders out there too. The neighbour claims to see adders in his garden all the time. I love them.

I can spend hours just looking at the wildflowers. I have no idea what those pink ones between the morning glories and cornflowers are, but they are absolutely gorgeous. The husband built bee hotels in the yard and now that everything is so dry and dead, the wild bees are here in droves to check out those wildflowers.

It’s so dry here now that when we go to the barn and water the horses in the pasture, wasps turn up in droves to drink. Look at the soil; there’s no moisture in the earth anywhere. We’ve had the hottest May on record ever, June and July have not let us off the hook. It’s pretty, but I will admit, it’s taking its toll on people and animals alike.

There’s only one family member who absolutely loves the dry dusty heat. It’s great for certain purposes!

Beautiful May

Rock art

No time of year is more beautiful than May. No joy is greater than the first May in a new house, watching the flowerbeds and wondering what’s going to turn out to be in them. So far I am not disappointed. It’s picture day!

Dandelions under the cherry tree

No flower is closer to my heart than the humble dandelion. Together with the tiny white daisies they sum up everything I love about May. The sunshine, the freshness, the cool nights and hot days, the beginning of a new year. The earth awakens, explosively.

Those chilly May nights that soon enough become warm. They tend to be starry and clear blue, and my camera is not at all sophisticated enough to properly capture those colours.

And speaking of colours. Turns out we have a large rhododendron patch and not two shrubs are the same colour. Every shade from bright white over hot pink to blood red is represented. My favourites are the small purples and the large crimsons.

They’re there, the small purples.

Out in front we have poppies. Gazillion of poppies. They’re large and bright red and contrast gorgeously with the bright blue scillas.

And of course there’s a corner for self-planted more or less wild flowers as well.

But the strangest flower of them all is the hairy lawnflower.