The roof terrace is a near riot of spotted colour. Tulips in intense shades of red, purples and orange bell open in the strong spring sun. The pheasant’s eye narcissi have inexplicably failed, but the new, tall, lemon-yellow style is happy and long-lasting. The stellata flowers, all fallen now, have been replaced with thrusting green leaf.
We have found a solution to the tyranny of the pink geranium. Unable to go to the garden centre, we have used them to restock the window boxes. They’ll be great from street height and bright and jolly through the window where the horse chestnut across the street is in candle. Vivid leaf hangs like empty parasols, maybe a month ahead of others.
Our lily of the valley is not far away. Groups of budded spikes are sticking inches above the soil. I will move the pot into semi-shade and will sit it on the table near the sliding bedroom door on occasional mornings. I am drawn to its shy, bell-shaped flower, and leaf. For Henri, it’s the old-school scent that conjures memories of her grandmother.
The geum branches are about to reach out; buds are already forming. Last year’s lavender is happy and healthy. When it gets too big we’ll shift it to join the others in Kala’s garden. We’ll wait patiently, meanwhile, for touring bumblebees.
The delicate blue geranium (‘Johnson’s Blue’ cranesbill, a favourite) is primed to flower through the summer. The three rooftop roses are raring to bloom, a race already won by the ‘Bengal Crimson’. Languid leaf and flower belying its energy. Dozens of buds already and more on the way.
We are both working from home so wander around in the morning, often finding new joys in the small space. We’ll maybe meet there for tea or a snatched lunch later in the day. Henri seeking sun, me seeking shade. So much to love about May.
Allan Jenkins’s Plot 29 (4th Estate, £9.99) is out now. Order it for £8.49 from guardianbookshop.com