YAWA: Your Events Guide for May

It might be the month of Maying (see last year's Muse Day for picture and poem/song), but it's also the month of Clematis in my view. Already I have vast swathes of Clematis montana clothing the fence and this pictured Clematis alpina 'Francis Rivis' is threatening to overwhelm the contorted hazel supporting it. Looking like that though, I can forgive it entirely. Elsewhere there are fat buds of other Clematis bursting forth everywhere - if our mix of fair weather and rain keeps up over the next week or so, I'm sure they'll be the main feature for May's Blooms Day.

Without further ado, here's May's events as assembled by the ever diligent You Ask, We Answer team:

1st: May Day - traditionally the day when Britain's men get out their handkerchiefs and sticks and wave them at each other in a spot of Morris Dancing. There's also very quaint dancing round the maypole and the Queen of the May is chosen in each village. Sadly not every village does this these days and if they do, it's quite often shifted to the first Monday of the month as this is the May Bank Holiday. The above link takes you to lots of information about our traditional May Day customs and the venues where they're still held and this link gives you an overview of all things associated with May.

3rd: International Dawn Chorus Day and International Worm Charming festival, Blackawton, Devon. How many worms can you get out of the ground without digging them up?

3rd-9th: Compost Awareness Week - this year's theme is Food for Thought. I might also have a guest post elsewhere in celebration, watch this space!

4th: The Great London Garden Trail - 10 great garden designs to have a gawp at to celebrate the launch of the RHS' Encyclopedia of Garden Design

7-10th: RHS Malvern Show - yippee I'll be there on the 8th!

13th-24th - National Be Nice to Nettles week [week? Shorely shome mishtake -Ed] - see my article from last year for more information about this much maligned weed

17-24th: National Watercress Week. Alresford in Hampshire is the venue for the Watercress Festival on the 17th. I've seen the watercress beds there - most impressive.

19 - 23rd: RHS Chelsea Flower Show - I'll be going there for the first time on the 19th :D

22-24th: Late May Bank Holiday weekend and also the Chippenham Folk Festival. Even more men waving hankies at each other than you can shake a stick at. My post from last year will give you a flavour of what's in store.

25th: Cheese Rolling, Cooper's Hill, Gloucestershire - lots of totally mad people chase Double Gloucester cheeses down a very steep hill each late May Bank Holiday Monday whilst trying not to fall over. The prize for the winners (who usually do fall over and roll down the hill head over heels)? The cheese they've been chasing. Thanks to Matron for reminding me - this is one of the most bizarre events that will make the events diary this year and was one of the main reasons I put the YAWA team on the case in the first place. And whilst we're at it, let's not forget the Woolsack races in nearby Tetbury either.

29th: Bluegrass legend Dr Ralph Stanley and his Clinch Mountain Boys are playing at Bath Festival and we have tickets!!!!!!!!!!

As ever, if you think I've left anything out, do get in touch. Have a great month everyone.


  1. I seem to remember 'The Archers' making a big deal of Nettle Day either last year or the year before - and having a nettle eating competition.

    PICTURES JUST PICTURESP.S. They are currently gearing up for Anthony Gormley's Fifth Plinth installation in Trafalgar Square - which doesn't even have planning permission yet! And I'm wondering whether, if The Archers get drawn in the ballot, whether the organisers will allow a fictional figure up there - even if the fictional character is a National Treasure type one, May-or-Not-May. L.

  2. I definately didn't know about Watercress week, love that idea and a salad I adore. Now where's my hankie to wave ...

  3. Harvested my first watercress crop the other day and made soup - maybe I should go to the watercress festival

  4. Lots, lots, lots going on in May here too, including a plant swap I host on the 16th. Feel free to drop by! ;-)

  5. I would love to be in England on May Day to see the Morris dancers & a May pole. It's got to beat being in Italy on May Day, where all the public transportation shuts down. (I've spent 2 of them there.)
    I'm looking forward to your May Bloom Day post, being the Clematis fan that I am. Some of mine are forming buds now, but I doubt any will be in bloom for the 15th.

  6. Looking forward to meeting you at Malvern in the very merry month of May :)

  7. Lovely Clematis isn't it exciting watching the buds fatten up.

  8. What a wonderful time to be English! Cheese rolling, Morris Dancing, Bog Snorkelling and Worm Charming! Have a great Bank Holiday!

  9. Oh Pooh! I'm there on 9th - we could have had a cuppa. F x

  10. If I'm lucky I'll be at Malvern on the 7th. so sadly won't see you then. I'm at Chelsea all week so do drop in. And we are going to Hampton Court - I've forgotten the date already but it is the Tuesday.

    Nettle day in our neck of the woods is when we try to prevent them running under the fence into the veg garden. Folk say to me "but you mustn't dig out the nettles. think of the butterflies". I do think of the butterflies and there are plenty (!) of nettles left. But I do have to ask, who would really like a 6 foot nettle 'hedge' entangled with the red, black and white currants?

  11. I love your clematis. I must stop being nervous about the number of things that don't grow here and get one. It is just perfect.

  12. That is a gorgeous clematis...Clemies say English garden to me. But I try to grow them anyway, in fact last fall i planted 8 different ones I found on sale. Today, since I am commenting a day late...is the beginning of a big open house at one of the native plant nurseries. Instead our garden flowers are being pummeled with heavy rain that sounds suspiciously like hail is falling on it! Yes, it's hail. Oh, joy!

    Have a delicious weekend!


  13. Lucy - nettle eating competition? I hope they cooked them first! One of my aunt's lives in the village that The Archers is said to be based on. Certainly some of the things she's been involved with on The Parish Council have got on there from time to time.

    Hermes - I'm hoping the lure of The Watercress Line steam train will help to persuade NAH we need to go to the festival ;)

    PG - did you get a good crop? I tried it a few years ago but the results were disappointing.

    Monica - ooooooh plants and swapsies - if only I could drop by!

    MMD - I'm hoping the current weather we're having persists and then I should have a good show for Blooms Day. Fingers crossed.

    Anna - I'm looking forward to it too! :D

    Joanne - the anticipation's great isn't it? I've been counting mine. 'Guersey Cream's just coming into flower as of this morning.

    Matron - good grief I forgot the cheese rolling and that was one of the reasons why I started this diary! Thank you and I've updated the diary :)

    Frankie - I'm singing at Stourhead on Saturday, hence the Friday visit. Perhaps we can have that cuppa at the Autumn Show instead?

    Dawn - you'd be amazed who is unaware. Or who thinks it stops with peat based products.

    Maggi - I think you're most wise and Ken Thompson did some research and showed garden based nettles don't necessarily attract the butterflies anyway! It's all outlined in his book 'No More Nettles' - it's a great read - at last someone who can convey scientific research in an understandable and interesting way.

    Elizabethm - it's lovely and very prolific, so I think it would be worth having a go in Wales :)

    Gail - I'm glad you like Clematis too - I'm sure you'll be letting us know how you get on with your 8. When I go to Malvern, there'll be all sorts of special offers on these that I'll have to resist :)


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