At the Arboretum in May the lilacs in the Display Garden (Syringa vulgaris, S. x hyacinthiflora) will be finishing their bloom early, but you may then enjoy the fragrant dwarf Korean lilac (Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’) and other late blooming lilacs (S. pubescens, S. x josiflexa, S. josikaea, S. komarowii, S. x nanceana, S. tomentella, S. wolfii).
In the Rhododendron Gardens (Helen S. Layer and the newer Eliot and Linda Paine Rhododendron Discovery Garden) enjoy the colorful blossoms of hardy rhododendrons and azaleas throughout May.
Deer resistant May blooms include Baptisia (Baptisia australis, B. sphaerocarpa, B. alba & cultivars) will be flowering throughout the garden areas with Japanese iris (Iris ensata), tall bearded iris (Iris ‘Harvest of Memories’ and Iris ‘Immortality’) in the Display Garden, wild lupine (Lupinus perennis) in the Prairie Garden and the rock garden at Lantern Court. Persian onion (Allium aflatunense), star of Persia (Allium christophii), Allium ‘Globemaster’ and other flowering onions will be blooming in the Display Garden, Arlene and Arthur S. Holden Jr. Butterfly Garden, and at Lantern Court.
See the flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), columbine (Aquilegia), golden star (Chrysogonum virginianum), starry false Solomon’s seal (Maianthemum stellatum), crested iris (Iris cristata) in the Myrtle S. Holden Wildflower Garden. Check out the buckeyes and horsechestnuts (Aesculus) and especially the red buckeye (Aesculus pavia) by the Corning Visitor Center. See the tree peonies (P. x suffruticosa) in the Display Garden and at Lantern Court where the Japanese primroses (Primula japonica) will be in full bloom in the valley garden.
This year the herbaceous peonies should be in bloom by mid to late May in the Display Garden and at Lantern Court. Hardy geraniums (Geranium sanguineum, G. x cantabrigiense, G. ‘Rozanne’, G. ‘Tiny Monster’) will be blooming in the Display Garden and at Lantern Court. Check out the hardy ground orchid (Bletilla striata) in the Display Garden and by the Corning Visitor Center.
Look for the burgundy blooms of sweetshrub (Calycanthus x raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’) adjacent to the Holden Hedge Collection and by the north edge of the Wildflower Garden throughout the month and also in June.
Late in May enjoy the fleecy flowers of white fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus) in the Holden Wildflower Garden, and at Lantern Court. The Oriental fringetree (Chionanthus retusus) is at Lantern Court, the Display Garden, and on Beech Knoll of the Layer Rhododendron Garden. The fragrant blooms of Sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana) perfume the air by Blueberry Pond, in the Rhododendron Garden and the north side of Corning Lake.