In May enjoy the fragrance of lilacs in the Display Garden (Syringa vulgaris, S. x hyacinthiflora) early in the month. Later in May 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 Helen S. Layer Rhododendron Garden and the Eliot and Linda Paine Rhododendron Discovery Garden),enjoy the colorful blossoms of hardy rhododendrons and azaleas throughout May. Check out the fragrant large-leaved Rhododendron ‘Maud Corning’ on Beech Knoll and in the northwest section of Layer.
Flowering crabapples are in bloom early in the month in the gardens and north of the Warren H. Corning Visitor Center.
Hardy magnolia hybrids of our native cucumbertree magnolia (M. acuminata) and Asian magnolias bloom including Magnolia ‘Daybreak’ in the Conifer Collection and the Arthur S. Holden, Sr. Hedge Garden, Magnolia ‘Yellow Bird’ in the Display Garden, and in the Helen S. Layer Rhododendron Garden Magnolia ‘Yellow Lantern’ and ‘Butterflies’, which is also at Lantern Court, are in bloom early in the month.
See flowering dogwoods (Cornus florida), redbuds (Cercis canadensis), dwarf iris (Iris cristata), wild geranium (Geranium maculatum), columbine (Aquilegia), golden star (Chrysogonum virginianum), woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata), creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera) and lakeside daisies (Tetraneuris herbacea) 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.
Do not miss the tree peonies (P. suffruticosa) in the Display Garden and at Lantern Court where the Japanese primroses (Primula japonica) will be in full bloom in the valley garden.