End of Month View: Enchanted April

April began with a chilly and rainy Easter, saw high-20-degree summer temperatures mid-month with glorious, long sunny days and is ending as it began – chilly and rainy (boo). The dramatic rise in temperatures and sunshine that we had for a week or so boosted flowering (and the weeds) and it feels as though everything has rushed to catch up, flowering-wise. There are bluebells at the bottom of the garden and some of my long-awaited, much-loved tulips are already past their best with others just reaching their peak. Today’s heavy rain with more forecast for tomorrow may well finish them off so I’ve picked a load to bring inside to enjoy a little longer.

As well as tulips, the highlight of April has been the forget-me-nots. There were none in this garden when we moved here but my mother-in-law brought a few plants with her from her garden a couple of years ago and they have made themselves very much at home. I absolutely love them – the tiny blue flowers with yellow centres, their delicate but robust nature and the fact that they spread about the place without any help. The trick is to recognise their leaves and not weed them out (unless you want to, of course!).

All our Narcissi have either finished flowering or have been munched by slugs and snails. The ones in the front (sea-facing) garden fared much better this year than those in the back garden where we are overrun by garden molluscs. Sadly, the wonderful display of N. ‘Actaea’ we had last year wasn’t to be repeated, despite planting more bulbs in the winter. The slimy critters didn’t even wait for many of them to flower, they munched the flower buds right off! Grrr. We have frogs and toads (I disturbed a huge one yesterday when I was weeding), and there are definitely thrushes and blackbirds around, but they don’t seem to be eating enough to control the levels. So, the time has come to unleash the nematodes. With one of the best names ever, Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita, is a parasite that kills slugs and snails without harming other creatures. You mix them with water, sprinkle onto your soil and let them get to work.

Elsewhere, the pear, cherry and greengage blossom is starting to go over but the apple blossom (my favourite) is starting to appear. There are deep-pink buds dotted all over the trees, their petals tightly bound together like miniature pink sprouts. I love how these unfurl, releasing their delicate scent and clothing the trees in beautiful flowers – expect lots of photos!

All the grasses we’ve planted in the sea-facing side of the garden over the last couple of years – Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’, Miscanthus ‘can’t remember’ and Stipa tennuisima – are all going great guns and bulking up, adding interest, structure and rhythm to the planting. I’m really chuffed with how well the tulips work with the grasses and I’m looking forward to seeing how the perennials here (Linaria, Campanula, Scabious, Eryngium etc) do this year. I intend to plant some more brightly coloured perennials to create a longer-lasting tapestry of colour, form and texture. There will also be annuals – sweet peas and cosmos at least – to add to the mix.

Soon the lilac tree will put on its fleeting, beautiful and deliciously-scented show and there will be aquilegias dotted all over the place – these are already sending up their flower buds – and I’ll be pleased I didn’t dig them out. Nigella foliage is everywhere (but it’s easy to pull it out where it’s not wanted), with flower buds starting to appear, and tidy mounds of geraniums are getting ready to flower. And, if I get a move on with the Phasmarhabditis, hopefully more alliums will make it through to flowering this year.

Here are rather a lot of photos of the garden at the end of April. You might like to make a cup of tea…

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Tulips. I’m making notes of ones to plant for next year – I’d like to add some dusky pinky ones like ‘Belle Epoque’ and ‘Apricot Impression’ for a start…

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David has been planting Luzula nivea (Snowy woodrush) – a lovely grass for dry shade – to the right of the path. The lilac (top right of pic) is covered with buds.
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A row of Euphorbia oblongata (to the mid-right of the pic), Nigella, daffs that flowered and were promptly shredded by slugs and snails, rhubarb growing well and weeds…
New growth on the lavender hedge (plus rogue strappy leaves which could be gladioli or crocosmia).
The steps after the Erigeron was cut back quite  hard.
Looking down, to the left of the steps, with weed clearing and mulching the young fruit trees in progress.
Baby gooseberries!
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Looking down to the right of the steps (with trashed trampoline – the winter storms wrecked it; its days are numbered).
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Himalayan birch whip with fresh leaves and a flower.
Bluebells and builder’s sack (full of perennial weeds).
Cassie the wonder-dog keeping an eye on David who had treats!
Iris in the bluebells

New flag iris leaves in the pond

Erigeron recovering after its short back and sides last week.

 

EOMV (End of Month View) is hosted by Helen, The Patient Gardener.

19 thoughts on “End of Month View: Enchanted April

  1. I loved my walk round your garden at the end of April Sam It really is looking rather lovely and who wants a tidy finished garden – not me! I used my allotment wheelbarrow (said goodbye to my plot yesterday) to cart weeds to my new compost heap today. We moved to our new house and garden on the 18th and enjoyed five glorious days before the chilly rain came back. I’ve had a few wobbly moments but I am starting to feel at home. After 26 years in the same house it was so important to me to move on and gain more space both inside and out. We marked today by planting a magnolia stellata on the woodland edge and surrounding it with snowdrops from the old garden. We will not mention the brambles, the docks, the ground elder, the the thick mat of weeds that carpet the pergola borders .. everything in the garden is rosy!

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    1. How wonderful to have a new house and garden again to put your stamp on. Gardens are ever evolving and never ‘finished’ in my opinion! Wishing you many happy years in your new home. I’d love to see the garden if you ever feel like posting a few pics… S x

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  2. Lovely to see pictures of Cassie. Everything is looking green and lush with you, and you have some gorgeous tulips. That dark red one is fantastic. I am envying you your rhubarb. No allotment equals no rhubarb for me. My pond iris is in rather a sorry way this year. It was huge, so I took it out and just replanted a couple of bits. Bertie took a great liking to it and pulled them out about a hundred times. They have drifted along to the wrong end of the pond and are looking very sorry for themselves now. In fact the whole pond is covered in duckweed which is a real pain. I wish I had lifted the top layer off when it was frozen – it occurred to me that that would be great way of disposing of most of it. I think that ship has sailed for now though. Must remember to do it next year. CJ xx

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  3. It’s lovely to see some different views of your garden Sam. I suspect that big wall (with the greenhouse) helps shelter your garden a lot, trapping warmth. Love that stray iris in the bluebells, and the grasses really do look good with the tulips. 🙂

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  4. Hey Sam,
    Your garden is so lovely. All those different elements. I’m very bad at achieving a continuous show of colour throughout the year. My daffs and narcissi got eaten too, and lots of tulips failed to reappear. But my aliums have thrived, as have geraniums, anemones and the seeds I scattered with gay abandon.
    Olly would l

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  5. Lovely garden – I did enjoy this post, I love forget me nots such a bright splash of colour early on. I am struck by how large your garden looks. One thing re your title – have you seen the movie Enchanted April? It is a wonderful movie if you ever get the chance. Jean/Winnipeg

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    1. I hope that once we get the slug/snail issue under control that more alliums will make it to flowering. Small snails like to climb up A.sphaerocephalon stems, especially, and nibble right through, toppling the flowerheads – it makes me furious!!

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  6. It’s all truly wonderful – the tulips, the forget-me-not, the bluebells and iris. Forget-me-nots don’t stick around in our garden – we use Brunnera which has a very similar flower. As for garden mollusks, at first I thought you were referring to some new garden horror but then I realized you were talking about snails. Right?

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  7. I am so enjoying your EOMV posts when you show whole garden, Sam – it really helps to put other posts in perspective seing the different areas. You don’t fancy doing a little map sometime…? Intriguing to hear about the slugs and snails on your alliums – they must have different tastes in your neck of the weeds!

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