My garden in April

Good things mid April 137The garden in April demanded – lots of work! But I’m away from it at the moment, with time to flick through the pictures I took of the tulips. It seemed a shame to let them (and other small garden changes) go uncelebrated. I’m too late to join in with Helen’s end of month meme at the Patient Gardener – but here you go anyway. The star of the tulip show was definitely ‘Sweet Impression’ (above and below). It was the only tulip I planted in quantity last autumn and went into one end of the Rose Walk. I enjoyed it from the moment it pushed its white-edged leaves through the soil. A tinge of green-brown on the buds and new flowers, a good shape, and then maturing to a stronger pink. I wish they weren’t just a memory now! Good things mid April 151 Good things mid April 344 The ‘China Pink’ tulips (below) that are also planted with the roses in the Rose Walk have been far better than I expected (or deserved), given that I didn’t add to them this year. They are teamed with ‘Queen of the Night’, which is a bit slower to get going.Good things mid April 154 Good things mid April 334 Good things mid April 312The Rose Walk really started to fill out in April. A few tiny buds on the roses themselves, as well as clematis shooting strongly and the promise of May purple from chives and ornamental onions. My chives were planted as an edging because I wanted a fast effect (eventually I think I will put paving along the path). But the chives look great when the roses are in flower, which is the most important thing. And they are useful!

You can tell April was fairly dry because the silly gardener forgot to move the hosepipe before taking the picture! Good things mid April 310 Up on the highest terrace of our garden, which we call the Mirror Garden, my blue pots displayed the yellow tulip ‘West Point’ that I’d promised them for two years. Good things mid April 047Beautiful for the lily-flowered shape as much as the colour. It’s one of those flowers I can’t seem to stop taking pictures of, circling it endlessly with the camera to find just the right angle to show off those elegant, pointed petals. Almost nicer in bud than full bloom. There are already ‘West Points’ up here from last year in two little square beds at the end near the laurel hedge. They were slower to flower than those in the pots. Good things mid April 040 Good things mid April 070                         Good things mid April 086 Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’ was smothered in juicy buds against the warmth of the tower wall on the terrace when I left home. Good things mid April 011 And I finally have the first wallflowers that I’ve managed to raise from seed in this garden. They took two years to flower, but I’ve enjoyed them so much I’m definitely sowing more for next spring. I like ‘Primrose Bedder’, but this flowerhead from ‘Persian Carpet Mix’ (below) was more photogenic. Good things mid April 063 April is euphorbia time for the Mirror Garden. Good things mid April 105Good things mid April 057 Good things mid April 114                       Good things mid April 131 On the way down from the Mirror Garden in April I stop to check on Iris pallida ‘Aureo Variegata’, planted in the Vine Garden. Finally it’s large enough that rolling cats and other marauding animals aren’t really much of a threat. Back down at the Long Border (which runs along below the Rose Walk), I can enjoy my neighbour’s fruit trees flowering against the backdrop of the valley. Good things mid April 319 And begin to imagine what my own four little Amelanchier lamarckii will look like when they are all growed up. Good things mid April 368

I wish that tulip ‘Attila’ would flower at the same time as Rose ‘Canary Bird’. Maybe next year?Good things mid April 234 I found tulip ‘Flaming Artist’, planted in November 2014, an anti-climax. Only a very few of the bulbs came up with flowers showing the traces of flame I was expecting – the picture below is of a green ‘disappointment’ (I love greeny tulips, but when you have your heart set on a bit of flame, well …) Good things mid April 199 They probably look better en masse. Here with Narcissus poeticus ‘Actaea’. Good things mid April 379 ‘Actaea’ and N. poeticus ‘Recurvus’ are bulbs I’ve a dream of naturalising in larger quantities down in the embryo orchard. Just love the poet’s narcissus – the scent and late flowers make it a ‘must-have’ as far as I’m concerned. Good things mid April 186 The final pictures are not of pretty ‘stuff’ – just hopeful things for the future. I have (more or less) finished for the time being in the Hornbeam Gardens. The shrubs are planted in the lower half (and the dock treated with glyphosate). In the top half (nearest the camera) I’ve planted Nick’s delphiniums (sad little sticks at present – hope the slugs don’t get them!) in a new delphinium and aster border. The sunflowers, cornflowers, larkspur, Callistephus, Ammi majus, etc. are sown in the cut flower area. Dahlias and gladioli are snugly in the ground, but not yet showing noses that would be potentially frosted. This is the first year (and there are still plenty of couch grass roots down there to eradicate), so I’m not holding out too much hope, but it is starting to look like a garden and can only get better. Good things mid April 203 Sweet peas are now in the ground and I even have some spinach and peas (this is a relatively cool area of the garden). Unfortunately my youngest cat is a bit of an attention seeker and since I spend so much time staring at the seedlings, this is also her favourite rolling ground. There are now string barriers over the rows! Good things mid April 297 I’m looking forward to getting home at the end of this week just in time to catch the bearded iris and my Rosa banksiae in full flood. Meanwhile, a parting blessing from one of my four Prunus ‘Tai-haku’, flowering so prettily in April. Good things mid April 269

27 thoughts on “My garden in April

    1. Cathy Post author

      Thanks Joanna. I love it dearly, but sometimes when I look at my pics I think it looks like a building site! (Which maybe it is … of the horticultural variety!)

      Reply
  1. Julie

    Cathy, your Spring tulips, especially Sweet Impression are lovely and your post reminds me how much I like the zingy foliage of Iris pallida ‘Aureo Variegata’. My favourite though is the mirror garden Euphorbias they are gorgeous against your lovely stone walls.

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      Thanks for a lovely comment – I am feeling rather guilty because I’m not visiting other people’s blogs at the moment, but will pop by you soon!

      Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      Yes – two words (West Point) – you would know from your neck of the woods! I thought wallflowers would not get through the winter here (you don’t really see them), but planted them in a ‘cosy’ spot.

      Reply
  2. Clare Hilgemann

    Dear Cathy,
    enjoyed reading your “Dreaming in Chatillon very much. The tulips were really splendid and I am so impressed with all your plans!

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      You are so right! There was a lot to do here, and when I reflect on what I have slowly done, mostly on my own, without machinery or assistance, on 1/2 acre in four years, I’m sort of proud! Nick is here in the summer and does some strimming/tidying of the endless rubbish – he’s a star – but mostly it’s me alone.

      Reply
  3. sophos

    Here’s another vote for Sweet Impression, especially at the dusky browny-pink early stage – exquisite! Since I don’t have a garden myself, I like the “not pretty” work in progress photos just as much, with their promise, mild sunshine and long spring shadows. If I ever upgrade to an allotment, I’m afraid you’ll be badgered with questions, but for now I’ll garden vicariously.

    S

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      So sweet! Actually, I feel the most excitement looking at those pictures too … it’s the most ‘normal’ part of the garden. When I’m down there I feel like I’m on dry land again. Not sure I’d be the right person to take advice from on the subject of veggie growing – I love it, but have to accept that I’m a less than successful beginner!

      Reply
  4. Amy

    It looks like you had a beautiful April despite the weather – your pictures of “Sweet Impressions” are thrilling… I’m always happy to look at other “young, but slightly older than mine” gardens as it is very rewarding to see them filling out so beautifully. I’m fascinated by your use of chives to line the roses; although I intend to start edging my beds with pavers soon, I think chives (or similar) would be wonderful poking up at the edges! And a last smile for N. p. recurvus, the most beautiful of narcissus… 🙂

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      Thanks Amy – yes, I think the chives are quite a useful edger – fast-growing, very cheap and very pretty when flowering if teamed up with the right plants (although the seedheads need snipping sharpish to stop them spreading). I love seeing other people’s gardens develop too. It’s so encouraging to see that most of us start from nothing and battle through problems (box blight/voles …) to a kind of success! (Even if it’s not the one we first imagined!)

      Reply
  5. Chloris

    What lovely things in your garden to enjoy in May. You must be proud of what you have achieved. I love West Point too and all the lily flowered tulips. I think you have been sent Tulip viridiflora ‘ Formosa’ rather than ‘ Artist’. This is always happening to me and it ruins the colour scemes I have planned.

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      Thanks Liz – just googled and I can see exactly what you mean! I had the bulbs from Peter Nyssen. Was quite satisfied with the order in 2013/14, this year these viridiflora tulips are not the only (slight) disappointment.

      Reply
  6. Julie

    I have really enjoyed looking round your developing garden and share your problems with docks and couch grass (as well as a host of other perennial weeds that plague my beds). The tulips are lovely and I have noted Sweet Impression for next year! It is so frustrating when bulb orders are not quite right – I have some pinks and reds flowering in what was planted as an all white border, but I guess it must be hard for the packers when all the bulbs look the same – perhaps surprising there are not more errors!

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      I can’t think why I didn’t reply to you before … saw another comment tonight (from a close friend) and realised I’d been remiss. But you are right. It’s annoying when we’ve ‘paid’ for a colour scheme we have in our heads, and the supplier doesn’t deliver. But their job is complicated. Incidentally, had the same problem with the root trainers for the sweet peas this year. All the plants are fine, doing well in spite of lack of rain. But the root-trainer plants are behind (just a bit). Sorry that I am not more rigorous in taking photos! I do it all on my own and find it hard to work in the garden and take the pictures/blog as well … next year, perhaps! Personally I think this ‘root-trainer’ stuff is all a ploy to get us ‘ignorant’ gardeners to spend more money! As for the docks and the couch …grrrrr…

      Reply
  7. rusty duck

    Hi Cathy, I’m hideously behind with blog reading as well, as you can tell. But your garden is looking lovely. I love Rosa lutea and keep getting tempted, just need to find a suitable place to put one. I have bought the narcissus though, also known as ‘Pheasant’s Eye’, the scent is glorious!

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      I can hardly even think about blogging at the moment Jessica! I love the rose as well – a great joy here. Take care and don’t work too hard!

      Reply
  8. Beatrix everett

    What Progress, what results! Beautiful photography! What incredible hard work!
    Looking forward to photos of canary bird!

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      Beatrix – thanks. Canary Bird didn’t do well this year (in spite of being surrounded by your hostas!). Flowered ok, but there was a bit of dieback that worried me. Will spend one more year in that spot – and then the world is his oyster down below/!

      Reply
  9. Paula Clements

    Hi Cathy Your tulips are amazingly beautiful no wonder. The Dutch passion led to tulip mania. I don’t know whether you have seen tulips in Turkish art they are represented in a fabulous was in many cases x

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      We imagined we would go on our honeymoon to Turkey, Paula. Simply because the wild tulips that led to ‘tulip mania’ in Holland in the 16/17th century came from Turkey originally. I wanted to see them growing wild in the mountains, but we never did it. Strangely enough, there seems to be a ‘snowdrop mania’ going on now – can you imagine … some people are paying £1000 for a bulb!!! This is crazy. I like the wild and will never stop wanting to go to Turkey and see them as (whoever) intended …

      Reply

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