End of Month View April 2016

Where did last month go?  I can’t believe it is May already.

It has been difficult to do anything garden-related recently as the weather has not been very good. Along with a lot of the UK we have just emerged from a really cold spell. We didn’t have too many frosts,( or if we did I didn’t get up early enough to notice!), but we had more than our fair share of low temperatures, hail and snow.  Some of my more delicate plants had their fleece jackets on and off more times than I can remember.

Meanwhile some of my seeds have been growing too well, while others have been really slow to  germinate.  My Verbena rigida took 3 weeks to germinate – I was about to give up when they finally made an appearance. Larger seeds like sweet peas, nasturtium and sunflower, which had been growing in next door’s greenhouse, are all getting rather leggy and really need planting out.

I have been moving them outside during the day and into the garage at night and whenever another hailstorm threatened.  Hopefully this week should be a little warmer and I can maybe get the sweet peas planted out.

Despite my lack of attention, the garden is  still progressing, with lots of new growth.

Here is the usual view at the end of March

The Romantic border in March

The Romantic border in March

And again at the end of April

Romantic border April

Romantic border April

You can see the Clematis Montana on the back wall has really filled out is is almost ready to burst into flower.  The tulips to the right of the border are almost flowering, but unfortunately the ones to the left have not got many buds this year. The crocuses and snowdrops have been replaced with muscari and anemones, while the geraniums and astilbes are making lots of foliage. There are other herbaceous perennials too that are through, but are difficult to see just yet: penstemon, sidalcea and veronica.

White double wood anemone

White double wood anemone

Looking left it is quite colourful,

Looking left

Looking left


Tulip praestans ‘Shogun’ at front and unknown orange tulip behind.

And the night-scented Phlox is looking wonderful.

This is such a pretty little plant – I would certainly recommend getting one or two.

Some of the foliage is looking good too:



The Heather aboria is coming on leaps and bounds. Do you remember what a pathetic looking specimen it was in its first year?

Albert's Gold

Albert’s Gold in February 2014

Now look at it! It is in flower at the moment, though you can hardly see it, so I guess it will be a good time for pruning soon.

Heather aboria 'Albert's Gold'

Heather aboria ‘Albert’s Gold’ -two years on.

Elsewhere in the garden the rockery is looking rather nice – all pinks and purples, though there is still a lot to come out.

The rockery

The rockery

At the top of the garden, the dry shady corner  is all pale green and yellow.

The dry top corner

The dry top corner

The azalea is flowering as well as ever and I am happy to report the erythroniums (On right) have flowered for a second year. I put some new bulbs in on the left and they possibly have more flowers per stem than the originals, but they are both looking lovely.

The background yellow/green is provided by the new bracts of  euphorbia.

Also in this bed the little fern at the front is uncurling its new growth – it looks a bit like a seahorse.

Seahorse fern

Seahorse fern


Having pulled out a rather old forsythia at the bottom of the garden it has now left a few glaring gaps, both in the bottom hedge and at the entrance to the stumpery behind the garage.  I had been wondering what I could put in to replace it that would provide good cover and as soon as possible.  Last week we were wandering around Homebase (as you do) and came across some Salix contorta shrubs. They were a good size and a good price and I thought they would be ideal for the Shrubbery entrance.

Salix contorta

Salix contorta

However when I got home and started to read about them I wasn’t so happy. It seems willow trees are likely to grow very tall, but also that they will seek out any water sources and can be a real problem blocking drains and pipes with their roots.  I am not sure that ‘contorta’ is even a proper variety of Salix.  These trees will definitely be planted in containers!

I will finish with a few more photos from around the garden.

With thanks to Helen at The Patient Gardener for hosting this meme.


18 thoughts on “End of Month View April 2016

  1. Your garden is looking lovely Annette, packed full of lovely plants. Your rockery looks so pretty. I love your tree heather, I haven’ t seen a gold one before. Salix contorta does grow enormous, there is one in my garden and it is huge.

    • Thanks Chloris. I think I will be donating those plants to someone with lots of space once they have outgrown their pots. How irresponsible of Homebase to sell them without a warning.

  2. The orange and apricot tulips look wonderful against the dark leaves of the phormium. I’m beginning to think tulips in containers is the only way to go for me, raising them in ordinary black plastic pots that I can then sink into the border while they’re in bloom or into a more decorative outer container. And keep them in a mice free place for the rest of the time.. if such a thing exists!

    • Thanks Jessica. That phormium has certainly earned its keep in the garden as it goes with so much. It is getting quite big now though, so I am trying to gear myself up to split it before it becomes unmanageable. I think I would agree that tulips in pots might be the way to go as you just can’t tell which ones will flower again – or at least I can’t. Some seem to go on for years but it is so disappointing when they fail and spoil a perfectly balanced (ahem) colour scheme. I wouldn’t want to replace them every year though and waste a lot of good ones. Someone had a good idea to just add more each year of the same variety, but that would mean knowing what you put where!!

  3. I too love the tulips with the Phormium – inspired planting Annette. I’ve lost count the amount of plants I’ve brought home and then found out they are not suitable for the garden or are too pernicketie in their care. Keeping your willow in a pot is probably the way to go. I too love how you use your neighbour’s greenhouse – I do too. We are such a caring sharing bunch are we not? Hoping the weather is a bit better this week for us. It’s a shame to miss out on so many gardening day.

    • Thanks Angie. That Phormium goes well with almost everything so quite easy to be inspired. I am very fond of it. My neighbour has other things on her mind this year as she is due to give birth in July so had some space in the greenhouse. The weather at least seems much better today. I am thinking of putting out my sweet peas but perhaps with a fleece cover over the sticks. They are hardy annuals after all so hope they will be OK.

  4. How wonderful to watch your garden burst into life! That flax does look so good with those tulips. We have a willow and yes they do get large .. But ours is miles away from our house and garden. Lovely garden Annette

  5. Looking lovely, Annette. You could always coppice your ‘Contorta’ every year or so – that’s what I do here and bring the twisted stems into the house in late February to come prettily into leaf in a tall vase.

  6. Thanks Brian, yes Albert’s Gold is a great heather to have for foliage. I can’t decide whether to prune it quite hard this year. How do you deal with yours?

  7. You don’t need me to tell you that your willow will grow very tall, we have one in the border by the field and it is massive. Coppicing it sounds a good idea though. Your tulips are lovely, we can only grow them in pots as the soil is so wet in the winter, they all rot away.

    • I think tulips in pots are good idea. They are so unreliable after the first year and you end up with all these leaves and no flowers. Much easier to change (or hide) if they are in pots.

  8. Your garden is looking lovely as always Annette. I’ve heard the tale about willows seeking out drains but haven’t actually met anyone who has had this happen in their garden! All trees produce large root systems and usually there is as much root below ground as there is tree canopy above ground. Your willow should be fine in a large pot… the pot will actually restrict growth and of course you can cut it back each year too.

  9. The weather keeps us on our toes by having such a variable effect on our gardens, doesn’t it?! Your ‘dry top corner’ bed looks especially lovely – and I was equally pleased to find my erythroniums re-emerging for a second year! Gorgeous tulips too, and like you I am increasingly thinking I will grow more in pots as they seem to do so much better

    • Thanks Cathy. I am quite pleased with the dry corner this year – that extra clump of erythroniums made all the difference, plus the azalea getting bigger I suppose.

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