End of Month View: April Marches On

April somehow seems to be a new chapter in the seasonal life of a garden, being a month which can generally be relied on to be milder than much of the last five months, all of which can be very variable from year to year – last month and March 2012 were both mild and sunny, for example, but not so the cold and snowy March of 2013.

The most obvious change over the last month has been the final demise of the snowdrops for this year, apart from a few random singletons, leaves appearing on many deciduous shrubs like cornus and chaenomeles and the first signs on some trees too, blossom on the magnolia (early) and wild plum, and the accelerated reappearance of the majority of herbaceous perennials. April is indeed marching on apace!

IMG_1739Cornus and Rosa ‘Munstead Wood’ in the planters, along with some unidentified tulips, have been providing interest on the paved area visible from the kitchen windows, and Tulip ‘Peach Blossom’ is now coming through in the pots with the pansies in the foreground. The magnolia is smothered in blossom, some even at eye level (mine, that is, which is low) and beyond and beside the sitooterie the trees are beginning to come to life.


IMG_1740The Tête-à -Tête beside the stream are just on the cusp of their ‘best’ and are already taller and somewhat less charming than when they first appeared. The three columnar fruit trees on the right (cherry, pear, greengage) are budding up nicely. The stream, alas and alack, seems to have developed an electrical fault to add to its woes and is not running at the moment.

The woodland floor is coming into its own, being awash in wood anemones on the right (partially camouflaging the primroses), whereas clumps of bluebells on the left are looking healthy but have not flowered well for a little while – do they need to be split I wonder, although this doesn’t happen in the wild? The wild garlic, fortunately, is still in a manageable quantity.

IMG_1741The main herbaceous borders are greening up after a bare winter, and I am determined to ensure they are filled to capacity this year with additional annuals grown from seed – so far they would have had ‘could do better’ in their school reports. In the pots in the foreground the hostas, a new venture last year, are beginning to stir and poke their noses out the soil.

IMG_1742The woodland edge border, here seen from both directions, has been delightful in recent months with snowdrops, hellebores and now pulmonarias, and already much of the remaining area of bare earth is smothered in geranium foliage.

EOMV.March14aThe previously named hot borders are ready and waiting to become ‘bold’ rather than ‘hot’, but are already filling with new growth on geums, hemerocallis and an assortment of other bits and bobs, including some red wallflowers which look as if they may finally flower.

EOMV.March14bThe blue and white borders are filling out too, with some of last year’s new additions looking promising, although I have already had to ‘deal’ with lily beetle on the L. candidum. The amelanchier, of which only the trunk is visible in the centre of the circle, is very prettily covered in flowers and young bronze leaves. Later in the year these borders will be in sun for most of the day, but the height of the sun at this time of year produces shadows instead although the vertical spaces in the fence adjoining the rose garden allow some light through at all times.

IMG_1750On the eight pillars in the rose garden are four Zépherine Drouhin and four Guinée roses; the former and two of the latter were moved from their previous location in the garden, so the two newer Guinée are playing catch up. Zépherine Drouhin is certainly the more vigorous of the two and some of them are now spreading along the horizontals which of course is the desired effect. Underneath the roses the lavender is showing signs of new growth so we shall soon see how successful my pruning was!

Through the clematis colonnade and retracing my steps towards the house we reach the species snowdrop border, with snowdrops now fading into seasonal obscurity, is still looking perky with the addition of some additional white hellebores and pulmonaria, as well as the white pansies which have really only just started flowering reliably. The hedge border next to it, beyond the arbour with Rambling Rector, has reached the first anniversary of its creation and has made a promising start and the white Anemone blanda are certainly making an impact. I am hoping for a good showing of flowers on Clematis Montana grandiflora, trained (sort of) up an old hawthorn stump in the hedge.

EOMV.March14dAs this end of month view is essentially for my own records I have been telling it exactly how it is – and yes, some parts of the garden are looking good, but there also areas that need attention although having more time to devote to the garden in the last couple of years is now paying dividends. nevertheless, it is still a pleasure to share the garden with others in this way. Do look at the map of the garden to see how the different bits fit together, and pop over to Helen’s blog at Patient Gardener to find links to other people’s gardens at the end of March.


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39 Responses to End of Month View: April Marches On

  1. Looks like lots of color with promises of more. I hope the day is pleasant enough to sit out and enjoy the garden!

    • Cathy says:

      I don’t make a habit of sitting out, Flora, despite all the benches we have, but I did make a point of sitting outside today, if only briefly…! 😉

  2. Kris P says:

    I’m struck by how your garden visibly awakes at this time of year. Gardens in southern California never sleep so I don’t think we experience spring with the same force that you do. Happy gardening!

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, Kris, it seems to start gradually here then comes on all in a rush – it does indeed make it exciting. Do most of your flowers have a really long growing season or do they still have particular months of the year when you would expect them to flower?

      • Kris P says:

        Our plants follow a schedule too, although the unseasonably warm winter we had seems to have pushed these forward. The most extreme case of this is the Agapanthus, which normally begin a stampede of bloom in mid-late May – this year, I’ve had smaller numbers blooming here and there since January. There are fewer blooms in winter but there’s always something flowering. In essence, we have only 2 seasons: a cool season and a warm season. “Winter” here is just the time it usually rains, although that didn’t happen this year and has been lighter than the historical norm for a few years now. Our “cool season” has also been marked by periodic temperature spikes into the 80F+ range (27+C).

        • Cathy says:

          My replies to you keep disappearing somewhere! Thanks for your explanation – it has given me a better understanding of your climate.

  3. Chloris says:

    Thank you for the tour of your garden, Cathy. It all looks lovely. I think it is a great idea to give us a tour like this. I tend to get so focused on what is in bloom that I forget to show any long views.
    It’s been such a gorgeous day today, but the lily beetle are out in force. Armies of them; all of them up to no good.

    • Cathy says:

      Exciting times, Chloris! I have recently tried some different ‘long views’ – climbing up a ladder to get a view over areas separated by fences, etc, which seems almost surreal as we have no upstairs windows that look out on the garden. Will post them when I have worked out the best place to take them from. I wonder where the lily beetles go over winter..? Not quite an army here, but they are certainly recruiting…. ps can we have some long views of your garden please?

  4. A wonderful tour that shows all the beautiful awakenings in your garden. The patio is full of lovely pots. I am hoping spring moves forward and brings even more flowers.

  5. Helen Johnstone says:

    It’s really filling out isn’t it. I agree with you that it’s good to do a warts and all approach, makes you really look and be honest and hopefully sort out those bits that aren’t quite right

  6. Pauline says:

    Thank you for taking us with you when you went for your ramble round your garden, everything is growing so much and you have so many lovely flowers. Spring is certainly making it’s presence felt with the flowers , birds, bees and frogs!

  7. Annette says:

    What an enjoyable tour of your spring garden, Cathy! So much going on, I’m at a loss (almost) and don’t know what to comment on first. Your sitooterie looks smashing among the spring flowers and your daffodil walk could melt an iceberg. Still waiting for my Anemone to show up hope I didn’t mow it by accident! Lots of roses have remarkably beautiful foliage in spring – Munstead Wood is one of them and looks great with Cerinthe here at present.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks for your kind comments, Annette – and for mentioning the cerinthe with your MW. I might try that combination as well. I was noticing the foliage of my MW this morning – gorgeous! Is it your A nemerosa you are waiting for? Mine probably did nothing at all the first year, but are certainly paying dividends now.

      • Annette says:

        There’s still hope for me then! I planted nemorosa and nemorosa Robinsoniana…I have to admit that I almost flattened my beloved bluebells with the mower…I had forgotten where I planted them!!! Hope this doesn’t apply to my dear anemones 😉

  8. Tim says:

    Thanks for the showing the pictures of your garden. It certainly looks promising for the year ahead. I would be interested to know if your recent attack on the Celandine has resulted in any appreciable reduction. I find that any disturbance to the soil only serves to make the “problem” worse. It certainly does in my garden.

    • Cathy says:

      Good to hear from you and know that you are still fascinated by our little yellow friends 😉 Unfortunately I believe you are right, as I could have sworn I was meticulous in removing every scrap when I ‘attacked’ them earlier in the year, and although I didn’t expect complete eradication I did not expect them to send in reinforcements, which they clearly have done!! How’s your photography going? Any thoughts of a blog yet?

  9. croftgarden says:

    I like the way that different parts of the garden come into focus as the season progresses. Working out the succession is difficult and it is always too tempting to try and have everything “wonderful” throughout the year.

    • Cathy says:

      The close and regular observations brought about by the blog have shown that there is indeed something of interest all the year round, not necessarily ‘wonderful’ but fascinating, be it form or colour, foliage, flower or fauna. It’s these little things and being able to notice the subtle changes that probably bring more pleasure than seeing full and flamboyant borders.

  10. Your garden is looking lovely in the sunshine on those walls. I especially like the idea of the ‘hot’ borders becoming ‘bold’. I look forward to seeing pictures of the bold ones in due course. D.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Dorris – the hot borders never really worked properly, so this will give them more scope with hot pinks and electric blues. Well, that’s the idea, anyhow!

  11. I have really enjoyed seeing around your garden. I love all the different “themed” areas you have. I’m big on that in our garden, as it is so long and narrow. It seems to lend itself to being divided up into areas. Your garden seems so full of promise – it won’t be long before it’s bursting out! And I must comment on the “sitooterie” – a word that I thought was made up and unique to our family, while growing up in Scotland. Turns out you’re the second blogger I’ve come across with one – though ours was indoors!

    • Cathy says:

      🙂 I am glad you know you are not alone, although I am puzzled as to how you could have a sitooterie INSIDE as you wouldn’t be sitting oot if that was the case. When I planned ours it was actually going to be an orangery (anything except a summer house!!), but the oranges I got didn’t do well and I felt sitooterie was a good alternative, in keeping with who we are. I must make time to go and visit your blog and see your garden too – I promise!

  12. Anna says:

    Now April can be a capricious month Cathy – I’m sure that you will be familiar with TS Eliots’ words “April is the cruellest month”. I hope that she treats us kindly though this year and yesterday afternoon must have been the most perfect of afternoons to linger in your sitouterie 🙂 Looking forward to seeing the bold borders take shape as the year unfolds.

    • Cathy says:

      I do indeed, Anna, but not being a real gardener when I first read Eliot I just accepted it at the time but think about it every year and decided a long time ago that I disagree with it being ‘the cruellest month’ – quite apart from the difference global warming has made since then! I think this year I shall be stuffing things in the bold borders and seeing what works – but I am very grateful to you for steering me in that direction via Sarah Raven’s book.

  13. rusty duck says:

    The difference from last month is quite amazing. I’ve suddenly found the benefit of having a history of photos on the blog. They were invaluable while shifting stuff around over the last few weeks.

    • Cathy says:

      And from year to year too, if you have forgotten what was planted next to what and can’t find any labels 😉

  14. Christina says:

    The lily beetle seems to like L. candidum more than any other lily! I think I saw the first one in January! It attacks Regal lilies less than others btw. Your garden really is moving on apace, I feel like shouting STOP, wait a little so I can enjoy it all for longer.

    • Cathy says:

      I ramble round several times a day now in case I have missed something! ps no beetles to deal with today… 🙂

  15. bittster says:

    Thanks for the tour, it really is interesting to follow you along through the different areas of your garden. Each one seems so unique! You have such a nice mix of special individual plants blended in with masses of reliable goodies, it really unifies everything.
    I hope you enjoy some of the benches a little more, it really is the season to soak up the warmth and fragrances of the spring garden!

    • Cathy says:

      I know, I know – I did a post on all my benches last year and got a right telling off for not sitting on them! Actually, I could do with repainting some of them – that’s a job to add to my list…

  16. lots to see in your ramble Cathy, my tete-a-tete are still flowering but they started much later than yours, I often wonder about bulbs as they are not split in the wild, I wonder if the more abundant wee creatures move them around under ground, I’m sure the birds move tulips and crocus here as I find bulbs/corms laying on the surface where I never put them,
    I like the first photo as you look through your kitchen window, my favourite is still your woodland edge border, beautiful, Frances

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you Frances – and I like the woodland edge border too as there is always something of beauty or interest there.

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