I took several photos for this post to celebrate (Top Ten) April blooms, the meme kindly hosted by blogger and plantsperson Chloris of The Blooming Garden, but decided finally to include just those that are making the most impact. There are oddments throughout the garden as early spring bloomers give way to the later ones, but some are just more impactful – and if the Golfer notices and comments on them then they must stand out!
Those that can be seen from the kitchen windows are always going to be noticed, especially when at their best as the tubs of tulips shown above are, and I make no apology for showing them again. Likewise, the three crab apples which have quite possibly never been as floriferous: ‘Evereste’ (left), ‘Golden Hornet’ (right), ‘Royalty’ (bottom). The main apple blossom, however, has started but is not yet in full swing.
The Golfer is very fond of rhododendrons and surprisingly most of those we have don’t seem to have been unduly affected by last year’s dry summer: dinky little R epimedium certainly hasn’t, as gazing out of the same windows tells us.
Rebuilding the clematis colonnade disturbed the resident clematis and some replacements were required, but now every post is sporting both an early and a later variety, mostly C alpina and C viticella. This is peak season for the alpinas, with ‘Helsingborg’ top left, ‘Jacqueline du Pré’ and ‘Pamela Jackman’ (bottom left and right), with newcomer C koreana ‘Amber’ on the top right. The blooms of the latter are larger and chunkier than I imagined and not what I would call ‘amber’, but it is pretty nonetheless.
Pretty and distinctive in its own way is the native cowslip which has popped up of its own accord and taken over from the Tête à Tete in the streamside grass. Despite yellow not being an overly favoured colour in the garden there is something especially sunny and spring-like about the cowslip which absolves its gentle thuggishness.
Not planted in the most suitable of places, our only magnolia M ‘Susan’ is a delight even with only a few flowers, which have only begun to appear in the last couple of years. Only one is out so far, but I liked the look of it bookended by two silver birches in our woodland and the fine green tracery of new foliage on the neighbour’s massive beech tree. Chloris tells me that Susan is one a series of 8 ‘Little Girl’ magnolias bred by crossing M liliflora ‘Nigra’ and M stellata ‘Rosea’ in the mid-50s.
Brunneras are perhaps a little underated in the garden as they are such good do-ers for most of us that we could easily take them for granted. They provide a lovely splash of blue for weeks in spring, often against pretty foliage if you have a variety like the variegated B ‘Jack ‘Frost’, and they make a pleasing addition to a posy or vase. This one has plain leaves and is an unknown-to-me variety, passed on by a friend who didn’t know it either. It makes a lovely clump and the contrast of the blue and dark green is most attractive:
The Coop is emptying of blooms now and needs a good tidy up before the turn of the summer occupants, but this Tropaeolum tricolor has just got better and better. Before I took the photo I turned the plant round to see if this made a difference to the way the flowers face: this being a lean-to greenhouse the wall of the house is to the right thus making it lighter to the left, the direction they had been facing.
Do now make time to pop over to Chloris’ blog to view her ‘ten’ blooms and follow links to other blogs as well.
As is always the case at this time of year there is such a lot going on in the garden at the moment, and every week there will be new blooms to enjoy so May’s ‘top ten’ will be very different. Alliums may well be one of the stalwarts by then as the first blooms are now just beginning to open, with a very patient orange tipped butterfly first in the queue for nectar. I am thrilled to see have seen not just this butterfly (and with orange tipped wings in view earlier) in the garden this week, but also a holly blue and Wordless Wednesday’s peacock too.