I wonder if it was the hottest day of the year so far today? Here, it might have reached about 20°C, so not hot enough to fry an egg as suggested by the Tulipa bakerii ‘Lilac Wonder’ above, but feeling all the warmer because there was no breeze, unlike earlier in the week. And bright enough to wash the colour out of many of the photographs too. The little species tulips have been lovely this month, and tulips have definitely been one of April’s main attractions in the garden, as exemplified by these pots of mixed tulips, ‘Painted Lady’, the anonymous one from this week’s vase, and a further multi-stemmed mystery:
By mid-month, apple blossom joined the tulips on the stage, a real diva in her own right, as Chloris has already shown in her monthly round up which she invites us to share in. Here are our divas, pink-tinged blossom on the cooking apples, dark pink crab apple Malus ‘Royalty’ with its purple leaves, and M ‘Evereste’ which has the peachiest of fruit later in the season:
In the middle picture above you can also see Choisya ‘White Dazzler’ which I have already enthused about recently, but which endears me further with its glorious fragrance which hangs in the air as you pass nearby – what a star!
In the streamside grass to the left of the choisya are, amongst the crocus, narcissi and two witch hazels which have been planted there, several self- seeded cowslips which have come from who-knows-where. It would be easy to assume that because of their similarities and a propensity to cross-pollinate that these are a similar yellow to primroses, but closer inspection will tell you otherwise – they are brighter, buttercup yellow with neat little red markings on the inner petals, sadly not obvious from the sun-washed photo below:
As we move from April towards May, rhododendrons begin to make their presence felt, starting with the teeny tinies like R ‘Wren’ and R impeditum. In a week or two the larger varieties will be joining the show as well.
By then, the current actors in the woodland scene will have left the stage, leaving it bare of blooms for the summer, other than rogue dandelions and the odd foxglove or two. For now, there is a blue and white carpet of bluebells and wild garlic, suggesting a naturalised woodland but nevertheless all part of the play, having been planted there since the woodland was created in 2000. Sadly, there is now more wild garlic than bluebell, despite my best efforts to decapitate the garlic before it sets seed:
These two may have been introduced species but, like the cowslips, I have not planted any forget-me-not here and it has arrived uninvited, looking very pretty at this time of year and humble enough to be ousted willingly from where it is not wanted:
Its pretty blue flowers look extraordinarily similar to those of brunnera, like this B ‘Jack Frost’ which makes a pretty edge to this border alongside Galium odoratum and a white muscari:
Nearby, this bed of low growing comfrey Symphytum ‘Hidcote Blue’ has reached its long-flowering peak and will remain there for months, clearly a mecca for bees as it is always abuzz with dozens of them:
Chloris suggests sharing our top ten blooms of the moment, but this is rarely an easy choice and I have a deliberately not counted, but will finish with what must be the Golfer’s favourite, Magnolia ‘Susan’, of which he provides a regular update of the number of blooms, currently around 60. Magnolias are reputed to have short flowering periods, but the gradual opening of Susan’s buds makes it seem longer; she is definitely a pretty little thing and I am quite fond of her too, as is Chloris, who features her this month too.