Sunny Side Up: April Blooms

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.


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21 Responses to Sunny Side Up: April Blooms

  1. tonytomeo says:

    20 Celsius is not even 70 degrees Fahrenheit. That is warm? It is nearly 90 degrees Fahrenheit (or 32 degrees Celsius) here today, and even warmer back in Beverly Hills (in the Los Angeles region). It is impressive that there is so much bloom there with such mild weather. I suppose that most of those blooms do not need much warmth, and that the cooler weather keeps the blooms around longer.

    • Cathy says:

      Maybe so Tony, but this is the UK and it’s only April, often a showery month and still with a good chance of frosts – so we are grateful for temperatures of 20 degrees!

      • tonytomeo says:

        I do not even grow tulips. They do not get enough chill to grow as reliable perennials here. Even as annuals, they do not last long if the air gets dry early. I intend to try them someday, but do not expect them to last like they do elsewhere. I just really want to grow a few.

  2. Pauline says:

    So many lovely blooms Cathy, this is a wonderful time of year in the garden when everything seems to be flowering at once. I’m so glad we don’t have temperatures of 90 degrees, everything would stop flowering! Hopefully we will get some rain next week, it was just a trickle a week ago, nowhere near enough, its from one extreme to the other!

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, with new discoveries to find every day. I too don’t want hot hot temperatures and was quite optimistic of some rain this week, but the % chance of rain isn’t looking very high (yet)…

  3. Chloris says:

    Isn’t this just the best time of year in the garden? The froth of blossom and tender new green leaves and the bird song, it’s all fabulous and your garden must be a wonderful place to enjoy it. Crab apples are wonderful aren’t they? In my old garden where I had lots more space, I planted lots of different ones and I could never decide which was my favourite, they were all gorgeous. Your Susan is looking great how long have you had her? It has taken mine about 4 years to look good. Do you use your wild garlic for cooking? My daughter makes a delicious soup with hers.
    Thank you for sharing your lovely April blooms Cathy, it all looks fabulous.

    • Cathy says:

      It is indeed – I have been doing a lot of gazing! Susan was planted before I finished work, so a few years before that perhaps… 12+? So she took a long time to feel at home. The Golfer will not eat garlic but I did persuade him that this wouldn’t have the same effect on his digestive system and he agreed to use it on one of his weekly cooking nights in place of spinach in a curry…with no ill effects, so I shall use it periodically too. I made comfrey soup once and it was Very Green; I expect this would be the same but we could drink it with our eyes closed if need be…!

  4. Tulipa bakerii “Maravilla Lila” I love it. The “Painted Lady” tulips are divine. Crab apples are wonderful. It is fabulous that two witch hazel are self-planted and have found for the flower a bright yellow color with small red marks on the internal petals: I love it. I really like rhododendrons. I love the forest with bluebells and white wild garlic as a carpet. Forget-me-nots are adorable. I love Symphytum “Hidcote Blue”. Magnolia “Susan” is a beautiful and elegant Lady, I love it. Cathy your garden is now in one of its best flowering moments. Enjoy it! Keep you and the golfer safe and take good care of both of you. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Margarita – the garden is like a rollercoaster and will gather momentum for the next few months with non-stop blooms. Hope you and your family are keeping well too

      • Thanks Cathy. My family and I are fine. And its wonderful garden will not stop blooming until late summer or more with its divine dahlias. It will be a pleasure to read and view your blogs. Take care of your family, your husband and yourself, Cathy. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

        • Cathy says:

          I hope it will be a good summer for blooms, Margarita. I have just planted some of the dahlias outside and with a bit of rain they will soon put on a lot of growth

          • I am sure it will be a good Summer for the flowers and for the dahlias you just planted that will be divine. Happy gardening. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

  5. Heyjude says:

    April is such a lovely month for flowers and the weather has been gorgeous this year. Though it has been quite foggy here the last couple of days, but the bonus is that taking photos of flowers has been much easier! Often the bright light is the worst light for bleaching out the colours.

  6. Oh I love the combination of gallium, B Jack Frost and Muscari, really lovely. And M Susan . And the tulips. And the Malus. It all ! Love it all

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