April’s Best Blooms

As April gallops towards an end, I couldn’t let it escape without celebrating the glorious array of blooms that it brought, starting with Magnolia ‘Susan’ above, whose dark purple buds are just beginning to unfurl. Last year it bloomed prolifically for the very first time and it looks as if this season there will be a similar display.

There are still a handful of daffodils around, but once the tulips begin to appear they seem to step back to allow their bright replacements to take centre stage. Most of my tulips are in pots, as you can see below, but there are clumps of species varieties in the main borders too along with an occasional hanger-on of the larger varieties.

The woodland is at its peak, with wood anemones and primroses flourishing, bluebells just beginning and fritillaries only just on the wane (and much-reduced quantities of wild garlic!):

In the special snowdrop border the snowdrops are now a distant memory and masses of foliage, but leucojum, muscari and scilla have taken over:

Hellebores bloomed relatively late this year but have been glorious, and although past their peak still make an impact in their more faded state, accompanied by fresh and pristine new foliage:

Pulmonarias are a stalwart of April, and along with hellebores I am trying to boost the number of them in the garden. Here are just a selection:

Rhododendrons, although not to everyone’s taste, always make an impact when they bloom, largely because of their density of blooms. ‘Christmas Cheer’ began flowering a few weeks ago but there are now others joining in too:

Other trouble-free spring stalwarts here are (clockwise from top left) self-seeded cowslip, Clematis armandii ‘Snowdrift’ (blooming much later this year than previously), various brunnera and long-flowering Arabis ‘Old Gold’:

Alpina clematis are wonderful for April/May blooms and here we have (clockwise from top left) C koreana and C alpinaย  ‘Pamela Jackman’, ‘Constance’ and ‘Foxy’:

In the Coop there are still hippeastrum in flower:

I showed the first appleblossom on Wednesday, the blooms now gradually spreading over the whole tree, and this blossom is joined by crab apples ‘Evereste’ (still in bud) and ‘Royalty’, the latter’s blooms always camouflaged by the dark foliage. Somehow appleblossom seems to mark a turn in the year (often heralding the end of regular frosts) as we head into May and the run-up to summer with its inevitable cornucopia of blooms that will be upon us before we know it. Thank you April for paving the way!

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25 Responses to April’s Best Blooms

  1. What a wonderful time of year it is!

  2. Anna says:

    Such an exciting time of year! I’m with you on the pulmonarias Cathy. Sadly some of mine have fizzled out over the years so I hope to replace before long. Have you come across ‘Opal’ and ‘Diana Claire’? They are both stars.

    • Cathy says:

      I have Opal and have had DC in the past but not sure if I have it now. If I am confident all my clumps are established but I will start making some divisions for sale and for friends…

  3. tonytomeo says:

    The color of Christmas Cheer seems to be different now. As much of it as I grew, I never got familiar with the bloom. Unfortunately, we do not expect a good bloom from ours this year. They are not well budded, and are getting a very late start. They got stressed last August while we evacuated for the fire. We do not know what happened while we were gone. Foliage got roasted in random spots. It It was not from the sunlight. Nor was it from heat. It must have been from desiccation (from the air), but even that makes no sense, since much of the damage is in sheltered riparian situations. Anyway, they seem to be unhappy about it this year.

    • Cathy says:

      That’s an interesting observation about the desiccation, Tony. Was there much overall damage of stock from the fire?

      • tonytomeo says:

        The damage was among rhododendrons in the landscapes at the Conference Center where I work part of the week, not at the farm. A few other plants were similarly affected, and similarly, there does not seem to be any pattern.

  4. Paddy Tobin says:

    Magnolia ‘Susan’ is one I like very much and have a plant here for nearly twenty years but it has always been a disappointment for me; has never thrived – and it is planted on top of our last dog!

    • Cathy says:

      We must have ours for over ten (perhaps even 15) years before it had anything other than a few random flowers, although it wasnever in a particularly favourable place. At the time it was a case of “I would like a dark magnolia but have nowhere to put it” and then squeezing it into a far from satisfactory place. I wonder if it is increased sun and light after we cut down some trees that have boosted flower production? No animals under ours though!

  5. Cathy says:

    What a pretty April garden Cathy! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Cathy, I think I tend to forget how quickly other things follow on from snowdrops and daffodils – and in the main borders I now have aquilegia and astrantia just about to flower, and allium swelling too…very exciting!

  6. Annette says:

    So many flowers, Cathy, that’s amazing. It took me most of my life to find out that spring is my favourite season, mind you ;). A lot of spring bulbs have finished flowering here due to drought and unseasonal warm weather. Fingers crossed for rain. Just planted another Magnolia by the small pond called “Genie”. Now it’s a matter of protecting it from Rudolf and his family. Have a good week xx

    • Cathy says:

      Thinking about it, I would say that I don’t have a favourite season now as there are joys and anticipation to be found in all of them. I have looked up Genie, and some (not all!) photos show it as having VERY dark flowers. Let’s hope Rudolph has other distractions

      • Annette says:

        True, every season has its own magic but spring seems more precious to me, maybe something to do with age๐Ÿ˜‰. Fingers crossed for Genie

  7. Brian Skeys says:

    Beautiful spring colours Cathy, I do like all the alpine clematis.

  8. The flowers of the Magnolia “Susan” are glorious, I love them. All tulips are magnificent, I love them. The Forest is fabulous with so many flowers: wood anemones, primroses, bluebells, fritillaries, leucojum, muscari and scilla, I love them and I love them. The hellebores are very beautiful, I adore them. I love lungworts, they are beautiful. The rhododendron “Christmas Cheer” is my favorite. I love all the Alpine Clematis. Hippeastrum in bloom, how wonderful! Apple blossoms are all divine, I love them. Cathy your garden is full of wonderful flowers, it is a gem: enjoy it. Keep you and the golfer safe, Cathy. Happy gardening. Have a wonderful week. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you. Such a lot happening in the garden and lots of gardening to keep on top of!

      • Thanks Cathy. You have a lot of gardening work in a wonderful garden ๐Ÿ˜€ !! Enjoy gardening. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

        • Cathy says:

          I always do – although it’s raining today and after potting on some more seedlings I have been doing other things inside instead

  9. What wonderful colours to celebrate farewell to winter!

  10. Oh, beautiful! Isn’t this a wonderful time of year? The colors, the freshness…everything. Great post!

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