End of month review - April

April was dry.  April was very dry.  We had virtually no rain in April at all.  The ground is cracking in places and yet the garden is coping remarkably well.

There is the lone iris in the front garden.  I planted about twenty a couple of years ago, nothing happened.  This year this one flower emerged.  Its a bit out of place with no friends around it, yet it felt heartless to remove it when it had survived when none of the others had. 

I am a great fan of self seeding plants.  They often arrange to arrange themselves much more happily than I could hope to achieve.  These are self seeded verbascums, aquiligelias and Meconopsis cambrica, they are putting on an excellent show this time of year.  Next year the show will be different, and that is why self seeders are such fun.  Of course they do require quite a bit of editing and you do need to be able to recognise their seedlings when they are very young.  It is possible to wipe out a whole generation with over-zealous weeding.  It is also possible to grow a crop of something without weeding enough.

These Tulipa 'Red Shine' are just stunning.  They do exactly what they say will do.  They shine like jewels in the sun.  I could not be more pleased with how they have performed.

I started growing Isatis tinctoria (woad) a couple of years ago after seeing it at the Chelsea Flower Show.  I sowed the seeds and the next year they bloomed and looked nice.  They then self seeded quite liberally and when they flowered this year they looked incredible.  Huge fluffy clouds of beautiful acid yellow flowers.  I know not everyone likes yellow in the garden, I have never suffered from this problem and certainly these are a great addition.

The Catalpa bignonioides is just coming into leaf.  The purple and the green new growth is so beautiful.  This is a young tree, it has yet to flower but was one of the first things I planted in this garden and I am looking forward to it flowering one day with great anticipation.

The alliums are open and looking good.  I always think I need more of them.  The splash of colour is so welcome and works with so many different planting combinations.

I planted this quince tree last autumn.  It is about to blossom and I hopeful that there will be fruit this year.  The hairy leaves are just begging to be stroked.  It doesn't seem to suffering too much from the dry period.

The Medlar Nottingham is a little piece of home, and I admit to growing it mainly because you have to blet the fruit.  It has to be one of the best gardening words ever.  It could only be better if you had a row of pleached Medlars.   Last autumn I made my first batch of Medlar Jelly.  It is the most glorious red colour and is lovely with hot and cold meat.  I was quite chuffed at the results.

In the veg beds the broad beans are close to flowering.  Young broad beans are lovely, old ones you have to skin are less so.  I am pleased they are growing well but I do have to water them a couple of times a week at the moment as it is so dry - did I mention there hasn't been any rain?

and I will finish with the Manx Rose, Rosa pimpinellifolia (Burnet Rose).  This one was bought on the Isle of Man a couple of years ago and is always the first rose to flower in the garden.  It is covered in flowers and smells beautiful.  It is the link between Spring and the flowering of the other roses.

April has been a good month.  Most things in the garden are about two weeks ahead of last year.  The recent evenings have been a bit cold, which is a good reminder that its not quite safe to empty the greenhouse yet.  Roll on May - expect great things from the new month.


  1. Oh I just love reading about other peoples gardens, there is an element of looking over the garden fence. I am interested in your quince. Are there different types, the one next door doesn't have fluffy leaves. Hope you peep over the fence to read mine EMOV also. http://wp.me/p1jkAI-ob


  2. Just found you through Helen's EOMV - you have some lovely things in flower, I particularly love the woad. And of course you couldn't get rid of the brave loan iris!

  3. I was taken with Woad as well but my seeds didnt germinate. I might try again having seen yours.

    Thanks for joining in with the meme

  4. Our quince is covered with blossom and very pretty it is too. I read it takes about 5 years to get fruit. We had some flowers last year but only about 5 fruit in spite of the bees and me with my paint brush. And you can't make membrillo with five fruit! Hoping for more fruit this year.

    We haven't had a lot of rain either. We've put in a drip hose so that helps a bit.

  5. I can see that when the quince blossom opens I'll be straight there with my paint brush now :-)

  6. @ patientgardener - I only had a few seeds germinate and last year the plants were so/so - but they self seeded liberally and the three main plants have been spectacular this spring

  7. Like you, our April was very dry and things are a bit early here, too. I don't use a lot of re-seeders - I'm an aggressive weeder! Love your tulips! Your rose and alliums are also beautiful.

  8. Found you through the EOMV - what a lovely garden (and I'm with you on the self-seeding front; if I wasn't, I'd never have time to do anything but weed).

    Your iris is very beautiful; mine are just about to burst. It's so interesting seeing what stage other people's gardens are at!


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