End of Month Review - April 2014

In general April has been quite mild, warmish and wettish with only the occasional frost; ideal growing conditions really.  So the garden has been growing well and is a good couple of weeks in advance of last year when Spring was late to arrive.

This time last year the Magnolia was just starting to flower, this year it is just finishing.  It has been magnificent and thankfully the frost did not damage it, this is the first year that has happened.
This year the tree is now wearing some blue wool, this is the mark the flowers that were different from the main tree, I don't know if I can collected viable seeds or take cuttings from these couple of flowers, but if I can I will see if I can propagate them.  Well, its worth a try, I can dream of a new strain of Magnolia can't I?
The Knot Garden is looking fantastically lush, it will soon be time to do some box trimming when it will look neat and lush.
The peony grown from seed is still in bud, I cannot wait to see it in flower.
and in the border by the front door the wallflowers and alliums are looking rather good together, yes it looks suspiciously like I might be liking my front garden at last.
Around then to the side of the house and the gravel garden, that is looking green too.
The rosemary was getting a bit straggly and so it has had a trim.  There is also the ubiquitous Stachys bizantia, great plant, but its seeds everywhere.
The ivy-covered rowan is showing lots of new growth, this is good and I am pleased except the ivy is also showing new growth, I am going to have to cut it back again.
The back garden is growing like made, everything is putting a spurt on, especially the dandelions.  You do not get a prize for spotting them in the following photographs it would be too easy a competition.
The Courtyard is filling up with pots, in the far corner in the Rhododendron luteum that is one of the best plants I have ever bought.  It may only flower briefly but the colour and scent of the flowers makes up for that brevity.  I open the conservatory door and the scent floods in.  This year I want to see if I take cuttings from it, I am going to try layering it too as apparently that is quite a good way of propagating it.  Time will tell!
The view across the Conservatory Border is looking quite good, there is quite a bit of colour appearing now, mainly but not totally from tulips.
I do love a good tulip, I am making quite a list for the Autumn as there are many I wish to have.
The Conservatory Border is making me very happy with the repeat of doronicums that run along the edge, this makes me so happy that....
.... I have taken some divisions and moved them into the Spring Border.  It was extended over the Autumn last year and needs filling out.  I do not intend to buy any plants to do this, it will be filled with divisions and plants grown from seed.  Of course I might find a 'must buy' plant and add it, I will not rule that out, but the plan generally is not to buy to fill.
Looking up the side boundary there are two cherry trees, in the foreground a £1 Aldi special that provides a good crop of edible cherries every year (shame I don't like them) and an ornamental cherry further up which flowers more and more every year.
As I turn and look with the cherry trees behind me there is the view across the Prairie Borders, they are a bit scrappy this time of year as the grasses are just starting to get going, in a couple of months it will look better.
The Bog Garden and Woodland Border look better all the time.  This crabapple that sits on the border between them is covered in blossom, it is only been there a couple of years but is a delight.
The Bog Garden in particular is filling up nicely.  I have bought several ferns for this part of the garden and I am hoping it will look good as they start to really put on growth next month.
From here I can look down the Wild Garden, which is looking very green.  I have mown more than I usually do this year, the patches are a bit smaller and there are more shrubs now in this part of the garden, it may soon be the Wild Shrubbery!
I rather like this view from the top corner, down over the Woodland Border, across the Dancing Lawn and down to the house.
The apple trees have lots of blossom on them.
The quince has sort of blossomed, the frost might have hit it and I am worried that my chances of an actual quince this year are already doomed.
The medlar though is yet to blossom so I imagine the crop will be safe from frost now.
The Third Hamamelis is starting to get leafed up, this is good, I think with any luck it will settle in fine to its new position and I live in hope of flowers next Spring.
I am watering the newly relocated Magnolia 'Fairy bush' in the hope that it too recovers and settles in soon.
In the Tree Lupin Border the woad is taking its turn to shine.
The iris will soon be flowering too,
as will the peonies.
The first sweet peas have opened, this is very early I think and a result of my Autumn sowing.  I do not usually Autumn sow but I might again as this has worked well.  In the greenhouse the Spring sowings are also now germinating so I will have a good long season I hope of them in flower.
I tidied up the pleached hornbeams the other day.  They are maturing quite well now and I am hopeful that this year they might actually look pleached rather than tortured.
The Four Sisters are leafing up well, the Carol Klein acer is particularly looking good.  It has finally forgiven me for years in a pot, then a transfer to the garden followed by a relocation to where it is now.  Poor thing.
The Edgeworthia is also coming back into leaf.  The recent frosts did upset it a bit, but it has survived and this makes me very happy.  Every year it lives is a small celebration in my world.
The Rosa Hyde Hall hedge is looking a bit more hedgy every year.  It was covered in flowers last year so I am looking forward to even more this year.
The veg beds are largely full of wallflowers, cabbages, purple sprouting brocolli and potatoes that are yet to show themselves.  I have planted fewer potatoes this year, I didn't really intend to plant any but I caved and bought a few.  I will see how they go, I am increasingly of the opinion they take up a lot of space for not enough return.
The greenhouse is quite full, lots of seedlings are coming up,
Cuttings from last year are getting ready to be planted out.
Begonias from last year are re-sprouting,
and the Tree Dahlias grown last year from seed are really growing well.  They need to go outside soon (they also need weeding), I am going to put one into a larger pot and the other I think I will plant in a sheltered part of the garden.  This is a gamble but if I am lucky it will get through the Winter.  I might wimp out from this plan.
The pond is full of parrot weed and full of tadpoles.  I am happier about the latter.  I am happy it is very full though, that should stand it in good stead if we have a hot dry spell, or Summer as I like to call it.

Thanks as ever to Helen for hosting this meme.


  1. You have certainly mastered the art of understatement - "The view across the Conservatory Border is looking quite good"?! it looks wonderful, in fact I would love to stroll around your whole garden, it is stuffed with beautiful plants. Glad you are starting to like your front garden, it really is starting to mature with the box growing so well. I really like the sight of the grasses starting to grow away in your prairie borders. As for filling that expanded spring border without buying any plants?! Nope, not buying it ;-)

  2. So much growth and lushness and loving the views of your garden!

  3. Gorgeous. I have two tree dahlias too and am also thinking of risking one in the border as they were like triffids on the patio last year. I always like your front garden although it will be sad when the box is trimmed as I like the freshness of the fluffy new growth

  4. I'm with Janet on the 'mastered the art of understatement' - all of the garden looks wonderful. I love the look of the prarie border - you get a real sense of how it is developing and just know it's going to be full of grasses whispering in the breeze. I love your garden Alison. Like Janet, I'd love to stroll around it. Maybe you should have a 'garden bloggers open day'?!

  5. Such a lovely garden Alison, it's all looking beautiful. Can't believe you have Sweet Peas already! Love reading your blog x

  6. What a wonderful tour round your garden, I'm impressed you have so much blooming at the moment. Your crab apple tree is so pretty, I really must get round to finding space for one here. Your box in the front garden is looking very good indeed, very healthy.

  7. Ah I feel better now I've caught up with your end of month review, it's exciting to see the garden burgeoning.


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