Friday, 1 April 2016

April showers

I wanted to start this post with a photo of raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, but I couldn't find any roses in flower, and if I followed the logic of the song the next photos would be of bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, which don't relate much to gardening in Spring (if you don't know what I'm talking about you need to rent/download The Sound of Music immediately). What I wanted to get to was the song punchline "these are a few of my favourite things", because raindrops on emerging foliage are one of the joys of Spring.
Hemerocallis (daylily) foliage

In between April showers, make sure that you get out in the garden and appreciate the lush new growth and the magical way that raindrops pool on the different surface textures.
Aquilegia (granny's bonnet) foliage

Lunaria annua Chedglow (honesty) purple foliage

Lupinus Masterpeice (lupin) foliage

Thalictrum (meadow-rue) foliage

Cerinthe major purpurascens foliage
Raindrops add to the intensity of flower colour. There is also a wonderful fresh smell to the air after a Spring shower.
Primula Silver Lace 
Helleborus double picotee

Helleborus single red

Also of interest in the garden at the moment - we are gradually developing several carpets of Chionodoxa (glory of the snow) around the garden. They are so easy to grow and spread quite quickly, but I recommend planting at least 100 to start with, as they are best appreciated en masse.
Chionodoxa


Our to-do list

Pruning - we cut back our established summer flowering clematis now, as we see the new growth starting. Climbing roses also get a reshape and trim, and long stems are tied-in horizontally to produce new vertical flowering shoots.

Trimming evergreen ferns - as soon as the new fronds start to emerge at the base of the plant we carefully remove all the old ones so that we can enjoy the fresh new fronds unfurling.

Sowing seeds - we grow a few annuals such as Cerinthe major purpurascens and Eschscholzia californica (California poppy) and we try out new perennials, mostly from free seed packets that come with the many gardening magazines that we subscribe to. We start them off in propagators in the greenhouse or on the kitchen table.