April showers and flowers…

Phew…! I suppose this is typical April weather but it doesn’t make it easy to get outside in the garden…

I have only had time to potter around this week after work but have been pleased to see the flowers are really starting to come up.

My ‘star flowers’ at the moment are the fritillary flowers.  I do love these so much and am thrilled that they have come up in the raised beds on the shady side of the garden.  In the Autumn I will plant some more into the grass…  I had a photo I particularly liked so I have added it as a banner in the site, it think it looks very dramatic.  As a contrast, here is my only white flower.  It looks so delicate!

Beautiful white fritillary flower

What else is there…?

The clematis montana is full of small flower buds and its new leaves have just appeared this week.  I think the flowers will be a pale pink fading to white but I can’t remember which variety I bought last year.  How exciting, it will be a surprise when it flowers!

clematis montana buds against the trellis

Also at the end of the garden my white bergenia has flowered and also there are mysterious new bulbs sprouting in the grass.  They don’t look very exciting yet but I am hoping they are my blue camassia bulbs.

white bergenia flowers  new bulbs in grass

I also bought two little plants to brighten up the garden (they won’t be planted together) because they would really COLOUR CLASH.

A two coloured grape hyacinth and a really dramatic celandine ‘Brazen Hussy’.  The colour contrast between the acid yellow flower petals and the deep purple, almost black leaves is fabulous!  The flower is so bright you almost need sunglasses on to look at it!

white and light blue grape hyacinths  celandine brazen hussy flower

close up of celandine flower

What will flower next?  My tree peony is still in bud, I don’t suppose there has been enough sun yet but it does seem rather early as the peony at the front garden has only just started growing.  I also noticed a very, very early california poppy bud.  I shall keep an eye on these.

tree peony bud  california poppy buds

My seeds aren’t doing much yet but the Rudbeckia is showing tiny, tiny shoots…

Let’s hope that sunshine is on its way.  (Although the rain is very welcome and a good chance to top up the water butt).

At last!

I haven’t had much time recently to get out into the garden – but – this weekend made a start again, weeding, checking for signs of new growth, cutting back and doing a bit of tidying…

Over the past few days I have been admiring the beautiful magnolia flowers in the area, both Magnolia stellata and Magnolia grandiflora are looking fabulous in spite of the recent overnight frosts.  So, I thought this morning as I was driving to work – has mine flowered yet???

Well it has,  AT LAST! (in its own small way, it was a new plant last year).  Ready?

Magnolia Stellata flower opening

Magnolia Stellata flower open

I just love these flowers!  They look amazing with the low sunshine glowing through the petals!  They are the ‘star’ plants in the garden at the moment!

So what else is there?

I had to ‘tame’ the lovely Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’.  It has spread along the raised bed at the side of the garden, it’s making headway in the space that the Phormium used to inhabit.  I had to cut some back as it was overshadowing the neighbouring plants but I wondered if I can get it to root.  I did take a cutting last autumn which is still growing but I don’t know if it is too late in the year to do this now… I will find out soon I guess.

Euphorbia Cuttings Euphorbia sprouting

Also on the shady side of the garden I noticed a really tiny cluster of spotty leaves… very exciting to see – this tiny plant is, deep breath, Dactylorhiza fuchsii (Spotted Orchid).  And yes, I typed that up from the plant label!

Spotted orchid leaves

I’ve just noticed that the leaves have been eaten at the edges!

Moving over to the sunny side of the garden spent some time weeding out foxglove and nigella self sown seedlings.  Then I noticed that the tree peony, also purchased last year is not just alive – I really thought it was going to die – but has FLOWER BUDS!  I counted 5!

Tree peony buds

On top of that the Sambucas Nigra is still alive – it is shooting up so my drastic pruning hasn’t killed it this year!

Happy days, enjoy your gardening!


I had wondered where the winter weather was… but hadn’t quite expected this!

On Saturday morning took a photo of the snowdrops at the front.  They are flowering much later and the clump is much smaller than the snowdrops at the back.  Also I have no idea what variety these are as there is no label to be seen…

small snowdrops black ivy berries in the sunshine

Note to myself – must be more organised! (as always)

The ivy on the front fence, which belongs to our neighbours, looks great – leaves shiny and bright green plus it is full of black berries.  The birds are supposed to like to eat these but they rarely do.  I think it is because this is right next to the pavement and the birds don’t feel very secure.

I took a photo of the insect box when I had a look to see if there were any bees ‘at home’.  Sadly there weren’t but perhaps they will find it next year… It looks so untidy, very unlike the neat ones that you can buy in the shops.  (Don’t suppose that makes any difference to the bees though).

Also the pond has a layer of ice on the top.  No sign of the fish but I think that is a good thing at the moment.  The plant leaves look lovely frozen in place.  Another job for the spring tidy up.

leaves frozen in the pond insect house

Snow starts to fall… Perfect excuse to finalise my list of seeds to order!

Keep warm!

Showers and new shoots

winter sun shining through bambooIt isn’t easy to get out in the garden at the moment…

The showers are blowing along quickly and everywhere is so wet.  The low sunlight through the black bamboo does look lovely though.

Its not a good idea to walk on clay soil (which is heavy enough anyway) so to get to the ‘wild’ corner and the pond I walk across the grass and just stick to the stepping stone path.

clump of snowdrops

I’ve seen spring flowers in other people’s gardens but only have one small clump of snowdrops here.  Perhaps I need to split the clump up after they have flowered…?

Last year I had some double flowers in the front garden but there is no sign of them at all at the moment…

I have some green shoots that may be grape hyacinths but no sign of flowers to give me a clue.  I really should have put some plant labels in the ground rather than trying to remember where the bulbs are.

I have a small success through!  I planted bulbs in the ‘wild’ part of the grass and today noticed that the spring crocus is about to flower!  So far I have four flowers (not a great show, I know) and checking back in my scrapbook I see that I bought 35  ‘snow crocus’ bulbs which are a mixture of  purple, light purple, yellow and white.  So far, my 4 flowers are purple but I’m quite happy that they have grown!

purple crocus in grassThe picture isn’t the most exciting but I think it is a good start to the ‘wild’ patch in the garden.

I also have other bulbs shooting up, these are the alliums that I planted last autumn.  I’m rather confused by this, it is far too early in the year for these isn’t it?

Such strange weather!

Anyway, my next ‘task’ is to choose what veg seeds to buy.  Just the thing to do on a grey, wet, windy day…

Finally, a white Japanese Anemone!

The Japanese Anemone (bought from a supermarket) didn’t like where I planted it last year.  It looked rather sickly and didn’t want to grow new leaves let along flower.  So this Spring I moved it and planted it in the shady side of the garden in the raised beds.  It has had a slow start but looks healthier than last year and has finally flowered!

White Japanese Anemone



It’s still so hot and dry!  Alliums are in flower at the front, choysia is covered in delicate white flowers which have a faint fragrance.  The sorbus has blossom just starting to show and the first aquilegia is out in the back garden.  Dark purple which a white border, a bit like the variety I had two years ago A. ‘William Guinness’.

Seeds – salad leaves have started to sprout, I think the beetroots may be starting too!  The tomato seedlings are growing well BUT I managed to flatten them by watering.  Don’t know if they will straighten up?