It’s Bloomin’ April

The only two surviving tulips in the garden. It will come as no surprise to the seasoned gardener that the bulbs were free, a loyalty hand out from the local garden centre. You can imagine what happened to all the ones I’ve exchanged hard earned cash for.

Bloom Day. I swear the months are getting shorter. And almost a third of the year gone by already. Just how does that happen then?



There is no doubt the season is progressing, even while the late winter bloomers are still going strong. One of my favourite combos on the bank: Hellebores ‘Penny’s Pink’ & ‘Cinderella’ and pulmonaria. Poor Penny is screaming for a knight in shining armour, being in imminent danger of a throttling from Libertia grandiflora. The latter will be coming out to give the hellebore more room.


Lamium orvala


Lamium orvala

Who knew nettles could be so cool? It’s not an invasive one either.


Epimedium x versicolour 'Sulphurium'


Epimedium x versicolour ‘Sulphurium’

The epimediums have almost been and gone, the blooms gradually being overtaken now by the rapidly growing leaves.


Epimedium x warleyense


Epimedium x warleyense

I don’t think I’ve ever had an epimedium with the depth of colour of this one. The back of the petals is scarlet red. It’s possibly the loveliest I’ve ever seen.






Geum 'Flames of Passion'


Geum ‘Flames of Passion’

As a sure sign that Spring is finally here, the geums have just started to emerge this week. It’s heartening to see that last year’s divisions have got off to a good start, I’d like to have great drifts of these.


Geum 'Cotton Candy'


Geum ‘Cotton Candy’. Up periscope.


Geum 'Totally Tangerine'


Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’


Meconopsis cambrica


Meconopsis cambrica, springing up everywhere of their own accord.

The californian poppies of the previous two years have sadly not returned, they don’t seem to self seed in our heavy clay soil. That doesn’t appear to worry the native Welsh poppy (above) so I shall aim to enhance the random effect by deliberately scattering the seed across the face of the bank. Seed is something it produces in abundance once it gets going.


There now follows a Public Health Warning..

Retina burning risk level high. Sunglasses advised.



Azalea, inherited.

Ouch. Stay or go. Which way would you vote?


Camellia japonica 'Adeyaka'


Camellia japonica ‘Adeyaka’

And if I then told you that this beauty sits right alongside the azalea.. would you change your vote? Yes I put it there. Proving beyond reasonable doubt that the gardener is entirely competent. Not.


Camassia leichtlinii


Camassia leichtlinii

Just a single, rather lonely, spike of camassia this year. I moved the bulbs and in doing so obviously alerted the voles to their presence. I suppose I should be grateful they left me one.


Anemone nemorosa 'Robinsoniana'


Anemone nemorosa ‘Robinsoniana’


And finally..



Itoh Peony ‘Pastel Splendor’

I know it’s not a bloom. At least not yet. But in some circumstances special allowances can be made. And if any critter thinks for just one nanosecond that bud is dinner they had better think again. Revenge will be short, swift and proportionate. That critter will be going in a pie.

Itoh watch has officially begun. Wish me luck.


Linking to Carol and Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day (here) at May Dreams Gardens, where you will find a feast of April bloomers from around the world.


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2017-10-26T10:14:44+00:00April 15th, 2017|Tags: |


  1. Brian Skeys April 15, 2017 at 9:06 am - Reply

    Your tulips look like Flaming Spring Green Jassica.

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 5:06 pm - Reply

      I can see where you’re coming from. There’s no green in it though. I do hate it when you buy (or are given in this case) a collection in one packet and they don’t specify the individual names.

  2. justjilluk April 15, 2017 at 9:15 am - Reply

    Just beautiful. I quite like the clash of colours too!

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 5:07 pm - Reply

      It’s definitely a clash.

  3. Cathy April 15, 2017 at 9:21 am - Reply

    What a great little geum that ‘Cotton Candy’ is! I hope you don’t have to get the pie dishes out and that nothing messes with your peony delight this year!

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 5:19 pm - Reply

      All the geums are looking sprightly this year. Pie dishes still safely in the cupboard πŸ™‚

  4. Charles April 15, 2017 at 9:42 am - Reply

    Such violence on the Itoh watch, most unlike you! I would make sure the other half does not sabotage it and blame the deer….it’s the sort of thing I would do. Up in Somerset it is the sparrows that eat beetroot, lettuce and spinach that drive me mad. Funnily enough they do not touch carrots, spring onions or radishes, obviously on some modern faddy diet.

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 5:27 pm - Reply

      It’s weird, I’ve never seen a sparrow in this garden. Other gardens in the village yes, but never here. I think perhaps I should put the field camera on the Itoh, just to eliminate the possibility of any misunderstanding.

  5. VP April 15, 2017 at 9:44 am - Reply

    I do like Epimediums, and every year when I see them on posts like yours I wonder why I haven’t got round to planting any yet. Re the Azalea question… it stays if you have somewhere dull and shady to put it. I had something similar in my shaded side garden and I was glad to have it lighten the gloom. Have a great Easter Jessica!

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 6:03 pm - Reply

      You too Michelle.
      Epimedium blooms can be tiny, they look much bigger on photos using the macro. That’s why I like this red one so much, it really shows up in the border even though it is relatively new and has only the one flower spike. I hope it survives, it will look marvellous as a large clump.

  6. ourfrenchoasis April 15, 2017 at 10:40 am - Reply

    Our last two remaining tulips were also the same variegated colour, they are quite literally on their last legs now! I wish the months would slow down! As for the Azalea, it’s certainly bright but it’s the shock of vibrant colour that is what I love, whether it appears slightly out of place or not, I would keep it, even if for no other reason than it’s a surprise and starts a conversation! Have a very Happy Easter x

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 6:08 pm - Reply

      Happy Easter to you too.
      I can’t believe how quickly this year is going. It will be summer before we know it and I just want to savour Spring! Our predecessor loved his azaleas. This is perhaps the most strident of a particularly feisty bunch. They can probably be seen from space.

  7. wherefivevalleysmeet April 15, 2017 at 11:24 am - Reply

    The Azalea would defintely stay in our garden Jessica, I have a husband who will not let go of anything, if it has life it stays even if it is on it’s last legs.
    Lots of lovely little Geum gems’ to enjoy in your garden at the moment.

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 6:12 pm - Reply

      I’m a bit the same. There isn’t much that I’ve thrown away as I’ve redesigned the garden. Given that there’s so much space to fill I’ve tended to move things around. I should really learn a lesson though. If I don’t like it in one place it’s unlikely I’ll have changed my mind after I’ve gone to all the trouble of digging it up and replanting it.

  8. bumbleandme April 15, 2017 at 11:48 am - Reply

    Beautiful flowers Jessica. I don’t know where the months are going…… the azalea should stay I’m afraid…. xxx

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 6:13 pm - Reply

      Thanks. There are too many votes for keeping the azalea. I think it’s probably won a reprieve.

  9. Henriet from Holland April 15, 2017 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    There are limits in a garden. That azalea marks an extreme limit I suppose. Literally a border-plant? But keep it, because otherwise another plant has to take on that role.
    I share your admiration for the Itoh!

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 6:19 pm - Reply

      There was another azalea, vivid post box red, in the terraces which I dug up and shoved in a corner. It looks much better glimpsed through other foliage and seen from a distance. It may be that this one needs to find a similar hidey hole.

  10. Denise April 15, 2017 at 2:00 pm - Reply

    Watching ‘Gardeners’ World’ last night, the lovely Monty encouraged viewers to nominate their own gardening heroes by emailing the BBC – so I nominated YOU, Mrs Rusty Duck! And reading this post I realised I was quite right to do so. Ha!

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 6:22 pm - Reply

      I’m glad you’re joking Denise. You are.. aren’t you?

      • Denise April 16, 2017 at 7:17 pm - Reply

        Nope. Not a joke. A definite email sent to Gardeners’ World nominating you. Of course, if they have any sense they’ll follow up my recommendation and do a proper feature on you and your garden. Fingers crossed! (And how could you even THINK I would joke about such a thing…tut…)

        • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 8:00 pm - Reply

          How about one of those features where they come and do the garden for you? That Carol Klein is always up for a challenge. It wouldn’t cost them much in travelling expenses either.

  11. Rosie April 15, 2017 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    Lovely April blooms. I always love your Geums and they are showing their faces here too now. The tulips are very pretty we have two black parrot ones out at the moment, the others haven’t appeared this year. Happy Easter:)

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 8:23 pm - Reply

      Black parrot tulips are lovely. I wish I could grow them with greater success. I’m going to have to try pots I think. Happy Easter Rosie.

  12. dianthap April 15, 2017 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    Stay! And I think those colors are lovely next to each other.

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 8:28 pm - Reply

      Hello and welcome!
      It’s certainly an arresting combination. I think I’d find them even in the dark.

  13. Lea April 15, 2017 at 2:16 pm - Reply

    Stay or go? Stay!
    Happy Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day!
    Happy Easter!

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 8:29 pm - Reply

      I think it won the vote, it gets to stay!
      Happy Easter Lea.

  14. Chloris April 15, 2017 at 2:22 pm - Reply

    Oh yes stay! Azaleas are supposed to be sweetie colours. Your lovely geums are well ahead of mine. Peony buds are as exciting as the flowers. I watch my 3 Peaonia rockii every day with mounting excitement.

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 8:38 pm - Reply

      I dread to think how many e-numbers are in that azalea then. Good luck with P rockii, it’s a beauty.

  15. Linda B. April 15, 2017 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    I am only growing one Geum and looking at yours I can see i need to get shopping! The foliage on that Itoh peony would nicely moderate the Azalea and the Camellia. Some kind of dark purple rather than silver or white. Or maybe you need a deep coral. I would try to figure out a way to make them work together as they both look spectacular.

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 8:41 pm - Reply

      Dark purple sounds like a good plan and I will do some research. It would need to be evergreen/purple to be sure. There’s a purple berberis already close by but not fully in leaf yet.

  16. Ellie April 15, 2017 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    I vote Stay – Christopher Lloyd would be all in favour of the pink azalea and red/pink camellia together. You can’t beat a bit of bright fuchsia to lift the spirits!
    Best wishes and keep enjoying your beautiful plants.

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 8:46 pm - Reply

      Hi Ellie and welcome.
      You’re right, it’s very Christopher Lloyd. It stays.

  17. plantbirdwoman April 15, 2017 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    Bloomin’ April is beautiful in your garden – just like every other bloomin’ month. Happy Bloom Day.

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 8:46 pm - Reply

      Thanks Dorothy.

  18. Pauline April 15, 2017 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    My vote is that the Azalea should stay too Jessica! April is such a superb month for flowers, there is so much choice. Must go and see if my Camassias are ready to flower yet, I didn’t notice them yesterday.

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 8:48 pm - Reply

      I shall have to get more camassia bulbs. One on its own looks rather pathetic!

  19. wherethejourneytakesme April 15, 2017 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    Your garden looking spectacular as usual – I have still got tulips but cannot keep Hellebores – cannot find a reason why they just don’t seem to like my garden! I know what you mean about the Azalea but such a shame to give it the chop too – I’ll go with whatever you decide! Have a good Easter. Viv

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 9:00 pm - Reply

      I hate pulling healthy plants just because they don’t ‘fit’. I shall take up Linda’s suggestion above and swamp it with purple!

  20. Torrington Tina April 15, 2017 at 8:07 pm - Reply

    So the consensus is that the azalea should stay, but if it goes I would happily offer it a home – I am cheeky. I used to have a lovely huge ‘Wombat’ in a pot in Yorkshire and when in flower it cheered me up every day as I walked to and from my car. What a range of colour you have, I love your Epimedium x warleyense and the Geums. Gorgeous. Happy Easter.

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 9:09 pm - Reply

      Happy Easter to you both.
      The azalea hugs the ground quite well, I’ll try a layering for you. You may not thank me though. I don’t think the picture fully prepares you for seeing it in reality.

  21. Torrington Tina April 15, 2017 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    PS I confine my tulips to pots near the house which seems to work, it is pheasants I am suffering from right now, they seem to have taken a fancy to my Euonymus ‘Gold Tip’!

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 9:16 pm - Reply

      Well the pheasants may have good taste but they are such a nuisance. Our Ptolemy seems to be sufficiently occupied with his ladies at the moment. The deer was back this afternoon though. I think tulips in pots is the way to go. And I thought I’d try a limited experiment with species tulips in the ground for next year.

  22. Kris P April 15, 2017 at 8:16 pm - Reply

    Your Itoh peony has a bud! Mine has foliage but, last time I looked, no bud, but you can bet I’ll be out the door shortly to give it another check. (Ditto my Geums.) I’m sorry that your nasty voles discovered the Camassia – that’s another of my favorites among the large number of plants I can’t grow. I remain tempted to try growing Epimediums again, even if my western garden guide says there’s no chance at all of survival in my current location. Happy GBBD!

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 9:22 pm - Reply

      I am watching that bud every day. It doesn’t seem to be growing very fast. I bought the plant without seeing the bloom, so I really hope I like it after all the anticipation!

  23. Anne April 15, 2017 at 8:18 pm - Reply

    I agree with the majority – the azalea should stay! Red and pink are a great combination and you may need cheering up on a rainy day. Your garden is full of glorious colour so let’s hope the critters give you a break over Easter.

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 9:25 pm - Reply

      The deer was back today but as far as I could see he was nibbling weeds which is of course allowed!

  24. Alison C April 15, 2017 at 8:20 pm - Reply

    Christopher Lloyd would be pround of you for your clashing colours. He was never afraid of a bit of drama. Your geums are exquisite as are the epimediums. I put one epimedium in last year and it has one tiny flower spike, I suppose thet will be it for this year now.

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 9:41 pm - Reply

      Hi Alison and welcome!
      I’ve tried quite a few epimediums now. One didn’t make it. The others have grown gradually over the first couple of years in our heavy clay soil and then suddenly taken off. A perfect example of sleep, creep, leap.

  25. CJ April 15, 2017 at 8:45 pm - Reply

    Oh my, that tulip, it’s absolutely sensational. I think keep the azalea too, it’s doing so well. And it’s always good to have a spot in the garden that makes you go wow. The camellia is beautiful by the way, they are one of my favourites. CJ xx

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 9:45 pm - Reply

      The azalea is one of those that we chopped back to the ground and then relocated from the edge of the lawn. It has proved its robustness. No flowers last year but now look at it. It deserves a break.

  26. An Eye For Detail April 15, 2017 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    I definitely vote to stay! Pink and red: what could be better??? So much activity in the garden.. don’t we love Spring?

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 9:48 pm - Reply

      OK, everyone has convinced me it could work. By the time they’re fully grown you’ll be able to see them from across the pond.

  27. woolythymes April 16, 2017 at 2:14 am - Reply

    i cannot believe you have so much beauty in full bloom so early… newly acquired bees would love your garden!!!

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 9:52 pm - Reply

      Plenty of bees around for sure. Now you’ve got bees you’ll need blooms. What better excuse to be out in the garden!

  28. Beth @ PlantPostings April 16, 2017 at 2:45 am - Reply

    Oh it’s Epimedium time for you! We are just coming up on that, so just a little behind this year. You have a lovely collection of Geums. I have none and I want some! Happy Bloom Day!

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 10:00 pm - Reply

      I’ve just had a quick look back at last April and by a gnat’s whisker we appear to be ahead. It doesn’t feel like it though. It’s chilly, almost down to zero at night.

  29. Virginia April 16, 2017 at 5:23 am - Reply

    The Azalea is definitely a ‘stayer’ in my book. What a lovely varied show you have, particularly of the Geums. You certainly earned that wonderful holiday, didn’t you! Happy Easter to you both.

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 10:06 pm - Reply

      The geums are really getting their act together now. Even more out today. They spread well too and give me great ground cover. Cracking plant! I hope you both had a good Easter too.

  30. Cathy April 16, 2017 at 8:17 am - Reply

    Yes, the months come round just too quickly these days…😐 It always amazes me how early your geums are as I don’t think there are even buds on mine (except G rivale) – but I shall have to go out and check to make sure! The pink lamium is pretty and, being non-invasive, is something worth investigating…

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 10:11 pm - Reply

      The geums are just starting really. It was difficult to find a good photo angle for a couple of them, the first few blooms to open always seem a bit wimpish. And some have been nibbled already!

      • Cathy April 17, 2017 at 1:12 pm - Reply

        I have checked – and have buds too! Can’t believe I didn’t notice them before, so I am grateful for the prompt that your post gave πŸ™‚

        • Jessica April 18, 2017 at 2:55 pm - Reply

          Woo hoo!

  31. derrickjknight April 16, 2017 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    I get two cracks at your delightful posts. First Jackie (Stockley) who gets to them first, reads out your entertaining text; later, I reach them on my reader, and get to enjoy the delicious photographs.

    • Jessica April 16, 2017 at 10:18 pm - Reply

      Thank you for your kind words Derrick. I wish I had someone to help me, I’m hopelessly behind with blog reading. About three days behind I think at the last count.

  32. germac4 April 16, 2017 at 11:35 pm - Reply

    I love all the blossoms but the tulip is gorgeous! I think I’ve got spring envy..

    • Jessica April 18, 2017 at 2:55 pm - Reply

      In six months time it will be the other way round..

  33. Of The Edge Gardening April 17, 2017 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    My favourite epimedium too! Fingers crossed for the peony, I have a good feeling it will be just fine. πŸ™‚

    • Jessica April 18, 2017 at 2:56 pm - Reply

      I am keeping a very close eye on it!

  34. snowbird April 19, 2017 at 8:36 pm - Reply

    It’s a yes from me for the Azalea! I’m smiling re your free tulips, all two of them! Why is that always the case? I love your nettle and geums, especially cotton

    • Jessica April 19, 2017 at 9:12 pm - Reply

      It’s a shame Bloom Day wasn’t this week, we are awash with geums now. They are lovely little plants.

  35. Luise Kehr April 20, 2017 at 8:32 am - Reply

    I vote stay, it’s such a healthy, vigorous looking plant, and I adore the color. I sympathize regarding the critters, in our farm garden in Austria we’ve planted almost everything in wire mesh to keep out the voles and mice, and more wire around the hedge, since that alone won’t keep the deer out.

    • Jessica April 20, 2017 at 11:01 am - Reply

      Hi Luise and welcome!
      The critters are a real mixed blessing. I love to see them in the garden, especially the deer. But they can be so destructive. I’ve given up growing vegetables almost entirely.

  36. angie the freckled rose April 21, 2017 at 8:55 pm - Reply

    Hello lovely blooms! Wowza, everything is just gorgeous. That Camellia is so beautiful πŸ™‚

    • Jessica April 22, 2017 at 6:33 pm - Reply

      Thanks Angie πŸ™‚

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