April is Bloomin’ Lovely

Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata'


Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’

It’s been such a strange Spring. And it’s not only me who is confused. In the very same border as burgeoning peony buds, nestling up with one another in fact, I came across the Daphne. I’d pretty much given up on it to be honest, what with it being a winter blooming shrub. Winter, although it may be hard to credit this year, is different from mid April. The Daphne is not alone.


Helleborus 'Cinderella'


Helleborus ‘Cinderella’

There was a moment of déjà vu as I took this shot. It must have been the crick in the neck. Or the strain on the lower back. Reminding me that Cinders has featured on the blog before. Even though she is planted at eye level it takes some manoeuvring to get under her skirts, which is how it should be after all. But here she is, having burst forth only in the last day or two. Not even the molluscs have found her yet.


Tulip hageri 'Little Beauty'


Tulip hageri ‘Little Beauty’

But there are unmistakable signs of Spring now and the weather forecast for the coming week sees us in the higher teens. The bulbs planted in pots last autumn are really starting to strut their stuff. It is wonderful to have their colour around the place, having been bulbless for so many years. It’s still my intention to migrate them into the garden, to see if the theory of planting ‘in the green’ really does help to deter the mice. Muscari latifolium makes such a good partner, they will go in the ground together methinks.

Narcissus 'Actaea'

Narcissus ‘Actaea’

Taller than I thought it would be but still a classy daff.


Anemone nemorosa 'Robinsoniana'


Anemone nemorosa ‘Robinsoniana’


Magnolia x loebneri 'Leonard Messel'


Magnolia x loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’

And then there is this, making it just in time for Bloom Day. I’ve been nurturing this shrub for years, at least five, and it’s never borne more than one or two blooms at a time. This year it is covered.


Magnolia x loebneri 'Leonard Messel'


Just bootiful.




The pulmonaria cascade is larger than ever this year. I fear it may be time to start digging some of them up.


Viburnum carlessii 'Aurora'


Viburnum carlessii ‘Aurora’. Another first time bloomer. Perhaps a reversion to ‘proper’ winter has been no bad thing?



Hacquetia epipactis

This woodland gem has appeared on the blog before and is still going strong. But now I’ve found its stablemate..


Hacquetia epipactis 'Thor'


Hacquetia epipactis ‘Thor’

Moniker notwithstanding, it seems far too delicate to subject to the rigours of life on the hill. Perhaps grow it on for a little longer first!


Fuchsia arborescens


Fuchsia arborescens

A gift from my good friend Gill Heavens (here). Unlike Thor it is a little too tender to survive outdoors and enjoys a comfortable life in the greenhouse.



Euphorbia x martinii ‘Ascot Rainbow’

Against the backdrop of that soon-to-be-vibrant red azalea..


So many people asked what I’d bought at Burrow Farm Gardens I thought I’d better come clean. In fact, I thought I’d better come clean about the whole of last week as the indulgence wasn’t limited to just one garden.

The trouble, as so very often, started with the English weather. As weeks go, it was a wet one. Even by Devon standards. Far too wet to garden and I know because I tried, reducing my borders to a mud bath in the process. And so we decided, on the spur of the moment, literally on the same day as it happens, to go to a plant fair in Cornwall. It was raining there too. So much so that the car had to be towed out of a field by a tractor. That’s another story. But what with all the hassle and the eye-watering cost of entry to the show I did feel obliged to get my money’s worth. *

On the way home we had to stop off at the Duchy of Cornwall Plant Nursery. They have an all day restaurant you see. And starting out late in the day we’d missed out on lunch. *

Then of course there was the visit to Burrow Farm Gardens. Which was also a spur of the moment decision on account of the weather. And as you all seemed to agree in the comments to the last post, one really can’t visit a private garden and not make at least a token purchase in the nursery. *

There is one final point of context to add. I’ve decided to front load plant purchases this year. Surely this makes sense, greatly enhancing the prospects for a plant’s survival by giving it the maximum possible time in the ground before winter sets in again. It sounds perfectly plausible to me. * Even Mike had to agree. I know what you’re thinking. But let’s keep our suspicions to ourselves shall we. I wouldn’t want to prejudice the case against any unforeseen/emergency acquisitions further down the line.


Combined haul:

Amelanchier lamarckii

Stachyurus praecox

Decaisnea fargesii

Euphorbia x martinii ‘Ascot Rainbow’

Euphorbia characias ‘Silver Swan’

Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Overdam’ (large plant, good price, will split into two maybe even four.. *)

Sanguisorba menziesii

Hacquetia epipactis ‘Thor’

Paeonia cambessedessii

Arum italicum ‘Pictum’

Corydalis solida ‘George Baker’

Corydalis temulifolia ‘Chocolate Stars’

Lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Valentine’

Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’


* Rationalisation (in Psychology) is the use of feeble but seemingly plausible arguments either to justify something that is difficult to accept or to make it seem ‘not so bad after all’. (ref. Neel Burton MD, Self Deception 1: Rationalization, 2012, Psychology Today).


Seems to work…


Corydalis solida 'George Baker'


Corydalis solida ‘George Baker’


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