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.


2018-04-15T09:22:32+00:00April 15th, 2018|Tags: |


  1. catmint April 15, 2018 at 9:43 am - Reply

    The spring flowers are lovely, and look really special with your closeup photography. I must get that Euphorbia Rainbow Ascot. Good luck with your latest acquisitions.

    • Jessica April 16, 2018 at 9:04 pm - Reply

      It’s a great euphorbia. Good colour in the foliage as well as the blooms.

  2. derrickjknight April 15, 2018 at 9:53 am - Reply

    Photography as beautiful as ever – but watch that neck and back when you get down for some of the shots. That pulmonary cascade is lovely.

    • Jessica April 16, 2018 at 9:06 pm - Reply

      I thought I’d been so clever planting the hellebores at eye level too. Cinderella is demure even by their standards.

  3. Mary April 15, 2018 at 11:59 am - Reply

    Well, you might have to rationalize those purchases to Mike, but never to this crowd. Excellent photos and great selection. Happy planting…when it dries up a bit.

    • Jessica April 16, 2018 at 9:08 pm - Reply

      Thanks Mary. Planting is well underway. It needs to be because I think I’ve just talked him into another plant fair. Possibly..

  4. wildlifegardenerblog April 15, 2018 at 1:12 pm - Reply

    Gorgeous photos, and I’m feeling extremely envious as we sit here under 6 inches of snow with freezing rain arriving today. Spring no where to be found….

    • Jessica April 16, 2018 at 9:20 pm - Reply

      Spring has been a bit hit and miss here too. The snow would appear to have departed (fingers crossed) but torrential rain has made up for it and today strong wind. This afternoon I actually dug up a recently planted maple, for its own protection!

  5. grammapenny April 15, 2018 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    You have soooo much more blooming than we do here in Massachusetts.I like the pulmonaria wave on the hill.. I have pulmonaria that needs moving, I have a hill. And now I have a new project…….

    • Jessica April 16, 2018 at 9:24 pm - Reply

      Ha ha! Good luck. It’s really easy to move but be careful where you put it.. it does spread and shows no mercy for any less thuggish plants around it.

  6. Alistair April 15, 2018 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    Look at all those fabulous Spring blooms. I reckon it will be another 10 days or so before we reach this stage. Not that I have as many to show.

    • Jessica April 16, 2018 at 9:31 pm - Reply

      We seem to be catching up big time after the cold start to Spring. I’m watching an acer coming into leaf at the bottom of the lawn and reckon I can almost see it happening. The difference each day is staggering. I hope this means that finally, finally the promised warm weather will come. Atlantic winds today though. And how.

  7. Heyjude April 15, 2018 at 2:15 pm - Reply

    Hahaha… love your rationalisation theory!! Good luck with that one! You have soo many lovely blooms in your garden, I feel like I have visited in person. Your pulmonaria is gorgeous! Love how packed it is. And yes, maybe a dose of colder temperatures forces some of our plants to spur into action. Mild and wet just makes them as lethargic as us. I also love the Euphorbia x martinii ‘Ascot Rainbow’. I am ready to go on a spending spree now (though I have already spent a small fortune on plants and seeds unknown to the OH. My rationalisation is the sooner I cover the bare soil the sooner I shall have less weeding to do!)

    • Jessica April 16, 2018 at 9:37 pm - Reply

      You’re so right about covering the bare soil. I’ve spent the last week or so dividing perennials and it’s so satisfying. Four plants out of one, knowing they will fill out over the summer and soon cover four times the space the original one used to. Much less weeding!

  8. Peter Herpst April 15, 2018 at 3:41 pm - Reply

    So very beautiful! The pulmonaria cascade is breathtaking and I adore the tulip/muscari combination. You purchased some fabulous new plants. Happy GBBD!

    • Jessica April 16, 2018 at 9:41 pm - Reply

      The tulip/muscari thing happened quite by chance. I’ve planted them out next to an emerging purple leaved geranium (wowser!) which I hope will also hide the bulb foliage as it dies back.

  9. Ali April 15, 2018 at 5:38 pm - Reply

    I just love Tulipa hageri ‘Little Beauty’. So aptly named. And your ‘Cinderella’ hellebore. And ‘Leonard Messell’. And your pulmonarias! Lovely selection. Oh, and the sun!

    • Jessica April 16, 2018 at 9:44 pm - Reply

      The sun was lovely. Didn’t last long but it was wonderful for a while. Hopefully by the end of the week we’ll see it again. Right now though it’s blowing a gale..

  10. Dorothy Borders April 15, 2018 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    Your early spring blooms are just gorgeous, especially that lovely cascade down the bank. All are just a preview of more loveliness to come. Happy Bloom Day!

    • Jessica April 16, 2018 at 9:51 pm - Reply

      I hope so Dorothy. As the garden is maturing it does improve a little more every year. It’s quite exciting watching that happen.

  11. Linda B. from Each Little World April 15, 2018 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    Everything looks appropriately spring-like in your garden. Love the tulip/muscari combo. This year I am trying not to spring load purchases too much as it gets to be a problem if I have my spring chores etc and lots of new things to plant. But I do still have three gift certificates to different nurseries so more purchasing will definitely be done.

    • Jessica April 16, 2018 at 9:55 pm - Reply

      Yes it’s a bit frantic. Not helped by the sudden whoosh of Spring now that the weather is finally warming up (I hope!). I don’t have enough hours in the day. My solution over the last couple of years has been to heel plants into what used to be a veg bed, it just gives me a bit more time to get their permanent home ready for them.

  12. Anne April 15, 2018 at 8:52 pm - Reply

    Lovely Spring blooms Jessica, beautifully photographed. I have the amelanchior, geum and euphorbia martinii in my garden so you have made a good choice there, I can highly recommend them. The Leonard Messell was bred at Nymans, just up the road from me, it is a wonderful magnolia. You need them all – how’s that for rationalisation?

    • Jessica April 16, 2018 at 10:01 pm - Reply

      I have been after several plants on the list for a good few years now, including the amelanchier. It’s only recently that I’ve found the space to put one so I’m really looking forward to seeing all the different stages through this year. Its leaves are just beginning to open..

  13. […] where spring has already peaked) … Led Up the Garden Path (Devon, England) … Rusty Duck, with so many gorgeous flowers (also in Devon, England) … A Guide to Northeast Gardening in […]

  14. Beth @ PlantPostings April 15, 2018 at 10:35 pm - Reply

    Oh, that last Corydalis is stunning! I must agree with your idea of front-loading on the plant purchases–seriously, it really makes sense. And, of course, you must re-evaluate later in the season, as well. 😉 I’m happy spring has sprung for you! I thought we were well on our way, as well, and then Mother Nature whipped a last blast of winter back in our part of the U.S. Oh well, it will end soon. Happy Bloom Day!

    • Jessica April 16, 2018 at 10:09 pm - Reply

      This year it’s felt like winter is never going to end, even more so for you I know. Front loading is a good idea, but as Linda said above it sure does make for a busy Spring. And this evening I’ve actually dug a newly planted specimen up again, an acer, to protect it from the ferocious wind we’re having over the next day or so!

  15. Diana Studer April 15, 2018 at 11:14 pm - Reply

    Absolutely – would love an Italian arum – such pretty marbled leaves.

    • Jessica April 16, 2018 at 10:11 pm - Reply

      Yes it’s lovely, spreads nicely too so provides good ground cover even in the more shady areas of the garden.

  16. Jenni Dennis April 16, 2018 at 1:55 am - Reply

    Your spring is sounding a lot like ours here in the PNW. However, you do have lovely blooms despite the cold and yuck. 2 thumbs up on purchases euphorbia ‘rainbow ascot’ and geum ‘totally tangerine’, I’ve had mine for a few years and they do not disappoint! Front loading plant purchases seems more than reasonable. Of course emergent situations may occur or a lovely new pot may beckon you to fill it! These things just cannot be planned for 😉

    • Jessica April 16, 2018 at 10:25 pm - Reply

      This must be my fifth or sixth Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’, I have it all over the garden I love it so much. The euphorbia has the makings of a firm favourite too. It’s tricky isn’t it, anticipating everything we might need at the beginning of the year. The pot situation I hadn’t thought of.. but you’re absolutely right!

  17. Joanne Toft April 16, 2018 at 2:59 am - Reply

    Lovely and the images are perfect! So fun to see what is blooming since I am in the middle of high winds and snow in Minnesota, USA. I would prefer to join you in your garden. Thanks for the tour!

    • Jessica April 16, 2018 at 10:38 pm - Reply

      Hi Joanne and welcome.
      High winds here too tonight but thankfully coming from the south so no snow. It’s bad timing though, leaves are just starting to burst forth from bare branches and ripping winds are not what we need. You’ve had a long winter, I do hope Spring finds you soon!

  18. It is considered rude, bad manners and a sign of poor breeding if you don’t purchase at least one thing from a nursery. Who wants to be known as an uppity, cheap snob? It was correct that you purchased the plants – your reputation must remain spotless. Anytime you need help squashing feelings of guilt for buying a much needed seedling, let me know and I will offer all the helpful support you need.


    • Jessica April 16, 2018 at 10:44 pm - Reply

      Ah, I knew my fellow gardeners would support me! I fear I may be slightly addicted to plants but as addictions go it has to be one of the better ones.

  19. Kris P April 16, 2018 at 3:58 am - Reply

    Well, all that rain seems to have done your garden (if not the gardener) good. I’ve been feeling some confusion about hellebores in my own part of the world. Everywhere else, they seem to bloom toward the end of winter as temperatures just begin to hint of spring. I’ve complained that I had no blooms whatsoever from them this year and, as our own temperatures veered toward summer-like heights, I’d written off even the two that have frequently graced my garden with a few blooms in prior years. Then, this month, with the temperature reaching above 90F on 2 occasions, I’ve got blooms from both ‘Phoebe’ and ‘Anna’s Red’. It’s just downright weird.

    As to your plant purchases, kudos! Although I’ve featured some of my recent purchases on my own blog, those I shared are far fewer than those I haven’t. While fall may be the best time to plant here, spring is the second best as, as summer is already breathing hot on our heels, times a-wastin’! (This is not to suggest that I actually stop buying plants in summer, even though I should.)

    • Jessica April 16, 2018 at 10:55 pm - Reply

      ‘Rules’ are made to be broken. I’ve dug up and shifted plants in the middle of summer (albeit not as hot as yours) many times and as long as I can give them plenty of water they usually make it. The trouble is if I have an idea then it has to happen. Then and there. Autumn planting here is risky too though. Not much likes to sit through winter in cold, wet, heavy soil. Not when they haven’t had the time to get their roots down.

  20. Pauline April 16, 2018 at 5:55 am - Reply

    That is spme plant list, I’m still trying to plant those I bought last year! Thank goodness the weather is changing this week, half the garden here is still sodden, I can’t get near it to work on it. The awful winter doesn’t seem to have affected your beautiful blooms, I’m sure everything will catch up eventually.

    • Jessica April 17, 2018 at 7:44 am - Reply

      I still have some from last year too, sunk into the veggie garden for safe keeping! It will be good to see some sunshine won’t it. This wind is worrying me now, already I’m having to search for a plant’s ‘good side’ for a photograph.

  21. germac4 April 16, 2018 at 6:24 am - Reply

    Your spring flowers are looking gorgeous … And I have a soft spot for Cinderella looking very demure under her many petticoats.

    • Jessica April 17, 2018 at 7:46 am - Reply

      Cinderella is lovely. I thought I’d lost it when it didn’t bloom but it seems to send up flowers at the same time as the new leaves. I’m sure it didn’t do that last year.

  22. Christina April 16, 2018 at 7:38 am - Reply

    I love the expanse of the Pulmonaria, I’d just leave it to do its thing, it looks so happy. We appreciate everything all the more when it’s late arriving, don’t you think. No excuses needed for the plants. Good list!!!

    • Jessica April 17, 2018 at 7:55 am - Reply

      The pulmonaria looks fabulous right now. Less so when it’s over blooming because it then leaves a low green streak across the bank which breaks the flow of the summer planting. I’ve had an idea though. I plan to punch a few small holes in it and tuck in some Geranium ‘Rozanne’ which will spread through the pulmonaria and continue the river effect all through the season. I hope!

  23. Cathy April 16, 2018 at 8:59 am - Reply

    Yes, what a wonderful bank of pulmonaria – did it start with just one plant, I wonder? You have shown us some lustwothy plants today and admitted to a most interesting list. I tend to use a similar rationalisation fir my plant purchases! 😀

    • Jessica April 17, 2018 at 7:59 am - Reply

      The pulmonaria has sprung up all by itself. The bank used to be covered in tall conifer trees. It maybe that some found its way into the forest years ago. When we had the trees removed it took the opportunity to take over!

  24. ks April 16, 2018 at 4:00 pm - Reply

    I’m very much in favor of rationalization in the defense of gardening activities. Lovely photos of your spring blooms this month !

    • Jessica April 17, 2018 at 8:03 am - Reply

      I figure that as I don’t need a lot of shoes or expensive clothes I can redirect the spend towards the garden. Is that another rationalisation?!

  25. SmallP April 16, 2018 at 4:22 pm - Reply

    Wow, wow, wow. Spring is my fave time of year and your photos just go to prove it. What a stunning display you have to lift the spirits after a particularly damp and dank few weeks. It was a real treat to have a sneak peak under Cinderella’s skirts too, What a beauty she is. Thanks so much. SmallP xx

    • Jessica April 17, 2018 at 8:06 am - Reply

      Thanks. It’s been a miserable Spring so far hasn’t it. I just hope that the rest of the season, and summer, will make up for it.

  26. offtheedgegardening April 16, 2018 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    I knew the fuchsia was in good hands! Such a lovely plant to join all your other wonders. The pulmonaria cascade is fabulous, and actaea is one of my favourite daffs. I MUST (and yes I am shouting) come and visit soon. Happy spring to you xxx

    • Jessica April 17, 2018 at 8:09 am - Reply

      The fuchsia has a second bunch of flower buds now.
      You’d be very welcome. I could do with your advice on many things. I’ll email you. 🙂

  27. snowbird April 17, 2018 at 12:01 am - Reply

    Wow,so many gorgeous plants, maybe you are right, a proper winter may bring thing along! Loving all your new purchases, I’m going to be optimistic about them all!!! xxx

    • Jessica April 17, 2018 at 8:13 am - Reply

      We have to be optimistic don’t we! I do feel sorry for planting them out sometimes. They have had a sheltered early life, come from the nursery looking pristine and full of promise.. only to be sunk into less than ideal soil on a wet and windy hillside. How could I do it?

  28. Sue C. April 17, 2018 at 10:32 am - Reply

    What a lovely selection of plants – both those photographed and those bought! I like the Hacquetia – have made a note of those, not a plant I’ve used, but I’m hoping to extend my shady/ woodland border once the ivy is cleared. look forward to more photos of your new acquisitions – some interesting shrubs there.

    • Jessica April 18, 2018 at 8:05 am - Reply

      I’m getting huge pleasure out of shrubs this Spring, especially as the magnolia has now bloomed. I tried growing seeds from Decaisnea but failed so I’m pleased to have found it. A further battle with ivy is on my list for today as well. It’s quite a job isn’t it.

  29. smallsunnygarden April 17, 2018 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    Wonderful spring lovelies – especially the tulip/muscari combo! Trying to visualize it with the geranium foliage too – sounds fabulous. 😉 I’ve cut myself back (a bit) on purchases as it seems everything not only must be planted, but also caged till securely established now. Yikes! The Magnolia is splendid! Is it fragrant at all?

    • Jessica April 18, 2018 at 8:08 am - Reply

      To be honest I don’t know if the magnolia is fragrant. I don’t think so. It’s planted on one of the steepest parts of the bank so it is generally something to be admired from afar. Or with a long lens!

  30. willisjw April 17, 2018 at 6:08 pm - Reply

    Lovely plants and an equally lovely rationalization… 🙂
    I like Hacquetia a lot and for me the follow-on plant is Hylomecon japonicum. I always seem to associate the two though in reality the Hylomecon lags by two to three weeks. Thor looks cute in your picture but I can’t help but wonder if you will find it next year in your garden and wonder what went wrong with your Hacquetia…
    We had 85 degrees four days ago and it nearly froze last night. And today is cold enough to encourage blog-reading…

    • Jessica April 18, 2018 at 8:17 am - Reply

      I looked up Hylomecon japonicum which conveniently led me to one of my favourite nurseries which stocks it. Thanks for that tip! I will certainly be growing Thor on a bit before planting it. But to be fair to it there is a new leaf since I took the picture and that was less than a week ago. It may turn out to be tougher than it looks.
      We have a similar roller coaster with the weather. Yesterday was study bound, today looks much brighter. A return to mulching I hope!

  31. Jo April 22, 2018 at 10:51 am - Reply

    What a wonderful array of spring blooms and a wonderful selection of purchases too. How lovely that your magnolia made it in time for Bloom Day, I’ve never grown them myself but there’s one in the communal gardens where my parents live and it’s stunning.

    • Jessica April 22, 2018 at 8:05 pm - Reply

      They don’t last very long, that’s the only problem. Mine is dropping petals already. And then they can get frosted and not reach their peak at all. It’s a lottery, but for the good years it really is worth it. They are stunning.

  32. Freda April 22, 2018 at 9:17 pm - Reply

    What variety! Including the new haul. I love when things you have forgotten about appear again…

    • Jessica April 22, 2018 at 10:29 pm - Reply

      It’s lovely to see things reappearing after winter that I’d forgotten about. Sweetens the pill a bit after all the things that didn’t make it. Spring has been so late this year there are still plants in the ‘will they, won’t they’ stage. But every morning on my tour of inspection there is more to see. I can but hope!

  33. Isadora Guidoni April 24, 2018 at 7:13 pm - Reply

    Finally a beautiful blooming, right? I love spring, but I kinda have the feeling we couldn’t really enjoy it this year. Feels like winter took forever to end.

    • Jessica April 25, 2018 at 9:51 am - Reply

      It certainly did. And it’s not properly ended yet. We are back to cool temperatures and rain this week 🙁

  34. pollymacleod April 26, 2018 at 9:40 pm - Reply

    Rationalisation is the way forward Jessica 🙂 Beautiful photos of beautiful blooms.

    • Jessica April 27, 2018 at 11:53 am - Reply

      Rationalisation is definitely the way forward. I’m finding more uses for it each and every day! Thanks Polly.

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