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Monday, 30 April 2012

April flowers

April, the month of blossoms. It all started out with everything rushing into bloom after the unexpected warm spell in late March, and then came the cool weather and continual April showers, interspersed with sun. It's been a very strange month weather wise with daytime highs often being no warmer than 13C (55F) and the rain has totalled up to a really good amount to make up for the shortfall so far this year - currently on 140mm and it could well rain some more today!! You'd think the grass and weeds would have grown like crazy, but the cool weather seems to have kept growth to a minumum, a good thing really as it's a bit hard to mow or hoe right now!

First up, all the plum family blossoms. The blossom from my fruit trees came and went very quickly, but the blackthorns in the hedgerows lasted for ages.

I can't say for sure whether this is Damson or Blackthorn - it's a wild
straggly bush/tree growing in my woodland area.

The ornamental cherry trees beside my pond have blossomed really well this year.

Ornamental Cherry

White cherry blossom started next, but very staggered; my big old tree was flowering weeks ago yet another smaller tree has barely opened up its flowers yet! As for the apple blossom, that will have to feature next month as it is only just starting.

Looking back at last year's photos, we are now a good 3 weeks behind last year in terms of what was flowering, but that was an exceptional warm dry month and with only 6mm of rain. What a difference this year!

Forget Me Nots in front of Bronze Fennel.

I adore forget me nots, and last year I finally got around to buying some seed. I'm so glad that I did. The plants haven't opened fully to that frothy haze of blue stage yet as they have been slow to get started. The sight of them reminds me of my grandmother, along with the scent of many of the highly perfumed roses.

The rain has really benefitted my Rhododendrons too - there are far more blooms on this one than last year and I have another one with darker pink flowers which will flower later (last year it didn't bother, it was just too dry which was so sad).

Rhododendron looking amazing

There's also the carpet of zingy yellowy green from all my Euphorbias. This is E. polychroma with a little visitor. I took this photo with my OH's SLR camera - I can't zoom in any more but I really like the light with his camera. It just needs updating as it's quite old now (why does technology move so fast - it's great for some things but costly replacing items which become obsolete after about 5 years!).

Euphorbia polychroma

Cheat photo taken last year, only because I haven't got around to taking a photo of my Dicentra yet. I adore these flowers but unfortunately the plant then spends several months looking a mess as it dies back after flowering! So I have to enjoy it now.

Dicentra spectabilis

And the last for this month, Angelique tulips. They are only just beginning to unfurl and some look rather stunted and sad so will probably not turn into the big showy girls that they should, as like everyone else, they are getting rather fed up with the rain and wind!

Tulip 'Angelique'

I shouldn't finish on a sad note, but such is gardening. First, our once lovely Mimosa mentioned in February flowers has been chopped down, as it has now been frosted 3 out of the last 4 years, and was just getting weaker and weaker and looking more and more tatty and couldn't really have taken any more pruning of dead branches.

The other great disappointment is my Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy'. A month ago it was covered in flower buds and as the month has gone by, they have been dropping off and now only a very few remain, whilst the leaves are just beginning to show signs of emerging. I don't know what the problem was, perhaps it was the frequent hail knocked them off. It's such a shame as I only bought this shrub/tree last year and I had wanted one for so long, and finally saw one in a garden centre. I had searched for years but they weren't even available by mail order, so despite it being the most expensive plant I have ever bought at a whopping €60, I had to have it! However it was for the heart shaped purple leaves that I bought it and any flowers will be a bonus. Maybe next year.

Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy'


  1. Lovely photos, Mandy. Shame about the Mimosa - I've never seen so many Mimosas as you find here, particularly near the north coast. One plant I would really like is spindle with its beautiful berries, but I've never seen one for sale anywhere.


    1. Oh damn Sandra, if I'd known I would have given you my Euonymous Europa Red Cascade which I've dug up and potted on not knowing what to do with it, as I was so disappointed with it! I bought it for its marvellous autumn colour, except that it has few leaves and obviously doesn't like my dry garden because those few leaves would look pretty and red in August (?!?) then drop abruptly.

      I have a wild one here about 10 foot tall which self seeds with gay abandon but the hedgerow ones here don't colour up in autumn - the ones that have been planted along the sides of new roads do though. But you have to be very vigilant against the Spindle Berry Moth caterpillars which eat the leaves and leave horrible cocoons all over them.

    2. I meant Euonymus europaeus - should have checked the latin before posting!

  2. Funnily enough, some apple blossom is already over.
    Well at least in a certain new mums Sussex garden.
    Hardly seen a single Rhodedenron in bloom yet.

    U kno hoo

    1. It's all upside down where you are then! I got your email with the photos by the way, just haven't got round to replying!

  3. you should consider changing the top image of your blog with the second image from this post(the ornamental cherry trees beside the pond)... it looks really good and dreamy.

    1. I'll have a fiddle, shame there's no ducks in the photo though!

    2. never mind about the ducks, you can see the reflection of the clouds in the water. It's a very very nice photo.

    3. Thanks Jenson and I'm glad you suggested it.

  4. The ornamental cherry blossoms are stunning!