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Last Month in My Garden, April 2017

The predominant colour in the garden has been white. Most of the late daffodils are white and there have been carpets of arabis and iberis. Spirea arguta has been noticeable (I have three bushes), followed by choisya, and pear and apple trees have been covered in blossom. Outside the garden, cow parsley flourishes but I try to eliminate it inside because the roots form tight bunches of “carrots” which leave no space for other plants. Anemones were flourishing in the first half of the month; ‘Gerda Ramusen’ has multiplied well. I have two clumps and in one, as shown, the flowers are variable, mainly double but sometimes with green and white bracts. The leucojum had also flowered in March and continued into April; it is a good cut-flower. I first planted it in a sunny part of the garden; it has persisted there for more than thirty years but has done better in a situation which gets some shade and has multiplied most quickly at the edge of the pond. The pond has dried up considerably during April because we have had little rain but the soil is always moist.


Choisya ternata 

Anemone nemorosa ‘Gerda Ramusen’

Apple blossom

Leucojum aestivum ‘Gravetye Giant’


Lunaria annua var. albifloraAlba Variegata’ 


Iberis sempervirens

The lunaria (honesty) has been seeding at the bottom of the garden for many years; the plants show up well in shade. Two or three years ago, one seeded near the back door and I left it to flower and seed; now they are multiplying but are easy to pull out. In other areas, I have tried to establish ‘Corfu Blue’, ‘Munstead Purple’ and ‘Chedglow’, so far without success but I keep trying. Grape hyacinths seed but not, for me, invasively; I think they are much maligned because they make a good splash of blue and are another reliable plant I use for cutting – my clone produces long stems. Bluebells are more of a nuisance because their leaves smother other plants; I dig them out of some areas but they come back undeterred! However, they do look good in flower. Other good carpets of colour have been provided by alpine phlox and aubrieta. The common mauve aubrieta does seed into some of my paths but is never a nuisance. The phlox photographed was bought as ‘G. F. Wilson’ but is now ‘Lilacina’. It was named to commemorate George Fergusson Wilson (1822 – 1902) who established an experimental garden on land which, after his death, became RHS Wisley.


Muscari armeniacum

Hyacinthoides non-scripta

Phlox subulata ‘Lilacina’ 

Aubrieta

Patches of yellow have been provided by Caltha palustris, in the ponds, and a small but intense clump of Aurinia saxatilis (formerly Alyssum) by the gate; I really should spread the latter around more. A euonymus has brightened up the view from the kitchen sink all month with golden new growth. 


Caltha palustris

Aurinia saxatilis

Euonymus

I have a few tulips which were planted when I first moved here; they were all scarlet but some are now streaked yellow. Hundreds more have been planted since but very few survive because they are devoured by voles. In April. I went to HPS Primrose Day and Pulmonaria Day. Both included visits to gardens with magnificent tulips but I could only admire them and regret that I do not have such a display to bridge the gap between spring bulbs and early herbaceous plants. As a result, I have welcomed the early geraniums. Geranium phaeum is a shade lover which will grow in fairly dry shade; the photo shows a seedling from ‘Lily Lovell’, now established below conifers. G. sylvaticum ‘Mayflower’ has been flowering in the last part of the month and I have a few cultivars of G. maculatum, of which the most showy has been ‘Beth Chatto’.


Geranium phaeum seedling 

Geranium maculatum ‘Beth Chatto’

Margaret Stone        

Posted by Margaret Stone

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