Join the Hardy Plant Society Find out how >

HPS office hours are now Mon-Thurs 9-5; Fri 9-1. The office will be closed from 22nd Dec to 2nd Jan, but you can find membership renewal forms here.

On the menu for... April 2017

Pyrus calleryana 'Chanticleer'

There are years when I feel overwhelmed by the myriad gardening tasks screaming for my attention in spring, but 2017 is not one of them (yet). We have been enjoying warm, sunny weather in Norfolk and although the soil is worryingly dry, it is at least workable. I don’t remember seeing so many butterflies in April. It is wonderful to share the garden with them. The borders are abuzz with bees and on a warm, sunny afternoon it sounds as if we are in the height of summer, not midspring. Every day new flowers open and add to the feast laid on for pollinators; there is certainly plenty of blossom on offer.

Pulmonaria ‘Diana Clare’

Dicentra formosa f. alba

Julie commented last month that Pulmonaria was popular with bees in her garden, and it is finally working its magic here - long-tongued bees love it! Nestling in a shaded corner with Pulmonaria ‘Diana Clare’ is Dicentra formosa f. alba, which, unlike certain other one-time dicentras, is still called Dicentra. These plants are rarely without bees during the day at the moment, demonstrating that shade need not be a barrier to beautiful pollinator friendly borders.

Lathyrus vernus

Lathyrus vernus might be a quiet little plant, but it grabs the attention of bees. Like Pulmonaria, it is burdened with an ugly common name. Lungwort and bitter vetch sound more like insults than beautiful spring flowers. Latin is always better, although in the case of poor Pulmonaria, only just.

Lonicera caerulea

Lonicera caerulea is blessed with the appealing common name of honeyberry. I planted it for its fruit, which is a shame because the shrubs in my garden have never produced a single berry. Despite this I give them border space because they are attractive, great for pollinators and I remain optimistic that they will fruit this year (I have been saying this since 2014). My optimism is at its peak this spring as those pretty primrose flowers are visited by bees from dawn to dusk. For the first April since they were planted I have not felt compelled to brandish my pollinating paintbrush and pretend to be a bee!

Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Falconnet Charlet’

The biggest surprise this week is Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Falconnet Charlet’. I can’t remember why it is in my garden as I would have thought that it would be too double-flowered to be of use to bees, yet it is a magnet and is attracting more bees than the single-flowered Chaenomeles. I can only conclude that bees have joined rabbits in their quest to prove gardening books wrong. I am always interested to hear about the plants attracting pollinators in other gardeners’ gardens, so please let me know if you grow a plant that grabs their attention.

On 15th April I will link this post to Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day which is hosted by http:// There you can find a list of blogs featuring plants in bloom this week in gardens across the world. Why not pour yourself a cup of tea and head over there to enjoy a virtual garden tour?

Posted by Sarah Shoesmith

Sarah Shoesmith is a garden writer who blogs at .
She may be contacted via or @gardeningshoe1 on Twitter

4 Comments To "On the menu for... April 2017"

Steve On 16.05.2017
you are right we are all short of rain on the East side of the country. your Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Falconnet Charlet’ looks stunning Reply to this comment
Rose On 20.04.2017
Lovely to see all the bees in your garden, Sarah! I hadn't noticed many here until the last week, and now I have quite a few bumbles flying about. Happy Bloom Day! Reply to this comment
Steve On 15.04.2017
You are right spring has been early and dry in eastern England. We have had some fantastic tulips and I just hope they last for another week when a garden group is visiting. Reply to this comment
Lea On 15.04.2017
We do enjoy seeing the bees and butterflies enjoy our gardens, too! Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day! Happy Easter! Lea Lea's Menagerie Reply to this comment
Showing 1 to 4 of 4 (1 Pages)

Write a comment

Your Name:
Enter the code in the box below:
Your Comment:
Note: HTML is not translated!

© Hardy Plant Society 2018. Web design by CWS

This site uses cookies to store some information.