Friday, April 11, 2008

SUNSHINE AND SHOWERS.......

The infant Spring advances through the inconsistent weather of April. It is a month of unfolding bud, of warmth and cold, sunshine and showers.

I’ve definitely felt a spring in my step on the few warm sunny days we have so far been blessed with, however, other days have brought hail, rain, strong winds and even snow. Yes, last week the village saw its first fall of spring snow. Snow has covered the surrounding mountains many times during the winter months but nothing has fallen down here in the village. Just as well that the many little that lambs skip and frolic in the fields have a thick woolly coat to keep them warm, they look so fragile don't they!

Its always a thrill to see the Hawthorn gradually develop its fresh green leaves, a sure sign that we have finally left winter behind. Hawthorn and blackthorn are the most common bushes in our hedgerows and, side by side, they are quite a contrast with each other, for right now the prickly, black twigs of the blackthorn have no leaves whatsoever, instead they are covered with a delicate display of frothy white blossom.

Wildlife is busy, birds are nesting, bumble bees are buzzing and butterflies are on the wing..... badgers are actively caring for their young, but sadly I see many casualties from their nocturnal activities on the roadside.

The wet weather of March has delayed work in the garden. This time last year I had already planted potatoes and many vegetable seeds had been sown, not so this year, I feel anxious that I am so far behind. The green house is busting at the seams with things waiting to be planted out.

The weather has formed a pattern these last few days, very heavy rain in the morning brightening up to warm sunny afternoons. Yesterday I took a stroll around the garden and here are a few things that caught me eye......

If you click on the pictures they will enlarge.....


The primrose heralds the arrival of spring and warmer days. Its a familiar sight in woods, hedgerows and grassy places throughout Britain




Bluebells are a real favourite of mine. How I love to see woods with a thick carpet of this exquisite spring flower..... their fragrance is divine. Nowadays it is illegal to dig up bluebells from their natural habitat. The bluebells I have in my garden are the cultivated Spanish variety, they are less invasive than the British bluebell, they have a thicker stem, not so fragrant and the flowers don't hang as gracefully along the stem as do the British ones. I do prefer the wild woodland flower.


Two clumps of hellebores amidst the bluebells

Now here is a bush to brighten even the dullest of days. The flower come first on the forsythia bush. I have read that birds like to strip the flower buds, but I can't say I've ever noticed that happening in my garden.


The Dog's tooth violet.... this lovely clump grows at the foot of the apple tree. Its not an easy one to photograph, as its pretty nodding flowers face downwards.


Children love to be shown the flowers of the Dicentra and hear of its many names..... 'Bleeding Heart.... "Lady's Locket'...... 'Dutchman's Breeches'...... or 'Lady in the Bath'.... each one is fitting when you look closely at its unusual shape


I love the way that these primulas have found a comfy little space to grow in between the stones alongside the path.



This Agave is quite hardy and stands outside on the veranda throughout the year. I like their architectural shape, but care must be taken with the very sharp thorn like spines. I have several in pots like this.... from which I have taken many baby off shoots. This one needs to have some of its babies taken and potted up.

The Pieris is a splendid shrub particularly at this time of year..... it loves the acid soil in our garden.

The Aubrieta has been in flower of a week or so now, it looks so lovely cascading over the walls.



This is my Kilmarnock weeping willow. I gave it a good 'hair-cut' in February and got rid of a lot of dead twiggy branches. I thought at the time that I had been a little too drastic, but it is looking much better now the the pussy willow catkins are opening up. I was intrigued to see the knotty tangle the crown had grown into. I remember a blackbird nesting in its midst one year.... a good choice I thought.



This Pulmonaria was a gift from my friend Pat and she brought it all the way from Scotland..... Its flowers are interesting, they change from pink to blue as they open and are complimented by its white spotted green leaves. It loves dappled shade and is another plant that enjoys its position underneath the apple tree.

The Peony is a wonderful herbaceous plant. This one is a double and the deepest red in colour. I must get around to staking them very soon, for the blooms are so heavy they simply flop, particularly if we've had a shower of rain, the water is held amongst the petals and makes then even heavier.

The Camellias are almost over now.... these pink double blooms have looked spectacular against their glossy green foliage.... pity is they damage easily and the petals turn a rusty brown.


Hope you've enjoyed my spring garden tour. What's happening in your garden?

14 comments:

Flip Flop Floozie said...

Yes, of course!! I just cannot have great flowers here. The dirt is mostly sand plus when the sun really shines down and most plants cannot stand it!! I grew better flowers and plants in Illinois. I am looking forward to meeting you soon. That is going to be great!!

Sandy

Barbara said...

So lovely and rich on blooming plants is your garden. Funny all the names of Dicentra you mentioned(I only knew "bleeding heart"). I always tried to get pink camelias and when they started to bloom they were red! I do hope that my fourth is now pink or at least white! Your vegetation seems to be ahead to ours...
Have a nice weekend, Marion!

Mountain Mama said...

Your flowers are just beautiful. I didn't know the bluebell's grew wild there. I would love that!!
My primroses are blooming nicely too, but I have to keep after the slugs because they love them.
Your Kilmarnock Willow looks like the roots are growing above. That is fascinating and no wonder is was such a tempting place for birds to nest.
My Peony's are just beginning to grow. I use tomato cages to keep them from falling all over. It works beautifully and when the plant had grown and is in bloom I can't
even see the cages.
Thanks for visiting my blog Marion.
I hope you are having a good week end.
Love and prayers,
Bev

Barbara said...

You have certainly got some pretty colours there in spite of the weather Marion.
We have had the opposite, beautiful sunny mornings but clouding over with rain later. Bet you are getting excited about your trip.

Betty said...

Dear Friend Marion,
I'm so happy I dropped in today....what a treat to see more of your garden....beautiful as always....

I've planted many of the seed you sent. They are in the greenhouse awaiting the time to transplant....we have had temperatures in the 80's and now Monday night is suppose to be in the high 30's..

I've tried to grow Peonys several times...I had 2 to come back last summer. Hopefully, they'll pop up soon. Our weather is so hot they don't grow well here.

Happy Weekend.....Betty

Willow said...

I so enjoyed a walk through your garden! I love peonies and grew them in Oregon, but I don't think they grow well in Southern CA, I'm so glad I can enjoy yours vicariously.

Happy Sunday!

Kerri said...

I've loved the stroll through your garden, Marion. Thank you! You have such a wonderful mixture. We have the dog-toothed violets (trout lilies) growing in our woods. You managed to capture their pretty faces well :) I must grow more primroses. Their colors are glorious. Ross planted 3 forsythia bushes at least 3 years ago and they have yet to bloom. How disappointing! We saw Japanese Pieris for the first time during our trip to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens 2 weeks ago. Is this new leaf growth or flowers?
I could chat about each and every plant. They're all so lovely.
I hope you get more sunny and warm days soon. We need them too. The wind has blown cold for too long, and we too have had some rain lately.
Enjoy your beautiful gardens Marion.

Sharon L Goemaere said...

What an incredibly lovely garden you have!!!So full of spring color.I just love it Marion.We have a small patio with our apartment.I just discovered we have a flowering plum tree right outside our bedroom window!It is so lovely and covered in pink blooms right now.I have 2 pots of pansies on our patio railing.They are also doing well.Your weather sounds much like ours this month in Oregon.Yesterday it was sunny and 80 degrees.Today it is cloudy,windy and was in the 60's I think.Rain and highs only in the 50's are expected this week.Blessings abundant~Sharon

Val said...

My daughter in London has a willow like yours, they call it Tina Turner as they made its acquaintance in the winter and could only visualise the brown branches!

Tabor over on Room without Walls http://taborsyard.blogspot.com/ in a different continent also mentions her carefully cultivated pulmonaria, mine grows like weeds, hurrah!

Sara said...

It was lovely to see the little lambs and also the many flowers and other plants that are springing into spring in your garden. I really want to see that little willow tree as it comes into leaf! I love it's shape and the "haircut" you gave it!

Michael Manning said...

The promise of a new day!

Tori said...

Oh you must live in Paradise! Your flowers are so lovely!

I just found your beautiful blog and I thought I would say hi!

Simply lovely!

Elizabeth said...

What a beautiful garden you have.
The helebores are especially wonderful.
Here in Marrakech it is too hot already.
I love the bleeding hearts.
There is also a less showy white one.
All best wishes.

Barbara said...

I am sure you will be off soon Marion so please receive my best wishes for a wonderful trip.
Looking for a second time at this post. Your bluebells must have been out very early. I take it tht they are our native ones and not the Spanish ones. Ours are just coming out now as you will see if you pop over.