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.
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.
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?