In January I wrote a post called Starting Afresh with a Cottage Garden and I was full of ambitious ideas of re-vamping the back garden into an old fashioned cottage garden in which cabbages grew among the roses. As the quote goes: “The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray”. In view of what is ahead of me this year the garden is going to be a matter of just keeping it tidy and pretty, somewhere to sit and enjoy but no hard work, I leave that until next year.
How is the garden looking at the end of April? It is still very behind and in some aspects quite disappointing. For several years now I have had a beautiful Elizabeth Montana Clematis that covered my shed, but sadly this year after thinking it had died, it has produced a sparse amount of leaves and fewer flowers that are still in bud. Take a look at this for comparison. The first photo was taken on 1 May 2012 and the second one taken 29 April 2013. Can anyone suggest what I can do to revive it back to it glory for 2014?
Another example of how late everything is, is the Choisya (Mexican Orange Blossom) on the side patio just outside my kitchen door. Again the first photo was taken 1 May 2012 and the second one was taken yesterday.
The weather is slowly warming up but the wind is cold if you catch it in the wrong place, and there are still some places in the country that have had snow – mad isn’t it!. I do recall last March and April being exceptionally warm so there is a very wide comparison between the two years.
It is interesting to note how the same plant can fair in different parts of the garden. To the left of the house is a south-facing bed, which bakes in sunshine all day. Everything is looking healthy and growing well. The peony especially and I hope this year it will flower, because it failed me miserably last year.
Compare this peony to the one in the bottom flower bed, where it grows in the shadow of the Forsythia. This year is even more meagre than previous years, it’s almost an embarrassment!
Sorry, I am flitting about from bed to bed. Let me take you back to the side patio and then I’ll show you around the garden systematically.
I enter my garden from my kitchen into a sunny south facing patio that is a real little hot spot in the Summer. Plants are slowing beginning to show some signs of wanting to grow this year. I have several spring bulb pots outside the kitchen window so I have something to look at whilst washing up. Because of its position the Olive tree continues to grow happily and doesn’t require any protection during the winter months. On the other hand the white Agapanthus does need protection and I have just unwrapped it from its bubble wrap winter coat.
Just behind me, from where I took the above photo is the Pieris Forest Flame growing in a very large pot. My soil is heavy clay so I have it in its own ericaceous soil and it never fails to bring colour to this part of the patio.
Due to the warm, sunny position this bed is looking very healthy, although still behind. The Geum is nowhere near flowering, and when I look back at April 2012 it was covered in very pretty pink flowers. The sedum is looking thick and strong. Aquilegia are springing up all over the garden, and hopefully will be in flower for the May End of Month View.
The bottom flower bed is starting to look a little better, apart from the straggly peony that is. The Astrantia which developed what looked like brown blisters on the leaves last summer, is green and lush but no sign of flowers yet. I put some allium bulbs in this bed at the end of last year and they are in bud.
Moving around, we come to the damp side of the garden, this rarely gets any sun but is great for hostas, (no sign of them yet) ferns, astilbe and hydrangea. The forsythia and ribes (Flowering Current) are still giving great colour in an otherwise quite shaded corner.
The Euphorbia Griffithii Fireglow dies down every year and I am always relieved to see it return. According to the RHS information it grows in moist, humus-rich soil in light dappled shade, which is why it seems ok where it is. Apparently it can be invasive on light soils so little chance of that happening in my garden!
There was one thing I missed and that is the raised bed. In the past I have grown vegetables but I am prepared for the fact that I may not be able to give it the time and attention that it will require this year. So that it was not going to lie fallow, I gathered together all the odd packets of flower seeds in have collected, mixed them all together and scattered them across the soil. This winter, the local cats decided it made for a great giant litter tray, so I have protected the seeds with chicken wire. Already I can see some tiny shoots, so I have envisaged a colourful mass of mixed flowers to enjoy in the summer.
So there you have it, my review of the garden at the end of April 2013. It’s been a pleasure taking you around and I hope you enjoyed your visit.
Thank you to Helen at Patient Gardener for hosting the End of Month View (EOMV) meme. Please take time to visit her blog and make an onward visit to all the other garden bloggers who have contributed this month.
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- End of Month View: March 2013 (hurtledto60.com)