It is high time for a garden update as April is now in full swing and the garden is taking off! The month started out very cold and damp, but the last few days have warmed up the soil and everything is coming to life.
The early tulips are here!
This white botanical one, with delicate pointed petals and a rich bluish mauve eye is Tulipa humilis ‘Coerulea Oculata Alba’. It is perfect in the Moon Bed, where it is accompanied by blue and white Anemone blanda…
… and some pretty Narcissi.
This bed has developed into a lovely area for spring flowers. 😃
There are lots of Narcissi Cheerfulness in my Herb Bed… they certainly brighten up this area until the herbs start growing. You can see chives in the foreground, already tall enough to cut. 😃
The Herb Bed is also home to a few tulips. These are the first things to catch my eye when coming through our gate – a welcoming sight! They were planted a few years ago so the name is forgotten… maybe ‘Apricot Emperor’.
And here this morning with the Actaea Narcissi.
Apart from a few bulbs, the Herb Bed is still looking rather sparse, so let’s move over to the Oval Bed. There are some other early tulips in flower here, including these deep ruby ones: T. aucheriana. The buttercup yellow centre is such a contrast to the dark petals.
New perennial sweet pea shoots are emerging from the ground, the Viburnum is in bud, and the Pulsatilla are flowering.
Next, The ‘Edge.
Those red dots are the ‘Showwinner’ Kaufmannia tulips. They are a dwarf tulip, but seem to have unusually short stems. Hopefully the stems will get longer as they do with many other early tulips.
They show up very well against the woodchip mulch and catch the eye even from the house. This is the first Spring for The ‘Edge, and I am going with the flow and seeing what works and what doesn’t. The Miscanthus and Calamagrostis stood there all winter and the red-stemmed Cornus have been lovely since January.
The Butterfly Bed succumbed to mice this winter, so I am waiting to see if many tulips have survived. The broom in the middle is wobbling, either due to strong wind or to root damage, but I will wait and see if it flowers before digging it out. The hellebores still look wonderful here.
And this Pulmonaria (P. ‘Benediction’) is a striking blue. The bluest I have found yet!
The hellebore below (in the Sunshine Bed) is my favourite at the moment. It turns from creamy yellow to pink and green. (Another one with no label…. where do all these labels disappear to?)
And between all the beds, dandelions!
Still, if they attract wildlife I don’t actually mind them, and they are such valuable plants. As long as they stay in the grass and out of the flower beds. 😉
The hedgerows planted around the perimeter of the garden in 2018 are well established now and the blackthorn opened yesterday. This was a few days later than the ones just down the bottom of the hill, which shows me what a difference it makes being a little higher and more exposed to the elements.
And these buds are about to burst. I wonder if you recognize them….
They are what we call ‘false elder’ as they do not produce the heavenly scented flowers people love to use in syrups and liqueurs. European Red Elder (Sambucus racemosa) is named so for the red berries produced. They start leafing out at about the same time as the scented Black Elder (Sambucus nigra) but flower much earlier.
Finally, one of the new raised planters is looking really promising, with radishes and salad leaves sprouting and some new parsley and chive plants too. If you are sowing seeds that should only be barely covered with soil, I can recommend covering the surface with a little hay or straw to keep in moisture and to protect from wind, strong sun or cold nights. They will germinate much more quickly. 😉
The other planter will hold my butternuts, but I can see I need even more space for vegetables this year… Plans are being forged, so watch this space! 😉
I wonder if you have any specific garden projects at the moment?
Have a great Easter weekend.
And Happy Gardening!
Chrysanthemums/Chrysanths/Mums – are in my vase today, still looking very fresh despite some chilly damp weather last week. A few fading Sedums accompany them.
But can you spot the two surprise flowers tucked in?
Yes, a pink and a purple Scabiosa were braving the cold wind in the Oval Bed. I brought them in to enjoy close up.
I chose my title because this vase is for my parents. My Mum is feeling low today and my Dad is fed up too… he has been in hospital and is hoping he can finally go home soon.
Flowers can raise our spirits, and I am glad to be able to share such a cheerful bunch mid-November. Wishing you all a sunny week and thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting!
The garden is still doing well in November, which somehow surprises me – but perhaps it is always so!
(I managed to get almost all the beds onto this one photo, taken from the terrace – albeit on Sunday 31 st October, so cheating a bit!)
Our first frost this year was October 10th, so a little later than previous years. Since then a few more have followed, so quite a few flowers have gone over now. But there is still loads of colour to cheer up these grey November days. 😃
Let’s start with the Butterfly Bed, sporting the Chrysanthemum ‘Anastasia’ I used in my vase the other day. It takes over from the adjacent pink Aster in mid October and will flower for another 2 or 3 weeks at least.
Another highlight in this bed is the leaves of perennial Geraniums changing colour… I like this unplanned combination with the lime green Euphorbia still looking lush.
At the back of the Butterfly Bed is my lovely ‘Red Chief’ Miscanthus. It isn’t as large as some, but from late October onwards the leaves and seedheads add some drama with their deep pinky red.
Moving across to the Oval Bed, two tall Miscanthus and the now faded Aster ‘September Ruby’ dominate. A mix of ground cover plants will provide winter interest for a month or two. I wonder if we will get much snow this winter….
The Miscanthus on the left is ‘Beth Chatto’, and the other one is ‘Federweißer’ – my favourite. To give you an idea of their size, the Aster is just short of 2 metres. I would recommend both Miscanthus, although my ‘Beth Chatto’ is a little later in gaining size and flowering than my others.
Beyond the Oval Bed is the Moon Bed, which was mostly planted in autumn last year and added to in the spring this year. Almost all the plants were in 9 cm pots, and still managed to put on so much growth, benefitting from the damp summer.
The colour scheme is white, cream and blue, drifting into purple. The white Aster ‘Ashvi’ and the Boltonia ‘Snowbank’, along with Aster ‘Barr’s Blue’ have kept this going into November, so I am pleased they seem to have settled in so well. Looking at it now I find it hard to believe that I could barely see the woodchip mulch only a few weeks ago. White Cosmos, Cleome and Gaura filled the spaces.
This Prickly Poppy, grown from seed, has flowered for months on end.
And naturally there are several grasses in this bed too. The Pennisetum is looking lovely at the moment.
Now a brief look at The ‘Edge, where my sunflowers were in the summer. The seeds were devoured in record time by the birds (and mice?!) and the remains are now on the compost heap. But there is still a lot of colour in this bed from plants like Cornus, Physocarpus and Pyracantha ‘Orange Charmer’.
A small yellow Chrysanthemum also adds some sparkle late in the season. 😃
The Herb Bed is simply glowing with another Pennisetum and my Witch Hazel adding golden hues…
And finally the Sunshine Bed, which is very very dry due to the trees behind it, and yet the Helianthus did well and the Chrysopsis does not seem bothered even now…
November is not such a bad month after all, as long as the sun keeps popping out every now and then! Still, I am glad I have managed to get all my spring bulbs in as it is rather chilly these days.
Hope you have plenty of mild and sunny days ahead now the nights are drawing in. Happy gardening and thanks for reading!
When I planned the Oval Bed a couple of years ago I imagined a birdbath in the centre of the ‘keyhole’. Something natural, made of local stone. Either light granite, which is common here on the edge of the Bavarian Forest, or limestone which is typical for areas along the River Danube.
Well, the bed took shape and was planted up. I initially wanted to call it The Bird Bath Bed, but without a bird bath that seemed inappropriate! 🙃Here it is in late May 2020.
And so the search for a bird bath began. Spring 2020 was perhaps not the best time to make any progress, but in the summer a few stone masons were visited, online shops were studied, but nothing seemed right.
I mentioned this to friends this spring, and not long after our friend Kurt offered me a huge lump of limestone, typical for the region where we used to live. I hesitated. It would mean chiselling out a dip in it for the water. But when my Man of Many Talents visited him soon after, Kurt had already made the shallow dip in the top surface of the stone!
So the stone sat in our yard for a long time, and the Oval Bed filled out in the spring and summer. Here it is in June of this year…
But then, yesterday, the forks were mounted on the tractor, the stone was gently lifted, and everso everso carefully it was finally transported…
… round to the garden behind the house.
My Man of Many Talents had already measured it up and dug a hole exactly the right size and depth just where I wanted it.
It was slowly lowered in…
… and then with a bit of shovelling around we got it straight and filled in the edges with stones and soil. I quickly tidied up the edges of the keyhole for the final photos.
The late afternoon light was perfect.
I am very happy with it. A big heartfelt THANK YOU to Kurt!
Today I ceremoniously poured some water into the indentation and now I am waiting for the birds to discover it. 🙂