I was all prepared to bemoan the wild weather extremes we’ve had over the past month, and how the timing of the plants is so far off normal, until I looked back through my previous April Bloom Day posts: 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. They provided a much-needed reminder that the only thing predictable about our weather this time of year is its unpredictability. So, I’ll just accept that everything is as it’s meant to be, plant-wise, and enjoy what looks lovely now.
Even though it’s a busy time of year, I like to trek up to Mom’s woods at least once to see what I can find in flower.
Finding a nice variety of wildflowers was a treat, but I had another motive for hiking up to the woods: to dig some ramps (Allium tricoccum) for Mom and me. I prefer to get them when they’re a bit smaller and more tender, but they were still tasty. It’s good to see the patch thriving–perhaps because the plants are getting more light after the storm damage to some big trees a few years ago.
On the way home, I always stop to visit the vernal pool and check out the critter activity.
There are an amazing number of tadpoles in there this spring, which is a good sign. Now, they need to hurry up and mature before the pool dries out.
Back at home, things don’t look very promising from a distance. This slope, in particular, is slow to green up: not really an issue, since I don’t often see it from this direction. It’s right next to a road, though, and a lot of other people walk and drive by, so I decided last fall to spruce it up with several hundred spring bulbs. All that effort hasn’t made much of an impact this year.
‘Thalia’ daffodil consistently does well for me, as do grape hyacinths (Muscari armeniacum), so I have every hope that it will look very pretty a few years from now.
In the gardens, lots of little gems are coming along, though they too need close inspection.
Despite the weather extremes we’ve been having this spring, the hellebores have been fantastic. Many of the first Lenten rose (Helleborus x hybridus) flowers that opened were damaged inside, I suspect because they were so close to the surface due to the warm weather we had into January, followed by bitter cold. The later flowers have been perfect, though, and I look forward to collecting lots of seed.
Even the Helleborus dumetorum appears to be setting seed, which it seldom does for me.
Here’s one bloomer that’s right at eye level: ‘Red Majestic’ contorted hazel (Corylus avellana). Even the catkins are somewhat contorted, though not as twisty as the stems.
This is also a wonderful time for fresh foliage. Here are just a few highlights:
As I’ve been adding more plants for spring interest, I’ve been putting effort into finding companions for them too.
My favorite thing so far this spring, however–and I never thought I would say this–is my lawn grass. Converting the paths from bark mulch to “now-mow” grasses has made a huge difference!
They still need to fill in a bit, but I’m really impressed with how good they look in just one year, especially since they had a difficult start with the lack of rain last spring.
To finish, a bit of exciting news: my Five-Plant Gardens book has been translated into both French and German!
Here’s a question: Can someone explain why U.S. and U.K. publishers print the spine text from top to bottom and European publishers do it the opposite way (so if the book is filed on a shelf, you read the title from the bottom up)? Hmmm.
I’ll be back on May 1 with Part 2 of Matchmaking with Hardy Bulbs. In the meantime, have fun checking out other April gardens on Carol’s main Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day post at May Dreams Gardens, and don’t forget to stop and enjoy the spring sunshine!