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!
18 thoughts on “Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – April 2016”
Love seeing all that colour! Something for me to look forward to. Great combos as usual, that peach hyacinthe is gorgeous! I have the Chameleon Euphorbia and love it as it doesn’t get hugely tall and looks great from spring to fall with any colour. Congrats on getting your books into Europe! I like the way the Europeans do their spines, its easier to read up than down for me. Send some of that sun my way, its been so rainy and cold. Buds on my hellebores and the tops of the monkshood got zapped with the -10C two weeks ago. Brrrrr. Would like to do what the boys are doing!! Have a great one, TTFN, Sue (NS, Canada)
I wish I *could* share some our sun with you, Sue. Looks like we’ve nothing but sunny, mild days for the next week, which is a pleasant change, and excellent for the solar panels too. That means it’s time to start shearing, though; yikes. Anyway, I do still like ‘Chameleon’ euphorbia: perhaps I should have said “annoyed” rather than ‘bored,” because of its inclination to get powdery mildew some years.
Your spring blooms are sweet. Thalia is a nice narcissus. I like the grass paths. I have grass paths in my garden. However it isn’t so much grass as it is weeds. My garden is now getting a lot more sun since I have had a couple of trees die. Maybe the grass will have more of a chance now. The other problem it has is that I don’t water it. It has to survive on it’s own powers and resources hence all the weeds.
Congrats on your new publications. Interesting that the book titles on the spine are reversed. Happy GBBD.
Hi Lisa! Yes, I bet your paths will be happy with the increased light. I have weeds in mine too, but at least they’re not as obvious in the grass as they were in the bark-mulch paths. Hope you have a spectacular spring!
Love, love, love, starting my day reading one of your posts! Your photos are always beautiful and I’m so glad you include a picture of your boys!
Aw, thanks for that. Happy Bloom Day to you!
I don’t have an answer about the spine thing, but what wonderful news about your book! I love how you love variegated foliage because I do too. Also, ‘Thalia’ is one of the most reliable daffs I have. I’ll do my GBBD post later today. I’m headed to my favorite nursery with a friend. Hugs Nan. ~~Dee
How interesting to hear that ‘Thalia’ works as well for you in Oklahoma as it does here in PA. I hope you have fun shopping, Dee. Our nurseries are just starting to get stuff in this week!
I enjoyed your garden tour, especially all the blooming bulbs.
Thanks so much for taking the time to visit. We ought to be playing outside today!
Love the new paths! Curious to hear more about which seed mix you used, and how it progresses over the summer. (How often you need to mow, etc.) Forgive me if you’ve already written about that… That peony foliage is fabulous, and I’m excited to see your Japanese burnet all filled out, as a start of that has just landed in my garden. Love those leaves and can’t wait for them to get bigger! Happy spring to you!
And Happy Bloom Day to you! I used Prairie Nursery’s Now Mow Lawn Seed Mix in the front garden and Prairie Moon Nursery’s Eco-Grass on the side paths. Their progress was very similar, and they look much the same now. I trimmed them with a push mower two or three times last year and once so far this year (had to do a “regular” grass path three times already). Good luck with your Japanese burnet. I find it’s often a bit sulky after a move, and the clumps take 3 to 5 years to really fill out, but they are worth the wait!
Thanks, Nan! Oh, and I forgot to say, I absolutely adore your boys! I always show your photos of them to my boys, and it always makes them giggle. By now, they are both teens, and they still giggle! :)
It’s great to hear that! If they saw the boys today, they’d really laugh. I started shearing on Friday and decided to tackle the most difficult areas first this time. Duncan now has one back leg done, and Daniel has both back legs basically done. Result: very fluffy animals with ridiculously skinny legs. Mom says Daniel looks like he’s wearing pantyhose!
the book spines, is like driving on the left, or the right.
Normal or weird, depending on which side you live on.
Hah – I did think of that! But there must be some original reason that they were done one way, and some reason that someone decided to do it the other. I imagine I’ll run across that useless bit of knowledge someday.
What type of care does ‘Gerald Darby’ iris (Iris x robusta) require. I love the purple leaves. Does it have the same water needs as bearded iris?
Hi Judith! I grow both ‘Gerald Darby’ and bearded irises in the same beds. In general, though, beardeds seem to prefer good drainage, while ‘Gerald Darby’ thrives in soil that’s on the moist side, or even wet. I have more info about it – and lots more pictures of it – in One Plant, Three Seasons: Iris ‘Gerald Darby’.
Beautiful images, as always; thank you. One that caught my eye was ‘Gerald Darby’ iris (Iris x robusta) – wow!
It *is* a beauty. If you want to see its other beautiful features, check out the link I left in Judith’s comment above yours. Thanks for stopping by!
I sympathize with planting a lot of bulbs and not seeing the impact–been there, done that. I love the combination of Thalia and grape hyacinths, but not sure how well it reads from a distance. You need bright yellow, red, orange . . . Even if you don’t buy from ColorBlends, they have the most informative catalog, including planting densities. I found I got better results when I really tried to plant x bulbs per square foot instead of just winging it.
Hi Kathy. Yes, that’s a beautiful catalog. I think this combo will work, though, as most people see it from just a few feet away. I’m also pretty much limited to daffodils and grape hyacinths outside the fence because of the deer, which doesn’t allow for many color options.
The “boys” are so cute! It doesn’t look as though the winter relapse experienced in the east has done your garden much harm. I enjoy seeing all your beautiful bulbs but it really does make me feel as though I’m living in a different hemisphere rather than just a few times zones away! My bulbs, even the South African varieties, are mostly done and my roses are already in bloom.
Wow, Kris – our roses are just starting to break bud now. The below-freezing temps earlier this weed did damage the bleeding hearts and some other things, but it looks like we may be done with frost now, even though we’re still at least 3 weeks from our usual last-frost date.
Thanks for sharing this tour of your garden, great to see the tadpoles.
Hello there, Steve! Thanks for visiting today. Yes, the tadpoles are neat: some sort of wood frogs.
Nan, your pictures are exquisite, loved Gerald Darby and the two lounging fellows… the best. Thank you for sharing.
Good to hear from you, Sandy. I hope you’re now outside enjoying this beautiful spring day!
I am very curious how you handle the hellebore seeds. Do you dry and then plant or exactly how do you do this. One of mine is beautiful this year, the others did not bloom.
Hi Jan. The best route is to collect the ripe seeds as soon as the pods open, in July or August, and sow them then (in the ground or in pots that you leave outside). Depending on where you live, they may start to germinate in early winter or wait until next spring.
Hi Nan, lovely to see your garden waking up, plus the Spring bulbs, it is always a delight when the e mail pops into my in box to say there is a Post from you. The Thalia and Grape Hyacinth will be such a delight once they have bulked up. I have many different types of Narcissi/ daffodil in my garden so have them in bloom from February through May, Thalia is one of my favourites because of its colour, form and scent. I also love the variegated Camassia, Ive already found a Supplier here in the UK. Good news on your book being translated into different languages, regarding the reading of the spine I found this, hope it helps
Happy spring, Allan! A few summer-like days have made my ‘Thalia’ really come along, and the planting is gorgeous now. People are even stopping to take pictures. Sadly, the rabbits ate all but about a dozen flowers of the 200+ grape hyacinths, but well…maybe some will come back next year (the bulbs, obviously; the bunnies are not welcome). I hope the ‘Blue Melody’ camassia does well for you. Though it doesn’t bloom as freely for me as other camassias, the foliage makes a handsome show in spring. And thanks for sharing that link about the text on book spines. I found the same page yesterday, when I finally had some time to do a bit of research. I was hoping for a more definitive answer, but I guess that’ll do!
What a rush! Thanks for the lovely, lovely images. I was just in my garden and thinking what a breathtaking time of year. All that promise emerging! So my daughter lived in Germany for 6+ years and is bilingual. I am forwarding your post to her and asking her why the books do that!
Hey there, Nora. I’m sure your garden is looking quite beautiful by now!
Thanks for the romp through the wilder parts of your spring garden. Makes me miss the acreage we had out in Sooke on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Loved the link back to the Gerald Derby iris post. We have just planted a Diabolo ninebark to address a difficult area, wet in winter and dry in summer. Thinking Gerald might also work next to our Diabolo, too. Lovely combo. Thanks for the idea and now….how to find it here in Canada! Happy spring, Barbara. Victoria, BC
Hey there, Barbara. It’s still challenging to find ‘Gerald Darby’ the the U.S., for some reason. I can’t understand why, because it’s so vigorous and a good increaser. If you can’t find ‘Gerald Darby’, maybe you can locate the similar ‘Dark Aura’.
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