Here we are with my April look at my garden journal. I began as I often do with a look at the weather that was affecting our garden.
“April is known for its showery weather and we hope it is the first frost-free weeks of the year. This will allow us to begin hardening off our delicate plants that have hidden away in our greenhouse and summerhouse. Looking back at my first garden journal I notice that in early April birds were then showing signs of nest building. I wrote …“Spring is here! Sometimes at least. Birds are collecting nesting materials, blackbirds, greenfinches and all the Titmice family.” This year birds are singing and calling well but we have seen no signs of nest building activities. The Titmice have given up their earlier explorations of our many birdboxes. We hope Spring will catch up and get wildlife stirring again.”
Over the page I continue by looking at one member of the Titmice family, the Coal Tit, and I included one of my gouache paintings of these active little birds.
“One of our members of the Titmice family that we enjoy sharing our garden with is the tiny Coal Tit, growing to only 10cm or so in length. They are very lively little birds and most entertaining in the garden. They are frequent visitors to feeders where they enjoy peanuts and mixed seeds. They never stay long on a feeder but remove a morsel of food by rapid beak banging and take it off to eat in a nearby tree or shrub. They hold a nut or seed between their claws and chip away at it, eating tiny pieces.”
On the page opposite I take a look at the bright Tulips in our garden and what they add to it.
“Early April right through to late on in the month the greens of fresh growth are so bright but our multitude of Tulips add contrasting colours. They add their special charm to every part of the garden. Hundreds were planted throughout the Autumn so now we reap the rewards.”
Tulips and other bulbs continue to be featured on my next couple of pages.
“The delicacy of these little white species Tulips with their egg yolk yellow centres are so different to the big bright cultivars.”
“But it isn’t just Tulips! Many other bulbs look equally beautiful scattered throughout the borders.”
Turning the page we find a much wordier look with an odd photo to illustrate the words, followed by a look at some of our Acers.
“April is the month when we discover the joy of working in the garden into the evening hours. We are no longer forced indoors at teatime by the poor light. Some days also allow us to shed jackets and even jumpers as the temperatures feel more comfortable. But April can bring surprises such as overnight frosts and this year a very late snow shower. Hail storms chased us indoors on many occasions. But Spring still marches on and gives freshness of growth, new bright foliage on trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials.”
“The freshest foliage of all must be from our Acer shrubs. They unfurl their buds and give a multitude of shades of yellow, orange, ruby and green. Even though this happens every year and we look forward to it, the new life of our Acers delights us.”
I then look at yellow in our garden.
“Throughout the Spring months yellow is the colour that picks up the bright light of the sun best of all the bright colours. This may be why we love Daffodils so much, but many more flowers show off in the brightness of April.”
“There are also a few pinks that look special in the Spring garden and these are at their best with interestingly coloured and textured foliage as partners.”
Blossom and the plants of cool shade appear on the final couple of my journal’s pages for April.
“Shrewsbury, our nearest town, is famous for its Spring blossom which lines many of its streets and lanes. In our garden we can equally enjoy the blossom of both ornamental and productive trees and shrubs.”
“We love the sunshine in the April garden when all around us the garden sparkles and shines. But dip into the cool of the shade and there are gems awaiting us. Foliage is the key where sunlight fails to infiltrate.”
But any flowers that accompany this amazing foliage are tiny little star-like flowers.
So that is April in our garden. We now look forward to what May will bring!