We are well into Spring now as I share my April journal with you and there has been lots going on. This April has been the most colourful ever in our Avocet Patch.
The last week in March or the first in April is the best time to cut down willows (Salix) and dogwoods (Cornus). It is a careful balance between enjoying these shrubs’ beautifully coloured stems for as long as possible and cutting them down in time for fresh coloured stems to grow in time to enjoy next winter. I wrote, “Before taking the Dogwood and Willow stems to be made into community compost, I decided to attempt to draw them in fibre tip pens.” Collecting them together and then selecting a bunch to draw emphasises the wide variety in colours these shrubs produce.
In complete contrast we look at brightly coloured flowering bulbs over the next two pages.
I wrote, “Bulbs continue to give brightness and colour at ground level in the garden this month but above them trees and shrubs perform equally well.”
Below I shared photographs of small flowering bulbs all coloured blue, what I labelled “The “lbj’s” of the bulb world – the little blue jobs.”
“One of the most beautiful and brightest of all Spring bulbs is a native in the UK after becoming naturalised. It grows in the South, Central and Eastern parts of England and scattered thinly around Scotland. It must give flowers that are as bright as yellow can become and it is scented too. Tulipa sylvestris.”
Returning to the shrubs and trees I wrote on the next double page spread, So, what sort of performances are our trees and shrubs putting on above the bright flowering bulb?”
“Viburnum in variety”
“Ribes sanguineum King Edward VII”
On the next turn of the page we notice two pages about my favourite tree, Betulas (Birches)
I began by writing, “As our Birch trees grow we have to occasionally prune off some lower branches to create a specimen clean-trunked tree. When I recently took off two branches of our Betula albosinensis septentronalis, I kept a few lengths for me to paint or draw.” I created a picture using fibre pens and watercolours.
I continued, “By mid-April our Betula are all at different stages of realisation that spring has arrived. Some are almost in full leaf while others still have tight buds, some have long catkins, others none at all.”
I then moved on to reveal my plant of the month for April and on the opposite page looked at some of our April flowering Clematis.
“Plant of the month, April, is Corylopsis spicata, a flowering shrub with a beautiful habit of growth and beautiful pale yellow flowers, almost lemon shades, which hang in racemes as light as a feather so shimmer and dance in the gentlest of Spring breezes. The flowers are gently, sweetly scented. Our shrub at 2 metres tall is probably fully grown. It grows with an open “airy” habit.”
“April sees our early flowering Clematis putting on their show, with delicate hanging bells of calmness.”
Tulips feature on the next double page spread, with photographs of a small selection of the many tulips we grow.
“Tulips are the powerhouse of the April borders here at our Avocet patch, giving bright, shining patches of colour from white, to pink and purple and from yellow through orange to the deepest reds. Some are plain, others striped, splashed or streaked for added interest. In Spring clashing colours seem not to matter. Tulips add colour to every border! Enjoy the show!”
The final two pages of my April entries in my journal feature Acers and a few very special plants.
“Acers spring to life during this month giving wild splashes of colour from their freshly opened buds. Every shade of green with the colours of fire!”
I shall finish my April entries with a look at a selection of a few of our special plants, those plants that are not often seen and in our garden demand a closer look.
“Muckdenia Crimson Fans”