April is one of our busiest months in our Avocet patch, a month when we are busy, our wildlife colleagues are busy and the plants are growing apace. We have tasks to complete as well as usual garden routines.
As I often do in my journals I began with the weather and wrote, “April burst onto the scene with a crazy few days of weather. The first day, April Fools’ Day, was bright and mild after a frosty start which gave us hope for a few good days for gardening. Sadly this was far from the reality as during the following few days the weather treated us to rain, sleet, snow, hail and freezing winds! Not good for gardening!” I added a few photos of frozen rain after it had settled on the garden.
Frozen rain on the garden was an unexpected event.
“Succulents love hot dry areas but look good with hats of snow and ice.”
“Pitcher with snow and black lichen.”
“Frozen rain on fresh herbaceous foliage.”
On the page opposite my weather report I considered some of our flowering shrubs that add a fresh dimension to the spring garden.
“April seems to be the month when our collection of flowering shrubs come into their own, many of them will continue to give colour for weeks on end and then delight us with their foliage in summer and autumn and also the addition of berries.” I then shared a set of photos of a few of our spring flowering shrubs.
Next I shared a few of our spring tasks around the garden
I wrote, “Our list of “non-plant” jobs continued well into the spring, when we made a new shed, in a bright blue painted sentry-box style, specially to fit in our seaside garden.”
“The flat-packed shed arrived in a box and we soon opened it up and lined up all the pieces in readiness.”
“It took longer to make than expected and the finished shed was a bit flimsier than we would have liked so I will add more structural wooden struts to it.”
On the opposite page I looked at other jobs we undertook in April.
“More jobs to launch a new month ….. Jude created a new insect hotel.”
“We planted potatoes in bags.” “We sowed wildflowers in Arabella’s Garden.”
“Roses on arches needed a trim and some shrubs needed pollarding.”
When we turn over the page we see that the next two pages are all about those special flowers of spring, flowering bulbs.
I wrote, “We seem to have more daffodils to enjoy in our garden than ever before, and they soon get the company of tulips joining the Muscari, Leucojum and the little blue flowered bulbs.”
I shared a collection of photos of our tulips on one page and of our daffodils on the opposite page.
“This is just a small selection of our dozens of varieties of tulips spread around our garden.”
“Daffodils appear in almost every bed and border, like brightly coloured children’s sweets. The garden becomes a sweet shop of delights.”
Over to the next double page spread we return to the garden tasks we performed during April.
I wrote, “When we host visitors to our garden we sell plants and Jude has established what we call her ‘micro nursery’. We also take plants with us when we give garden talks around counties close to us and in neighbouring Welsh counties. We needed to increase our nursery space as we go out to give talks more and more. I doubled the size of Jude’s herbaceous plant sales shelves. We mostly used re-cycled wood.”
I carried on to the next page saying, “I also created a shrub nursery at the bottom of the garden in the space where our compost was made. We needed space for cuttings in ‘long tom pots’ and the individually potted shrubs.”
“The first job was to get Ian, our garden helper, to bag up our compost ready to be used as a mulch around the many borders.”
“We put up tables to show our shrubs on and put membrane down underfoot.”
“All that is left to do now is to put slate down on the membrane to give a comfortable and attractive surface.” That is a job to be done when we revitalize our central path, replacing slate that has been down for several years so now has a bit too mush soil mixed in, with fresh clean slate mulch. Watch this space!
So once again turning the page the next double page spread features bluebells and Primula auriculas. I wrote of bluebells, “Towards the end of the month the first of our native Bluebells come into flower. They give us a shot of bright blue and enrich the air with their sweet aroma.”
I then shared a couple of i-Pad drawings I attempted to show the vitality of these amazing flowers of spring.
On the page opposite the bluebells I looked at some of our Auriculas, with their unique colour range and combinations. I wrote, The wide range of unique colour combinations, sometimes enriched with a fine ‘meal’, seen in the flowers of Primula auricula are what made these flowers appeal to the enthusiasts and show men in their hayday. Today they are grown more as alpines. Jude bought a tray of mixed seedlings a few years ago and she has selected out some special ones.”
The final page for my journal in April features another popular collectors’ plant, the Hostas, “We love Hostas and grow many with a wide variety of leaf shapes, colours, sizes and variegation patterns in different areas of the garden.”
“These are some of our miniature and small varieties, surrounded by sharp grit to deter slugs and snails.”
And that is where my April entries into my garden journal came to a conclusion. The next visit to its pages will be in May when the garden should be looking even better.