Reasons to be cheerful ... and there are lots of them at this time of year !
It's nearly Apple blossom time - the best bit of the whole year. If that isn't a reason to be cheerful, I don't know what is !
Our new beech hedge, planted as bare root in march, is poised on the brink of unfurling its leaves. At this stage all look healthy, thank goodness, although we have been carrying cans of water right down the garden, to keep them watered.
I'd better whisper this bit, but so far the slugs and snails haven't detected the succulent growth of the hostas, and the leaves are whole and unblemished, with no bitemarks taken out yet. SSShhh!
I'm giggling with glee ... the glorious Pulmonaria 'Blue Ensign' is in full flower, with pure cornflower blue blooms peeping out from under a conifer.
Turn a frown upside down ... my dahlia tubers have nearly all made it successfully through another winter, and are putting on growth, ready for planting out when all danger of frost is over. I overwintered them in the greenhouse, which you would think was sufficient to keep them alive, but I have lost all Dahlia tubers some years, when the temperature has dropped really low. There is a mix of varieties here, but they are all dark flowered, in shades of purple and maroon.
The beds and borders are filling out, and areas of bare soil are diminishing. This means that weeding is diminishing too! Hurrah! Many plants are growing strongly now. The Euphorbia is at its best, well-shaped and not leaning drunkenly to one side, as it tends to do later in the season.
Spring pots and tubs are at their best now. Muscari, tulips, wallflowers and primulas are at their peak.
The tender new leaves of Acer Palmatum are all unfurled, showing clear, strong colour.
The leaves of this Brunnera just get larger and larger as the days go on. It will be a stalwart of the garden until Autumn now. Fantastic foliage AND a shade lover. Cheerful! I'm nearly bursting with cheerfulness now!
There are some happy accidents as far as planting goes ! I am happy with this grouping, which brings together an interesting mix of colour, shape and texture, I think. There are many unhappy accidents which have escaped the camera !!
These miniature 'Rosa garden Party' were grown from seed sown in January this year. The instructions stated that if the seeds are sown early enough, then they should flower the same year, and these young plants are starting to flower already. They are really healthy and I have started planting them out as edging to borders/ underplanting larger roses.
Interestingly - and definitely a reason NOT to be cheerful - I bought 72 as plug plants last year. they were fantastic, and performed really well, but have developed powdery mildew due to the wet conditions over the winter. Any suggestions, please, as to how to get rid of this ? I am hoping drier conditions and new growth will overcome the problem, but it is not happening yet.
Another reason to bubble with happiness - Magnolia Stellata, the elegant, less blowsy cousin to Soulangeana, continues to bloom.
I planted about a dozen bare root Patio roses in early Spring, and all have taken and are doing well. This is 'Sweet Dream' and it is showing healthy foliage and a pleasing compact habit.
The first leaves of Rodgersia have appeared over the last week - always good to greet old friends !
Giddy with euphoria now ... the tulips are centre stage now, mainly pinks, purples and creams.
Life has returned to the ponds and they are seething with frogs, tadpoles, beetles, pond skaters and sticklebacks. As the water warms up the plant growth is kick started into growth,and all the marginals are making an appearance again. The Marsh Marigolds are out, making a sharp pop of yellow.
But it's not happy smiles all the way! Although there are many, many reasons to be cheerful, there are also reasons to pull a sad face! This is a bird's eye view of my stone sink garden. Yes, I stress that word 'garden'. Although the gravel, pebbles, shells and fossils still remain after the winter, the 'garden' bit has totally vanished! It was full of house leeks, honest, last summer. I blame the pesky fantail doves as I think it was the equivalent of a salad bar for them through the lean winter months.