And what a month April has been! We have had everything from warm spring days, with blue cloudless skies, to icy sleet and driving rain. The last few days have seen miserable, unseasonably low temperatures, which felt more like winter than winter itself.
All this cold grey weather has affected growth and checked it very noticeably. However, plants are still filling out, albeit more slowly, and there is less bare earth to be seen every day.
There are lots of reasons to be cheerful at the moment, and the notable joy bringers are the tulips (except for the rogue red one in a pot of pink!), magnolia Stellata, Auriculas, primroses and Fritillaries.
The pond has woken up and is full of small but determined tadpoles, striking out across open water, instead of hugging the banks. Although we have pond skaters, water beetles and snails, there is no sign whatsoever of any sticklebacks, which is very disappointing. They must have died off over the winter. Pond plants are starting to grow and the yellow Marsh Marigolds are in full flower.
Buds are forming on the apple trees and it is to be hoped that the weather has warmed up by the time the blossom opens, otherwise it will be frosted.
The beech hedge is just beginning to unfurl, with certain plants ahead of the others, and showing green.
The veg patch is creaking slowly into life and Early Potatoes are now in, and onions are partially in. Courgettes, pumpkins and tomatoes are growing apace in the greenhouse, ready to be planted out when things warm up.
The new exotic garden now has all large key plants in position. The are lots of perennials already planted, which will come into their own over the next few months, and hundreds of waiting annuals to fill all the inevitable gaps.
There is always a feeling of disappointment at this point in a new garden, as although most of the hard work has been done, it still looks unfinished and raw. It is, however, still just a skeleton, and will only take on its true character when the other elements are there too. It is now just a question of waiting for the plants to grow and put some flesh onto those bones!
I have loved all the Erysimums and they have flowered throughout the winter. 'Bowles Mauve' is a trusty favourite, and the mauve flowers look fantastic offset by the glaucous foliage, but the real star is ... if I recall correctly ...'Winter Spice'. The flowers are a rich dark raspberry pink, and were a very welcome sight in late winter and early spring. Sadly the plants are very short-lived, and mine are going very leggy and starting to fall over after only a couple of years.
Magnolia Stellata has been stunning but is now just past its best.
The greenhouse is stuffed to the gunnels with plants ready to go outside when all frosts are over. Dahlias, cannas and melianthus are all growing strongly, enjoying the heat we have in there when it is really cold. The Abutilon Megapotamicum is covered in flowers, as is the white Datura. The lemony scent from the datura, released in the late afternoon/ early evening is superb.
I am joining in Helen's 'End of the month view' meme, and you can read posts from all over the globe , over at her blogsite
'The Patient Gardener'