April in the Garden

A female Tawny Mining Bee enjoying the tubular flowers of Symphytum Norwich Sky.

Especially with this relatively mild and early season, April is when the garden really starts to wake up and is currently alive with welcome spring flowers that virtually hum with the number of bees and other pollinators who enjoy the spring display at least as much as we do.

While our gardens reputation is perhaps for its later season displays of the many grasses and autumnal colouring woody plants spring is an equally important, if perhaps less showy, season as we plan to have something of interest and in flower for as many days of the year as we can.

In the Sunny Meadow Primula Minicombe delights with its freely produced brightly coloured flowers that are set off by the green base of grasses and other newly emerging perennials such as sanguisorbas.
In the shadier parts of the garden while the camellias may be coming to the end of their months long display many rhododendrons, such as Mrs G W Leak, and azaleas provide masses of often brightly coloured flowers that delight us as much as the many pollinators we see feeding on the flowers.
At under a metre tall and at the base of the monkey puzzle tree, Prunus glandulosa Albo Plena would be easy to miss if it were not for its intricate and rather beautiful spring flowers.
The bright pinkish orange spring foliage of a large pieris looks over the Shady Meadows most beautiful display of primulas and wood anemones
Symphytum is a great ground cover for dry and shady places such as at the base of large woody plants, and is covered by masses of tubular flower in spring which attract an amazing number of pollinators and especially bees. This form is Symphytum Norwich Sky.
Although liking a moist soil camassia seem to do well in our dry and sandy conditions such as here in the Mill End borders.
The large goblet shaped pink flowers of Magnolia San Jose at the top of the Long Walk have been looking great for several weeks, while the unfolding creamy white bracts of Cornus Cloud Nine are just beginning to unfurl.
An unexpected current project is the reshaping of a part of the Decennium border and Gravel garden to accommodate the old pine stump that, since losing its top some years ago, had become a ‘habitat pole’. So successful has it been at attracting the gardens wildlife that it fell over some weeks back, simply as the inhabitants had literally chewed and eaten all the wood! It has now become a ‘habitat log’ and so will continue to offer habitat and shelter.
Planted only very recently there are two newly extended beds on the Lower Lawn surrounding the paperbark birch and a newly planted sorbus. The birch has been underplanted with Hakonechloa macra while Hakonechloa Aureola will provide a refined leafy base for the new sorbus.
Rhododendron rubiginosum offering masses of pinkish mauve to purple flowers at the edge of the Damp Garden.