Tuesday, 30 April 2013

End Of Month View ~ April 2013


I missed posting a March end of month view, because enthusiasm for both garden and allotment was at a low following the cold winter and other events going on at the time. Now that April is slowly ebbing away I am feeling decidedly more cheerful and energetic and am enjoying being in the garden, greenhouse and at the allotment again.

Reading through last April's end of month view post this April seems a long way removed in terms of both weather and flowers. No copious amounts of rain this year but it has definitely been on the cool side. Last April photos of geranium phaeum and tiarella in full flower illustrated my end of month post. When I looked yesterday evening the same geranium shows firmly shut pendulous flower heads whilst the tiarella looks quite bedraggled. Flowering now are the plants that I normally associate with March going into early April - pulmonarias, primroses, hellebores, little daffs, brunneras and other early spring gems. Later flowering hardy perennials such as astrantia and geraniums only seem to have broken through the ground in the last couple of weeks. I am only just in the process of dividing and potting some perennials for our garden club plant sale which is towards the end of May. Usually this is something that I do in March, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a warmer spell that they settle in and bulk up over the next month.


The greenhouse is slowly filling up with seedlings of tomatoes, sweet peppers, beetroot, lettuce and salad mixes, various basils, cucumbers, squashes, courgettes, red onions, leeks, purple flowering artichokes, broad beans and peas. I noticed last year that all my early French bean sowings did not fare well, so I've decided not to sow French beans until May. One exception though was a sowing of a new to me variety 'Speedy' which is recommended for early and late sowing. I will be interested to see how it fares. In the flower department I have sown nicotiana mutablis, nicotiana alata, brachycombe, cosmos 'Purity, various sweet peas, cerinthe, nasturtium 'Blue Pepe', gaura lindheimeri, ammi visnaga, orlaya grandiflora, daucus carrota 'Black Knight', cobaea scandens as well as some geraniums from my own saved seed. Time soon for pricking out and the inevitable greenhouse shuffle - again such activities would have normally started by now.

Progress at the allotment has been slow but I've been putting in some sessions especially over the last couple of weeks. I have planted the shallots that I started off in the greenhouse - 'Red Sun', 'Golden Gourmet' and 'Longor'. Potatoes will be going in during the coming week but just one bed this year. I've also been preparing a bed to plant some new strawberry plants after reluctantly deciding that the existing plants had probably reached the end of their most productive years. Sadly the winter seems to have taken its toll on the greenhouse at the allotment and on the lean to shed, so himself has promised some repair work. Oh and guess what I forgot to remove the nest in my shed which has already been blessed with three blackbird eggs. Makes journeys into the shed more problematic but I should be able to get in and out again more easily as the year progresses. At least now that we have a composting toilet on site I do not have to retire to the shed with my bucket. I'm not sure what the blackbird would have made of that.

As for new plants there have been one or two purchases, mainly at the Cheshire and Friends branch of the Hardy Plant Society plant sale as well as from a visit to my local nursery at Bluebell Cottage Gardens. I have yet more pulmonarias, a couple of brunneras as well abd a clematis recta 'Black Velvet'. For now they are taking time out in the coldframe.

Thanks to Helen of The Patient Gardener's Weblog, who came up with the excellent concept of the End Of Month view. Looking forward to reading what everyone else has been up to.

P.S. A beautiful warm and sunny afternoon to round off April - we enjoyed coffee sitting outside for the first time this year.

13 comments:

  1. It is strange the impact the cold has had. My crab apple will probably be in blossom by next week but that will be 6 weeks later than last year. My dicentra normally one of the earlier of the herbaceous perennials might be beaten into flowering by some aquilegias. All very odd. Still at least things have got going now. Your greenhouse sounds stuffed to the gills. The winter weather has taken its toll on a fence at the plot so we'll probably spend the bank holiday fixing that. Hope we get some good weather.

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  2. Colder than normal spring here in the USA, too. Everything is later than last year. With the garden, greenhouse and allotment, you certainly have a lot going on. Beautiful flower photos!
    Happy Gardening!
    Lea
    Lea's Menagerie

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  3. It sounds like it's all happening in your neck of the woods. I'm still behind with sowing due to the cold weather, I really need to get on with it this week, but the seeds I've sown already seem to be doing ok in the greenhouse now that it's warmed up a bit. I got some new strawberry plants from Wilkos, they look really healthy and were very reasonable, £1 each or 2 for £1.50, just thought I'd mention it in case you haven't yet sourced any new plants. Oh, there were three different varieties, Symphony, Cambridge Favourite and Honeoye.

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  4. I feel that we are a month behind, looking at last years photos. Your Brunnera and Clematis are both flowering before mine, I have been and had a look at both and the buds are there but they are still tightly shut. Nature is trying to catch up but all the weeds are growing too!

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  5. I've just put three clematis into the "veg patch" gardens - they're very small so nothing much to see this year. I'm woefully behind on sowing flowers and you've listed several of my absolute favourites that I really want to see in the garden this year. My beans were sown last week and came up within TWO DAYS (yikes!); one of them is Lazy Housewife - nothing lazy about this one though! I have no time at the moment because of college work so I'm hoping to really get through some planting and gardening tasks this coming weekend - including getting my chitted potatoes into some soil! It's all rush rush! (I did a sort of end of month post yesterday as I had just had a big clear up day in the garden. Might have to show a photo of my balcony instead as that's bursting at the seams through lack of a greenhouse!) I think you're doing really well with progress in the garden, it sounds marvellous to me!

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  6. It's all going on. I'd be interested to see how the cobaea does for you this year.

    Weather's cool down here this week unfortunately. Things should pick up at the end of the week so it may work its way to you.

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  7. A lovely round-up of the month Anna. Lots of plants are late here too, due to the cold in March and early April, so I'm late with all my garden jobs! ;-)

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  8. Its good to hear you are getting gardening time again. I expect you are really quite glad of a slow start to the season given the demands on your time. I suspect at the end of May we will all be wondering at the speed everything has grown. Thanks for joining in again this month

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  9. Goodness, I'm exhausted just reading about all that activity Anna! You really are back in the garden with a vengeance. I am way behind on lots of the veg sowing, just sowed sweetcorn and courgettes today. What is the clematis in the picture, it is beautiful. Happy Spring!

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  10. Isn't it great to finally get some decent weather and catch up with things. It sounds like you've been really busy with your seed sowing, your greenhouse must be lovely and full. It is a strange end to April this year though, with plants that have usually finished flowering by now still clinging on and those that are usually in flower still hiding.

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  11. Oooh - lots of excitement and activity? Is that 'Frances Rivis' in your first picture? Mine is not even in bud yet (I don't think) and last year I featured it in flower on April 21st. It's usually behind Constance though, which has only just started. And MORE pulmonaria!Don't forget your promise of photos (when you have time!). I keep looking at my seedlings and thinking 'shall I prick them out now?'. The less crowded should be OK in their trays until they are ready to go outside - and I suespect I have slightly less juggling to do than you! You will be busy, but being in the garden or at the allotment will be nurturing your soul, which will do you good

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  12. Your garden generally sound like mine - it's quite amazing how far somethings are behind.
    I love your clematis alpina (?) I spent the whole afternoon yesterday gently unraveling mine from the trellis it was growing up. All the stems were dead except 1, I hope I haven't lost it. Jack Frost is looking great too!
    You just reminded my that I missed mine out for my monthly review.
    You certainly have plenty seedlings etc going one - I wish I had the time and patience to grow my own. I envy all those that do!
    How sweet to have the blackbird nesting in your shed but agree that will be a bit problematic. I smiled at the thought of those little eyes peeking at you doing a pee ;)

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  13. Hi Anna! I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one too busy in the garden to blog! It's great finding time to catch up on reading blogs though and it's awesome seeing what's going on in your garden. Glad you've been enjoying it too :)

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All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at : thegreentapestry@gmail.com

Namasté

- Anna.