End of April in the garden

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Flaming Pierus under a clear blue Scottish sky. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

Hello again. Thank you for stopping by my blog. I hope you are keeping well. Not so many words from me in this post, I am letting the glories of the spring flowers speak for themselves. I hope you enjoy looking at them.

Like the rest of the UK, we have had a wonderful month of weather here in central Scotland. In fact, it has felt more like May than April, with several flowers, shrubs and blossoms a couple of weeks ahead than this time last year.  Funnily enough, as I sat down to write this post today, the skies clouded over and we have had some much needed rain. It is also cooler, and the forecast looks set that way for the next few days ahead.

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6 of the best tulips. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

The bold and brassy tulips are early this year by about 2 weeks. The classic upright varieties have been planted for a few years now, but the multi-petal, peony-like ones, I put in last Autumn. The colours are so bright, they take on an almost day-glo look in bright sunlight.

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Snakeshead Fritillary in white and deep pink. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

More sedate-looking are the Fritillaries in white and in deep pink. They don’t grow in huge clusters, just a few dotted here and there, but year on year, they are slowly increasing in numbers all round the garden.

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Morello cherry and Conference pear blossom. Images: Kathryn Hawkins
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Apple, my favourite fruit blossom. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

The fruit trees are laden with blossom. Fingers crossed that this means a good harvest of fruit later in the year. The bees are certainly busy, so the signs are looking promising so far.

Now that the daffodils have finished flowering in the raised bed, the Forget-me-nots are free to take up the space left behind. This is a very sunny spot in the garden, and they thrive here.

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Dainty baby-blue clusters of Forget-me-nots. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

My final image this week is of another early appearing flower. These last few days of warmth and sunshine have brought out the bluebells in front of my greenhouse. Their sweet, spicy fragrance hangs heavy in the air, and their vivid blue-lilac, little pixie hat-shaped flowers are popping up all over the flower-beds and paths.

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Scottish garden bluebells. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

Over the past few weeks, I have been feeling more fortunate than ever over to have such a wonderful garden to escape into, and with beautiful weather to boot, these strange times we find ourselves in have been so much easier to deal with.  My best wishes to you, and I look forward to catching up with you again soon 🙂

The end of winter

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In full bloom at the end of February, white Pieris Japonica and pink Rhododendron. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

Today is officially the meteorological end of winter, which means that tomorrow is the first day of spring; hoorah to that! It has been a very warm and sunny end to a month that has been one of the mildest Februarys on record across the whole of the UK. It has been a pleasure to be out-of-doors, so many birds are singing and there are many insects buzzing all round the garden.

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A busy bee in the sunshine collecting pollen from a dogtooth violet. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

Looking back over previous blog entries, I can see that every image I am posting this week is 2 to 4 weeks earlier than in previous posts. The snowdrops have been glorious this year, and have grown in thick white and green carpets both in the garden and in nearby hedgrows. For the first time I can recall I was able to detect their sweet and spicy fragrance as the sun shone on the blooms. I took this image a few days ago just as the fine weather started in earnest. The snowdrops in the sunny parts of the garden have gone over now, but there are a few clusters still lighting up the shady corners of the borders and under the thickest hedges.

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Snowdrops enjoying the sunshine. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

It has been a good year for crocus too. The bulbs I planted last year in an old wooden barrel have put on a very colourful display. They have recently been joined by Tête-à-tête, which are also growing all round the garden, giving a sunny glow and a sweet aroma to many of the flower beds.

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Large wooden barrel of crocus. Image: Kathryn Hawkins
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Narcissus Tête-à-tête. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

Last weekend I spotted the first tiny blue dot in one of the paths which was a sign that my favorite of all spring flowers, the Chionodoxa, were on their way. Sure enough, over the course of the next few days, small electric-blue clumps of star-shaped flowers have sprung up all over the place.

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Striking blue Chionodoxa. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

It’s not only the flowers that are excelling themselves this year, the rhubarb patch is very much alive and kicking. I love the bright red stems of the new shoots and curled leaves. The stems look tempting enough to eat already, but I will resist and be patient.

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A fairy ring of young rhubarb shoots. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

I have posted plenty of Hellebore pictures in the past, and I end my post this week with another one. This beauty was new to the garden last year and has only 3 flowers, but the blooms are delightful. I hope it thrives in its new location, and look forward to seeing more blooms in the future. Until next time, happy Spring 🙂

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Double white speckled Hellebore. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

 

April flowers

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White Pieris in April sunshine. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

There is a multitude of colours in the garden this month. A combination of warmer, sunnier days, a few showers here and there, and cool nights, has brought glorious technicolor to the beds and borders. The Pieris shrubs have been in flower for a couple of weeks already, and are now fully laden with bunches of droplet-like blossoms. Their aroma is spicy and fresh, and the bees are buzzing all over them.

The zesty colours of the Euphorbia are showing now. In my garden, the plant grows most prolifically in the dappled, shadier parts, and has become quite a forest, as the stems self-seed each year.

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Bright, fresh and green, Euphorbia. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

Growing in little groups in the flower-beds and alongside the paths, are the tiny, clustered flowers of the grape hyacinth. Sweet-scented,  dainty in stature, with bold, blue bell-shaped petals, they stand out prominently amidst all the fresh greenery.

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Muscari (grape hyacinth). Image: Kathryn Hawkins

I planted anemones for the first time last autumn, and they seem to be thriving. The colour of the pink and red varieties is particularly dazzling in the sunshine.

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Fuschia-pink anemone. Image: Kathryn Hawkins
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Scarlet-coloured anemone. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

The warmth of the sun has opened up the blossom buds on several of the fruit trees this past week. The Morello cherry is always one of the first to flower. I have high hopes for a bumper crop this year as there are blossoms up and down every stem. The small tree is an espalier and grows against a south-facing wall. It is about 6 years old and for the past couple of years, has produced a fair crop of fruit.

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Morello cherry blossom. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

One of the more unusual-looking flowers at this time of year is the Snakeshead Fritillay. Immediately you can see how it gets its name. The striking flower heads grow on tall, spindly stems with grass-like leaves; they are almost camouflaged in amongst the new shoots in the flowerbeds and the back-drop of the beech hedge.

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Snakeshead fritillary. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

Another flowering plant that is unremarkable from a distance, is this tiny yellow violet. It grows in a single clump in the back garden. The petals are so pale and delicate, the blooms are easily over-looked because it grows so close to the ground. If you can get close enough, the flowers have the faint aroma of vanilla.

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Tiny pale-yellow violet. Image Kathryn Hawkins

My final plant this month, is another aromatic: Ribes sanguineum. At this time of the year, the flowers and foliage smell of blackcurrants and, to me, its flowering means that spring is well under way with the promise of summer not too far off. Until next month, enjoy the sights and smells of the season.

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Ribes sanguineum. Image: Kathryn Hawkins