I can’t believe it is the 15th April already – and time to visit Carol@May Dreams Gardens to peer over the garden fences of gardens from around the world, a monthly celebration of all things floral. Thank you for hosting Carol!

And although by now Spring is in full swing here in the UK, I am starting with a couple of the less showy bloomers. Thanks to Laura@Patio Patch I finally took the trouble to notice that my Aucuba japonica crassifolia does actually have flowers – though they are scarcely the stars of the Spring garden.

Aucuba japonica crassifolia flowers

In the same spirit, the delicate flowers of the acer are not the reason you buy such a plant, but have their own beauty.

Acer Flowers

Some things have been and gone, and they are not always succeeded by their betters. I love Anenome nemorosa, but can easily miss the simple form (below left), they are so fleeting. They are followed by the altogether more thuggish A. n. ‘Flore Pleno’ – the fussy ruffles in the centre annoy me, and there is a blankness to the white which I find more and more displeasing to the eye. They last a lot longer than their more delicate relatives, needless to say.

Anenome nemorosa
Anenome nemorosa 'Flore Pleno'

Even allowing for my ineptitude when it comes to photographing white flowers of any kind, this is not my favourite plant, and not one I will choose to have again. I am grateful that this corner is still graced with Erythronium ‘Pagoda’, although it is just starting to go over.

Erythronium Pagoda Closeup

Elsewhere, in the Magnolia bed, the colours are pinks and lilacs. The Honesty sings out.


The Anenome blanda is on its way out…

Anenome Blanda

…but the batton is being picked up by my favourite new find so far this year, Phlox stolonifera ‘Blue Ridge’. I’d never come across creeping Phlox before, but by happy coincidence was thinking about how to mask the dying leaves of the Tète-á-Tète by the decking when I came across a post by Carolyn@Carolyn’s Shade Gardens about flowering ground cover for shade. I am in love – the tiny ovate glossy leaves are the perfect foil for the delicate lilac flowers, which are proving to be the same colour as the Anenome blanda (apart from the white spots).

Phlox Stolonifera 'Blue Ridge'
Phlox Stolonifera 'Blue Ridge' insides

Lousy photos – I’ve been having trouble with the paler areas flaring, can’t seem to get the exposure right – but had to share them…

There is some subtlety elsewhere in the garden, the lovely Narcissus ‘Segovia’ add a touch of elegance.

Narcissus Segovia

But the garden is dominated by the rich colour of the tulips. I made the mistake of not planting any pots up last Autumn, not something I will scrimp on again, so the only tulips I have are the ones that I had in pots last year, and then planted out in the borders without much hope that they would flourish. On the downside, they are tending to look plonked, but I can remedy that by planting more this Autumn. On the upside, they add glorious colour and shape, and in the case of ‘Ballerina’, scent.

Tulip Ballerina
Tulip Havran

They are balanced by the presence of Euphorbia robbiae, one of my favourite plants for deep shade. I grow it in the back, north facing border. The leaves alone would make it worthwhile but it flowers for an extended period and happily self seeds around other plants, so just gets better and better.

Euphorbia robbiae
Euphorbia robbiae detail

Elsewhere the flowers are more about the promise of the fruit to follow. Strawberries and blueberries will be very welcome, though I need to remember to net the blueberries to avoid last year’s debacle, where the birds got to enjoy almost the entire crop! I’m all for looking after the birdlife, but really…

Strawberry Flower
Blueberry Flowers

And judging by the amount of blossom on the Crab Apple (Malus ‘John Downie’) this had better be the year that I get to grips with Crabapple Jelly! Any recipe suggestions welcome…

Crab Apple Blossom

I leave you with the beautiful Primroses, a gift from Gardening SIL, and the encouragement to go an check out the other gardens participating in GBBD over at Carol’s blog. Happy GBBD!


61 thoughts on “GBBD April 2011

  1. Our spotted laurel also has tiny flowers that could go unnoticed. It’s always surprising that the insignificant flowers on some fruits – currants, gooseberries and grapes produce lovely fruit. Then how many people have noticed the flowers of an oak tree?

      1. It reminds me of a funnty incident when I was creating a resource for my class when I was a teacher. It was a multimedia presentation called the oak tree. For the resource I took lots of photos of the oak tree and the plants and animals associted with it. One day I was taking photos of the flowers camera to eye pointing up into the tree.

        When I looked around quite a group had gathered all looking up into the tree pointing at what they thought I was photographing – no-one was correct.

        My sister who was with me had moved away, pretending she had nothing to do with me and just laughing at the stir I had caused.

        1. Fabulous! Reminds me of the psychology experiment where you just stop dead in the middle of a busy street (on the pavement, I hasten to add…) and just look up. An observer takes note of how many people gather and also look up, and how quickly.

  2. Why is it that all your photos seem to pop today? Each time, I see a photo, I think that I want to comment on how lovely the photo is but then when I reach the next one, it seem to shine even more. They are all so beautiful and I know I cannot grow them but I must learn to take photo like you do.

    1. Goodness, I swear your comment actually made me blush – thank you! I think I was greatly helped by (a) actually bothering to use the tripod where possible and (b) having an overcast day.

  3. Lovely primrose capture – love the subtle coloration – I’d never thought of the euphorbias for shade – I might move a couple of polychromas just to see how they do…

    1. There seem to be Euphorbias for pretty much every situation, I’ve come to them quite late – other than E. robbiae – but am now a big fan.

    1. Hi Christine, Happy GBBD to you too! I am totally in love with the tulips, just wish I had more. Would you believe I nearly took the Crab Apple out last year, it was looking so spindly and pathetic? It must have heard and decided to up its game…

  4. Hi Janet, lovely photos. I agree about the Anemone n. ‘Flore Pleno’ – the central ruffles seem to jar with the simpler outer petals – the simple one is so lovely. Typical that the least favourite is the one that lasts!
    I adore the creeping phlox – I wasn’t aware of its existence either but will definitely note it for shady ground cover.
    The tulips and euphorbia are wonderful zingy colours. Fantastic. And huge amounts of crab apple blossom, fingers crossed for a fine season and lots of jelly! My MIL always makes jelly for us so I’ve never looked up a recipe, suspect hers is an old tried and tested one.
    Will hopefully post my GBBD this evening, though blooms are slightly few and far between for us still.
    Sara x

    1. Hi Sara, I’ve never made jam or jelly before, but I really think I need to give it a go this year – there will still be plenty for the birds! Will look forward to your post, but hey, next year I bet you have loads to show! Your garden is really starting to take shape, and you are doing everything in the right order too, boundaries and hardscaping first. I’m not sure I would have your patience, but I am sure it will be rewarded. x

      1. I made blackberry jam for the first time last year, and it was easier than I expected – as long as you make sure you have nothing else pressing to do and can give it your full attention. Tasted good too! Thanks for the encouragement. x

        1. Ooh, blackberry jam is one of my favourites! Perhaps I should persuade TNG to gather blackberries for me again this Autumn…

  5. Janet, Wow, beautiful photos of all my favorite plants and a link to my blog, thank you. If you like purple, which is my favorite flower color, you will love creeping phlox ‘Sherwood Purple’. It is so exciting that someone found my post so useful they actually bought a plant I recommended! I love Euphorbia robbiae too, but here in the mid-Atlantic US it often gets damaged in the winter. Carolyn

    1. Hi Carolyn, more than happy to give you a link, you’ve introduced me to a real beauty – I’m to check out “Sherwood Purple” now…

  6. Thank you for the reccomendation for the creeping Phlox, I’m going to check how much water this needs, if it’s not too much I’m going to add it to my wish list. I’ll look out my recipe for crab apple jelly for you and send it. My crab apple looked just like yours 3 days ago but now has lost almost all its petals (I hope not all the future fruit) in the freezing gale force winds of Wednesday night. Christina

    1. Such a shame about the wind taking the blossom Christina. Thanks in advance for the recipe. Hope the Phlox works for you, it is delightful.

  7. Sigh~Such beautiful photos. Isn’t Honesty a sweet, sweet flower? I go back and forth about adding Euphorbia robbiae to my garden~It’s gorgeous and it might give the invasive vincas a run for their money, so to speak. gail~

    1. Hi Gail, glad to give you a happy sigh. I like the idea of the Euphorbia and the Vinca having a showdown! I’d never grown honesty before this year, but it will become a staple, so beautiful, and those lovely seedheads to come.

  8. Mmmm, I can just imagine the tranquility of your garden with all those gorgeous blooms! I wonder if the euphorbia robbiae would do well here…I’ll have to research. It’s beautiful and I can see how it would add a nice bright spot to the shade. Happy GGBD Janet!

    1. Hi Cat, good luck with the Euphorbia, there aren’t many plants that give such vibrant colour in shade. Happy GBBD!

  9. So many lovely blooms, Janet! I love the delicate blue of the creeping phlox; I may have to think about adding that–I have some shady areas that could certainly use a groundcover.

    1. Hi Rose, I can certainly recommend the Phlox, and Carolyn has just mentioned another, “Sherwood Purple”.

    1. Hi Greggo, thanks for popping over, glad you found some of the plants interesting.

  10. Hi Janet, lovely photos. And one of dog’s tooth violet. Just makes me go weak at the knees. You are so right about the double anemone. I’m afraid I’m not good with many (virtually all) double flowers but anemones – no, no, no. And daffs. And tulips. And snowdrops.

    You get the drift.


    1. I’m with you David! The simpler the better in the flower department – although I confess to loving Dahlias, which is a surprise to me and everyone who knows me!

      1. Please, don’t say that! Is a confession required? I love dahlias (my wrapped-up-in-newspaper-tubers were in a terribly mouldy state when I potted them up a week ago. They normally sail through the winter but not this year. I was very upset).

        Oh well, here we go. I LIKE DAHLIAS.

        There I’ve said it! But that doesn’t make me a bad person. Does it?


        1. I lost all mine this winter, have just spotted new shoots on almost all my new batch, which are going to be coddled and cosseted through the winter. I hear that Dahlias are really quite fashionable now, so I don’t think we need to hang our heads in shame. Though confession is good for the soul! Sing it out, sing it proud, I love Dahlias! :-)

  11. Your spring garden is looking terrific. I love the white Anenomes and the brilliant green of the Euphorbia especially!

    1. Thanks Jennifer, though in fairness I think Spring makes it pretty easy for the gardener, everything just wants to grow so badly!

  12. After seeing your yellow pagoda I’m away out to capture the beauty that they are hiding as they droop their heads. I forgot that I had honesty in flower in the garden aswell – quite a surprise as I tried to grow it from seed a few years ago and it never established until now. I love the simple little wood anemones rather than the doubles and our countryside is full of them just now. I just love that little pholx – and I bought one last week for the shade and I’m sure it’s the same as yours only mine is not in flower yet.

    1. Hi Rosie, ‘Pagoda’ is a little tantalising, like so many Spring flowers, but well worth muddy knees. Isn’t the Phlox lovely? I bought 3 with birthday money, and only one is in flower yet. Double anenomes just seem really wrong, don’t they? Happy GBBD.

    1. Aren’t they? They keep stopping me in my tracks. Definitively something I want more of. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  13. Hi Janet, You have some great photos on here. What camera & lens do you use? Did you catch Monty on Gardeners World last night? He was planting out Euphorbia’s and said they were one of his favourite plants, so you are in good company!
    Great blog by the way.

    1. Hi Trevor, thanks for stopping by. I have a Panasonic Lumix FZ-30, which comes with a 34mm to 200mm superzoom lens. I don’t have the control – or skill to use it – that a digital SLR would provide, but I am learning to use it better. Blogging helps, so many inspirational photographers out there, it spurs me on! I just watched Gardener’s World this morning, and did smile to see Monty planting Euphorbias. Took a few notes too, I like the look of that small one. Hope to “see” you round here again!

  14. I had lots of honesty in the garden last year and was told it would self seed readily but there’s none at all this year. I suppose I should get sowing again. Lovely tulips. I’m going to plant tulips and daffodils at the allotment this autumn so I can have them for cut flowers for the house, I won’t cut flowers in the garden, I much prefer to enjoy them outside, but wouldn’t mind cutting them so much at the allotment.

    1. Hi Jo, sorry about your lack of honesty seedlings. I’ve never grown honesty before, but am in love with it. I didn’t want to rely on self-sowing because on my heavy soil it often doesn’t seem to work (exzcept for hellebores), so have sown seed for next year. In theory I am going to sow up at the allotment, on a seed bed too, but in practice I think I might need that room for brassicas like sprouts and sprouting broccoli that will be in the ground for ages and for the many, many squash plants I seem to have sown…

  15. beautiful blooms and I am happy you found creeping phlox…I have many different colors all over..they are stunning…Happy GBBD

    1. Hi Donna, I am definitely a convert to the creeping Phlox, really beautiful plant.

  16. Spring has definitely came to your garden and finally the blooms are proudly showing their beauty! Such beautiful colour and varieties of flowers. Great shots!

    1. Very definitely Spring – I swear things grow as I watch! Glad you enjoyed the photos.

  17. Those two tulips are just so pretty. What a beautiful spring garden you have. The Crab apple blooms are just gorgeous!

    1. Thank you Lona, I am thrilled the tulips flowered in the borders, I’ve never tried it before. I am a convert!

  18. I have strawberry buds but they aren’t open.

    Don’t worry about the baycorns – they take ages to come up. (Generally when you have given up, forgotten about them and then wonder what they are when they emerge.)


    1. Thanks for the encouragement – I will try not to knock them over while I am carefully ignoring them, daring them to do something!

    1. Yay! You’re back on the “in”list! The primroses just seem to keep on going, wonderful. Happy GBBD!

  19. Blimey Janet, what an array of amazing plants you show us today and lovely photographs. I am finding that I get better results on a dull day. This goes against all we were told in the days of Kodak film. Oh and the Erythronium Pagoda shot in particular, wow.

    1. Hi Alistair, thank you, the Erythronium is a particular favourite of mine. I think dull days allow for better colour balance, with today’s technology, but I am very ignorant on the technical side of photography. Part of me misses that frisson of excitement when collecting a newly developed film – I don’t miss the almost invariable disappointment at how naff most of the results were though! The wonders of digital, allowing us to take hundred of photos at no extra cost just to get a couple of good ones!

  20. Fantastic photos as always Janet! Most enjoyable, spring is buzzing in your garden.

    You’re right about acers, bought mainly for folaige but they also have these beautiful flowers that are worth a mention :)

    1. Whoops, posted my reply separately, so you wouldn’t have known about it… I said “Hi guys, I do rather like the acer flowers, as subtle and elegant as the trees themselves – unlike my tulips!”, on Monday… Sorry!

  21. Hi guys, I do rather like the acer flowers, as subtle and elegant as the trees themselves – unlike my tulips!

  22. I am just now making my rounds to this month’s bloom day offerings, spring is crazy for me. I am with you on “fluffy ruffles”. When given the choice between double flowers and single flowers, I always prefer the single. Perhaps some people’s preference for double forms is that the extra petals hide the working bits of the flower.

    1. Hi Les. Goodness, it had never occurred to me that some people might think flowers needed to exhibit more modesty! I hope that’s not true, that would be even worse than my current explanation, that for so many “more is more”. I imagine this is your busiest time, so thank you for popping over. Hope you can come up for air soon!

  23. Great post Janet, love your plant picks. I have many the same too. Funnily enough I’ve red berries on my Aucuba at the moment. Forgot that for my post, never noticed any flowers on it before. Thanks, will look out this time :-D

    I agree with you on the Euphorbia. I love its colour, flower, leaf and shape. Lost some last year for some reason but I see they have self-seeded and it lives on (as it does).
    Your garden is a bit ahead of mine which is a surprise. My tulips are not out yet. Don’t have that many but the ones I do have are quite special being bought as gifts etc.

    Wishing you a good weekend :-D

    1. Hi Shirl – we clearly both have excellent taste! Surprised my garden is ahead of yours, though I suppose I am qutie sheltered here. Even so – maybe my tulips are just early flowerers? Will look forward to seeing your special tulips. Have a great weekend in this summer weather. Just hope we won’t be huddled in fleece come August…

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