It’s really windy here today, not the best of conditions to be trying to capture what’s blooming in the garden with a camera, but I can forgive the wind because it is actually warm! So, with apologies for the slight blurring thanks to the prevailing conditions, here is my contribution to Carol’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day meme, which gathers together posts from all over the world and celebrates what is flowering.

The spring has been delayed by the long (very long!) spell of unseasonably cold weather, shaped by a bitter easterly wind. So everything is late, although it is hard to judge exactly how late since I am gardening in a different area of the country with a maritime climate. I do know that in a “normal” year the Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’ that I had growing in a pot for the past few years would have been nearing the end of its flowering period. As it is, the blossom is only just starting to open, a very welcome sight. I hope in future years it will develop into a proper – if small – tree, and flower prolifically now that it has the luxury of growing in the ground again.


Assuming we don’t get blasted by cold weather again there are plenty of buds yet to open, something to look forward to, and it is accompanied by the still-blooming Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger).

helleborus niger blushing

new white and old pink Christmas Rose blooms

I’m really pleased with the way the pink blush on the hellebores echoes the pink tints on the cherry blossom, but I think I want to slightly re-arrange the hellebores to make a tigher clump and therefore a stronger impact.

Elsewhere in the front garden a blue haze is beginning, the carpet of forget-me-nots just coming in to bloom. I want to spread these little beauties around a little, they are an amazingly intense blue, and I love them.

forget-me-not flowers


The deep purple violas are back too, having taken a break from flowering during the worst of the “spring” weather, another plant I want to share around a little in the hope that it will gently self seed.


It is so easy, with a GBBD post, to only share close-ups, which can hide so much. In my case, the sparseness of the planting at present, though I prefer to look on it as an opportunity…

still sparsely planted front garden

Apart from the bluebells (yet to open), the swathe of forget-me-nots and the scattering of pansies, there is precious little Spring interest in the front garden at present. A couple of small clumps of narcissus, mostly yellow dwarf forms that are past their best, and around half a dozen of these rather pretty tall white ones with delightfully yellow-tinged centers. These will need moving somewhere better, where hopefully they will gradually spread.

mystery white narcissus

The one small area of bounty is in the planting pocket that runs along the small wall at the end of the driveway. This particular patch of drive looks more like a builders’ merchants at the moment, as it is where I am storing the gravel and stone I am recovering from around the garden to re-use out the front in due course. But back in the autumn I cleared the planting pocket of the ivy that was choking it and filled it instead with crocuses – Crocus ‘Ruby Giant’ to be precise. And although I don’t exactly regard it as “normal” to have crocuses blooming in mid April, these make me smile every time I see them.

crocus 'Ruby Giant'

crocus 'Ruby Giant'

crocus 'Ruby Giant'

crocus 'Ruby Giant'

crocus 'Ruby Giant'

In the side garden the only flowers are those of the pulmonaria, which has been blooming non-stop for nearly six weeks now. I plan to move them to the back garden, to the base of the magnolia.


Around the back a pot of Tête-à-Tête dwarf daffs waves at me happily whenever I pass the little greenhouse, while a larger patch has just burst into bloom in the past few days in the back border. These are the first bulbs I planted, even before the crocuses in the wall, so I am particularly happy to see them pop up and look so happy.



The other bulbs I planted were some species tulips, which I don’ think will flower as the soil is too heavy, and some blue Anenome blanda, of which only one is currently showing. I couldn’t get the blasted thing to stay still long enough to be photographed, so I will allow it to stay anonymous (!) for now, in the hopes that it will be joined by others in the coming week or so.

My two favourite blooms in the back garden are over nearer the corner by the acer. Our native primroses are a long-time favourite of mine, I much prefer them to the brightly coloured cousins I have flowering elsewhere and which I have shown before. I will have more coming from my previous garden in due course, but for now I have three small plants at the base of the Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘Grandiflora’. Pure spring magic.

native primroses

The other flowers are on the Magnolia stellata that I utterly failed to resist buying. I had planned to use the opportunity of starting again to try new plants rather than filling the garden with old favourites, but I had to make an exception in this case. I love the slightly ragged flowers and the scent, when wafted over the garden on a warm breeze, is wonderful. Add to that the fact that TNG, who rarely voices an opinion on any plant, loved the one we had in our old garden and it just had to be done.

magnolia stellata

It will be while before I am spending my days photographing endless magnolia blooms (no cheering please…) but it makes me really happy to have one here, and that’s good enough for me.

There are a few other flowers here and there, viola odorata blooms half hidden amongst the foliage, the first flowers on the sweet rocket seedlings that hitchhiked a ride here with the blackcurrant.



But mostly there is bare soil, just waiting to be filled with who-knows-what. Hopefully by this time next year there will be fewer gaps and more flowers, but for now, that is it for this Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. Do check out the other posts over at Carol’s blog and see what delights other people have growing in their gardens. I’m off to dream of new planting combinations to fill the gaps…

67 thoughts on “Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day April 2013

  1. Lovely flowers, Janet, particularly considering what turmoil you and the weather have experienced this year! Those crocus along the wall are a riot of colour, fantastic. Your M. stellata looks lovely too. Ours hasn’t flowered since we uprooted it from our last garden, then stuck it in a pot for a few years before finally returning it to the ground here – fingers crossed it forgives the rude upheaval soon and rewards us with some lovely blooms again. Our first Tulipa sylvestris buds are opening now – they have survived a year in our heavy clay to come back again, so definitely worth a try…
    I’ve noticed some particularly deep blue forget-me-nots here this year too, very striking. I wonder if the weather has affected them somehow?

    1. Hi Sara, sorry about your ‘stellata’, I’m sure it will get over itself soon. It’ snot exactly been a friendly spring for a blossom-shy plant, I was surprised my stellata bloomed at all to be honest, I thought I would have to wait until next year.

      That is encouraging news about the tulips, I will cross my fingers. Worst case I will plant them in a pot so that I can admire them more easily and photograph them without muddy knees. I hadn’t thought about the weather affecting the fmns, and of course I have no idea what colour they were last year!

  2. Very envious of your M stellata. It’s one of my favourites too.
    In this garden the first one I planted (last autumn) is M ‘Leonard Messel’. It has just one flower bud, looking sick, so hopefully by next year it will be feeling a little more settled!
    The blues of your crocuses and forget me nots are fantastic!

    1. Hi, I was frankly amazed that the stellata flowered this year, I thought the cold, the wet and the being newly planted would have put it right off, si am feeling very fortunate. Hopefully yours will make up for its current lack of enthusiasm next year.

  3. It’s been extremely windy here too Janet especially yesterday – more like a middle of March day than April. Lots of broken branches have landed down on the garden but fortunately no serious damage done. Warm here at long last with noticeable numbers of butterflies out and about. Love the crocus – they seem to have a luminous quality about them. The native primrose has no equal :)

    1. Middle of March sounds – and looks – about right. Sorry about the broken branches, always a bi of a heartstopper when that happens. We are lucky, being nestled down in a bit of a dip and protected by the park to some extent. Your are lucky to hae butterflies, I think I have seen two so far this year. I agree about the native primrose, a very special little plant.

    1. Hi Frances, you have rather fiercer – and colder – weather to contend with. Anyway, just think about all those lupins, when they bloom, and the satisfaction of having grown them all from cuttings. I really must get to grips with cuttings…

      1. actually Janet it’s also that I do not have that many spring plants, it’s something I should/would like to think about and change,
        lupin cuttings are really easy I did my first by accident, I was clearing grass growing through a lupin in spring a few years ago when one of the new shoots broke off, I just stuck it in a free bit of soil and it grew, a couple of years later I learnt that is how you propagate lupin by basal cuttings when they first shoot, I bought Carol Klein’s book Grow your own garden and have found it very helpful, one of the things I like about it are the tables listing lots of plants and how best to propagate them, ie. seed, softwood/hardwood cutting, root cuttings etc. see if your local library has a copy, what I would like now is a good book for pruning, Frances

        1. I actually have Carol’s book, I bought it for myself last year to help me get to grips with propagation. Now I just have to put it in to practice! I find the RHS Book of Pruning and Training very good for pruning advice. I couldn’t be without Spring flowers, they tell me tht the garden is getting going again, hope at the end of the long winter and all that.

          1. thanks Janet, I see it is a new book, I’m going to Inverness in a couple for weeks for 2 days so I’ll have a look at it in the books shops, at the moment I frequently borrow from the library a book by John Cushnie on Pruning which I have found very good, Frances

  4. It’s amazing to see the contrast between what’s in bloom in British gardens as compared to American ones, so noticeable how behind we are this year when normally both sides are more or less in sync. Funny weather eh!

    But nevertheless a great selection of blooms and LOVE that row of crocus, so pretty!

    1. Its fascinating, isn’t it, though it always throws me completely when I read a blog of a gardener based in the southern US, so different in almost every way. I am really chuffed with my wall full of crocuses, every bit as good as I had hoped. Wish things always worked out that well!!

  5. What a great place to plant the Crocuses! I might have to “borrow” your idea. You’re just a bit ahead of me with your blooms now. I’m so, so excited to see the Violas and Daffodils bloom! They’re wonderful companions in your garden.

    1. “Borrow” away! The violas were a very welcome surprise, I thought when they stopped flowering back in early March that they were gone. Enjoy your spring bounty as it starts to unfurl, I have a feeling it might all be a little accelerated now that the weather is finally warming up.

  6. Hi Janet,
    I see you are in a similar gardening state as I find myself. I moved homes in the late summer of last year and while I know I am making some progress, building new beds up, clearing away old stuff, it feels a bit sad, not to have an abundance of blooms. I am glad you bought that favored plant! I love your forget me nots! Such a lovely wave of blue! Happy GBBD! Cheers, Jenni

    1. Hi Jenni, how lovely to “meet” someone in a similar situation. its a strange old business, starting again, isn’t it. I still find it strange not to be surrounded by bulging mature borders, but I do love the potential of all this new blank space. The blue of the forget-me-not is indeed a very happy colour, I think yellow and blue are the quintessential spring colours – together with the magical fresh green.

    1. I love the color of those purple crocus. They would make me smile too! And the blue of the For Get Me Nots. I should remember to plant more next year!

      1. Hi Dorothy, I don’t think I will ever need to plant forget-me-nots again, it seems they will self-seed very happily here, I think the trick will be to thin them out so as to get the best from them!

    2. Hi Lea, crocuses are a favourite of mine too, though have never had them flowering this late in the year before!

    1. Hi Sue, it is my first time growing them so I don’t really know what is “normal”…

  7. Bare patches of soil at least mean you have spaces to plant into! I don’t mind the brightly coloured primroses but that’s maybe because the lit is stronger here. BTW I found out how easy basal cuttings were for Nepeta, like Frances, by accident. I think I might already be too late to do some this year, mine actually self seeded last year so there are some new plants. Happy bloom day! Christina

    1. Hi Christina, I certainly have lots of space for new plants! I’ll have to look up what can be propagated by basal cuttings, not that there is much in the way of perennials in this garden as yet, but give that I am after repeats of a smaller number of plants rather than anything more bitty, buying one and then propagating from it will be the way to go. I have some native nepeta growing from seed, but if it propagages well from basal cuttings I might treat myself to a ‘Six Hills Giant’, or possibly the new introduction from Hillers that they are launching at Chelsea this year, which apparently has a much longer flowering period.

  8. Love those forget-me-nots! What a beautiful shade of pure blue. And your crocus are just amazing! What a gorgeous planting. You will have such fun filling in your bare soil. But I find it’s never ending. After several years, I am still trying to fill in little spots of bare soil, too.

    1. Hi, I think your are right, although in my last garden it was getting hard to find new places to put the new plants I fell in love with. I have a loooong time to go before I reach that point though! I’m happy to have such lovely forget-me-nots to play with though.

  9. I really like the blue crocuses, and the white daffodils with the pale yellow centres.
    It’s been noticeable how plants have grown, blossomed or flowered in the past week thanks to better weather. Let’s hope that it’s a sign of things to come, but with a bit less wind! xx

    1. Those daffs are lovely, aren’t they! I agree, everything seems to be speeding up with the warmer weather. I am hoping I can sow direct now that the soil is warmer, I’m running out of pots!!

  10. The forgetmenots are amazing and the crocus may be giant, but ruby?! ;) Lovely colour anyway. Your magnolia is the first one I have seen this year – ours moved 5 times (not 5 different houses though!) before it reached its current spot and it was huge enough for a haircut last year, so they do settle despite what the old wives say. All these spring colours are lovely – and even the remnants of helleborus niger are delightful too. Thanks for sharing and continue to enjoy creating your new garden.

    1. I know Cathy, daft name for a beautiful crocus. I love that you have moved your magnolia with you so many times, though would hate to move that many times myself, I am very much hoping that they carry me out of this place in a box, preferably a long time from now! I think the christmas roses die delightfully, which is always a major plus in a plant, and I really like the foliage, which isn’t always true with hellebores.

      1. The magnolia belonged to the Golfer’s mother and moved twice in a pot with her, then to a pot at the Golfer’s house, then to one spot in our garden here until we realised we needed to dig the soakaway for the extension there so it was moved to to another spot. It won’t be moved again, and we are going nowhere else either ;)

  11. These are lovely photographs of your flowers. I love the vivid blues in your garden, and the crocuses in the wall look terrific. Wonderful to see the daffodils, too; mine are (at last) looking their best.

    1. Thank you Wendy, glad your daffs are performing, I am looking forward to having proper drifts in future years rather than sad ones and twos, the only large groups are the ones I planted in the autumn, which just seems wrong for such an established garden, but at least they left me lovely forget-me-nots!

  12. I love these images from places I imagine you wear a sweater in to garden much of the year. Thank you for indulging my love of your flowers.

    1. Hi Lydia, I am hoping that by next month I will be gardening in a T shirt but you can never tell with Welsh weather!

  13. Janet I adore your carpet of forget-me-nots. I can see why you want to spread them around. And those crocus in the wall are wonderful….the colors are wonderful with all your blooms starting their show.

    1. Hi Donna, lovely aren’t they, if I knew where the edges of the borders were going to be I would be able to move clumps to better locations, but hey, in the mean time I get to enjoy swathers of blue.

  14. Ah, the old close up to hide everything else trick – a favourite technique of mine. And I’m busily spreading forget-me-nots about the place as well. I’m also with you on primroses; I’ve planted some blue ones – no idea where I got them – but they are just not … right. D

    1. Blue primroses?! Nope, just not right. I inherited some of those brightly coloured cultivars, golden yellow , deep purple. They just look wrong, somehow, but I am going to plant them up in a trough where hopefully they will brighten the doorstep up. What are you planting your forget-me-not with? I still haven’t worked out how best to use them.

      1. I introduced f-m-n’s about four years ago and they pretty much fill one of my beds – mostly a spring bed. I can now thin these plants and have spread them along the front of the house to supplement tulips and crocosmia. They fill in otherwise early blank soil and are easily removed when they have finished. I really like the look of them en masse. D

        1. Sounds beautiful, tulips clearly grow very happily in my front garden so that could be an option. They do look beautiful en masse, mine are just beginning to turn in to a blue haze.

  15. Hello again Janet – I love your Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’ but the simple purple crocus has been the spring flower that has grown on me over the last few springs – I just love my mass planting of it on a corner of my lawn. I love your builders corner, I’ve one like that too and love working with stone in the garden – will be very interested to see what you do with your collection :-)

    1. Hi Shirley, I’ll be interested to see what I do with all that stone too!! Crocuses are one of my favourites flowers, it is strange having them bloom so late in the year, but welcome nontheless. I hope that next year I will also have crocuses naturalised in the grass.

  16. Pretty, pretty, pretty – and your forget-me-nots out already! And such a deep colour!

    I am going straight out to threaten mine. Well, I will do once it stops raining and/or the wind drops…

    1. Good luck with the threatening! Not so pretty now – magnolia duly ravaged by blasted (and blasting) wind. Ho hum. But hey, at least all my water butts are full, and that’s good, right?!

  17. What a beautiful swathe of forget-me-nots! Their colour really is stunning! Hasn’t it been lovely to get some fine weather at last, but, as usual, the wind comes along too. I’m looking forward to seeing the bare patches in your garden full of life, I’m sure it won’t be long now.

    1. Hi Paula, yes, it is lovely to finally have warmer weather, I’d forgotten what it was like! I don’t mind the wind so much when it is warmer, though the magnolia is now looking distinctly ragged. As for the bare patches, well, there are lots of forget-me-nots I can thin…

  18. Some great pictures of this very delayed spring, its so windy here too. Those are so deep-blue those forget-me-nots, how lovely. My Magnolia is looking a bit worse for wear after this winter, I’m hoping a bit of warmth will make it perk up a bit. The crocuses are loving this sunshine and are showing off a bit I think!

    1. Hi Annie, the wind has massacred my magnolia, I’m not sure any other buds will open, I hope you have better luck with your once the wind dies down. It was still and warm here today. I am in love with the forget-me-nots I had no idea they came in such a deep colour. I am also in love with my show-off crocuses, or I was until they all got battered by the wind, they are no longer looking quite so extrovert…

  19. Hi Janet,

    Lovely photos, and the Crocus are gorgeous!

    It may be a little sparse now, but not to worry. In a couple of years it’ll all be sorted and looking lush and lovely. I’m pleased with two of my spring borders, the rest although they do have spring bulbs aren’t really spring borders and are geared more to summer/late summer. Geraniums will really help you, if you should want them. Great for ground cover at this time of year to add some interest and hide those bare areas.

    Looking forward to more photos of the Magnolia and those F-M-Ns, I really need to get stealing some off my parents and round to their house to take photos of their borders of it.

    1. Hi Liz, it is really weird, having gappy borders after years of an over full garden. I have some white geranums which I plan to use some of the gaps, and come autumn will try and grow some from seed. Am doing my best to be patient – and fortunately I also have loads of forget-me-nots I can spread around a little!

  20. The beauty of empty borders is that you can fill them with plants and designs refined from all the mistakes we’ve made in our previous gardens. I love your pocket of crocus. :) Maybe this year you’ll have an opportunity to meet other gardeners and arrange a plant swap. It’s a great way to get free plants.

    1. I like the way your mind works! Certainly lots of opportunities for new plants, I had a happy hour or two potting on some of the perennials I have been growing for the front garden this afternoon, day-dreaming about how they will look when planted out and flowering away. I have already been swapping some plants with local gardeners, and there is a plant sale coming up too, it is in the diary…

  21. so nice to see some spring blooms, you’re right, those forget me nots really are an intense blue. and I love your ‘pocket garden’ of crocus. brilliant idea. We’re still waiting on bulbs here, I’ve got a few squill attempting to push through but this winter just drags on and on.

    1. Hi Marguerite, everything is a bit bonkers here this Spring, the long cold spell means I now have crocuses blooming alongside tulips. Tulips! Daffs I could cope with, but really… And the bluebells are only just beginning to push up flower spikes, though it sounds as if you have it much worse than us. Roll on Spring-proper I say, I want to be eating lunch outside, sowing peas direct in warm soil, and gardening in a T shirt!

  22. I am so glad the easterly winds have ceased and Spring has arrived. I loved seeing your Prunus incisa-it make me miss the one I left at my old garden and I think, like your need for a Magnolia stellata, I need to replace the one I had.
    Thank you for leaving such lovely comments on my blog. They were ending up in my spam folder for some inexplicable reason, but all are published now.

    1. Hi Judith, good to know I am no longer relegated to your spam folder!! Funny, isn’t it, gradually discovering the plants you used to have that you just can’t live without after all. For me there is also the discovery that some plants I thought I would absolutely have to have here too are no longer calling to me, something to do with the different light, and the proximity of the sea I think. Fascinating process, starting again.

  23. It’s so nice to see daffodils at last! They took ages to appear in my garden! I love your forget me nots – I did forget about those but aren’t they just charming little things and good ground cover too :)

    1. Hi Anna, the FMNs are a real discovery for me, I love them, such an ordinary little plant and yet it gives so much. I am looking forward to spreading them around a bit and showcasing them a little more, I think they deserve it, particularly as they are so tough and the leaves are pretty in their own right.

    1. I was amazed that the blue was so deep, I thought they were all pale blue or white, but this deep blue is really beautiful. Thank you, I am really happy that the crocuses worked so well in the wall, the lamiums that should take over from them are just getting going, I may add some violets too.

  24. Mag stellata is my absolute favourite too. But this year has been a nightmare with the weather. Rather insipid blooming. Lets hope summer brightens up!

    1. Hi Thomas, not much sign of summer brightening up here, the weather nightmare continues, but ‘Stellata’ is worth the wait for a better Spring. Thanks for stopping by!

Comments are closed.

Back To Top