April in the garden

An Instagram retrospective of April 2017

The sky threatens a downpour. Another four weeks of dry weather, and once more, just as the calendar flips over to the new month, the longed-for rain arrives – this time, to dampen the May Day festivities. Still, I’m hoping the Beltane fires were lit across the country to chase away the last vestiges of winter and usher in the light. But before we get to the glory and abundance of May, I’m taking a few moments to review April. Pour yourself a cup of tea and join me.

The beginning of April belongs to magnolias, and instagram was full of them, particularly in city settings, which was gratifying. It's always nice to see our fellow Instagrammers in the smoke getting their nature on. This kind of thing from Ksenia Skosyrskikh

But I don’t spend much time in London these days, so had to get my magnolia kicks in more rural settings.

It never lasts as long as you’d like, however, and soon the wind and an atypical night of rain was turning petals to mush.

I know it's over. And it never really began, but in my heart It was so real… #magnolia #allgoodthings #thesmiths

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Tulips, however, are made of sterner stuff. I’ll put together a post detailing the tulips I’ve grown here this year, together with ones I’m adding to the list for next spring. But they’ve been a joy since the early arrival of 'Purissima', right through the month, withstanding the odd downpour, high winds and a late frost, so no apologies for featuring them heavily on my Instagram feed, and now, also here.

Always the first of the hardy geraniums to flower here, Geranium phaeum 'Samobor' lent its understated gracefulness to the dappled shade along the garden path.

I thought I’d managed to snap one of those long snouted bee-fly thingies, but it turns out from looking at other photos from adjacent moments that this was just a bee, with a foreleg masquerading as a snout.

There were plenty of blue flowers in the garden, from forget-me-nots and green alkanet, to a particularly attractive blue comfrey, Symphytum caucasicum

This wonderful double blue primula, Primula 'Sapphire Blue', found lurking in a corner at Sissinghurst,

...and a new addition, which I’d seen at the beginning of the month in the nursery at Great Dixter, and used as an excellent excuse to revisit the gardens later in the month.

Amongst many other treats, Great Dixter provided the opportunity to see this large spurge come into flower – a particularly fine specimen in a sheltered corner between the Great Barn and the White Barn.

And while we can grumble about the lack of rain and the prospect of hosepipe bans, we still made time to enjoy the blue skies, of which there were many.

It might be cooler today, but still glorious weather for a celebratory walk (our 22nd wedding anniversary. That's what you get for not providing enough seats at your party, I told Em – we first met when I sat on her, as there was nowhere else to park my fat arse. Well, nowhere as nice). We drove all of ten minutes up the Greensand Ridge, parked Digory beside the road, and took the path towards Ightham Mote. All dappled sunlight, picturesque cottages and steeply wooded paths. Moss-covered sandstone boulders appeared at regular intervals like islands in the path, surrounded by ransoms, dogs mercury and lesser celandine. I got told off for bringing crisps instead of cake. Schoolboy error. #mystoryoflight #iphoneography #kent #tfispring #tostandandstare

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But, just in case we got too comfortable, the final week of April reminded us how capricious she can be. 

How was April in your garden? Let me know on twitter, or in the comments below.