Sorry everyone – last Saturday I was saying how incongruous I was finding the hot sunny weather.  I called the post ‘Loving the Sunshine’ but this wasn’t strictly true.  I admit to being a bit grumpy about it – delicate spring flowers are shy of too much sun.

As if by magic normal service resumed this week and we had classic April showers and the garden felt refreshed.  Thursday night we were even hit by thunder and a heavy hail storm.  My daughter went out and danced in the hail (barefoot) and made this cute snowman.  Lockdown is doing strange things to us for sure.

Meanwhile, there is so much going on in the garden I’ve found it hard to choose my favourite six for you all.  Hope you like my choices.

Teeny tiny AquilegiaAquilegia flabellata

My rock garden is beginning to fill out now and many of the plants in there are beginning to flower.  Small in stature but providing big excitement this week was the flowering of this little columbine, Aquilegia flabellata, one of three that I managed to grow from the Alpine Garden Society’s 2018 seed exchange.  Aren’t plants great?  The leaves and flower shape are unmistakably Aquilegia, usually fairly tall plants and yet this is only 12cm tall. Aquilegia flabellata in the rock garden

Here’s a view up the slope in the rock garden, including the Aquilegia in the foreground.  In the middle of the picture you can see the Androsace septentrionallis ‘Stardust’ that I mentioned when I revealed my rockery.  It’s already ablaze with its many mini sparklers of bright white flowers and will continue to do so until the Autumn.

This week the Alpine Garden Society website published an article I wrote about how I planned and built the rock garden.  You can read this here.

Wild garlicWild garlic in a woodland garden

Down in the woodland garden the wild garlic is ignoring the ban on mass gatherings.  It is no respecter of social distancing and is cheek by jowl with some of my choicer specimen plants.  It looks so beautiful though.  A bit of judicious weeding out will be required here and there but this area is supposed to look naturalistic and the wild garlic paints a pretty picture.

Soloman’s Seal – Polygonatum x hybridumSolomans Seal

With its gracefully arching shape and pretty white flowers that dangle from the stem like pearls from a lady’s ear, Soloman’s Seal is one of my favourite flowers of late spring.  I moved these to the woodland area a few weeks ago from elsewhere in the garden and they look like they have always been here.  The swathe of wild garlic in the background made them difficult to photograph but it’s a winning pairing for sure.

Gunnera, ferns and primulawoodland garden

I wrote about planting this area up last autumn and I’m pleased to say its really coming to life in early May.  The Gunnera maculata were already fairly large specimens when I bought them and are putting up some good sized leaves considering they aren’t yet fully established.  They’ve had a heavy mulch of home-made compost and a bit of manure.

The shuttlecock ferns are a particularly pleasing sight with their fresh green unfurling fronds.  I can’t remember now how many I planted but I think  there are a few missing.  I’m hoping some are just late to the party.  The bog primulas have all survived and I’m hoping for flowers later this month.

Just a week ago I was worried I’d made a mistake with this area.  The glaring sunshine combined with a lack of leaf cover from the deciduous trees above made this an unexpected April  sun trap and yet it’s supposed to be a dank, damp zone.  I had to water the new plantings here and am so relieved that heavy rain has taken over this job.   Intermittent overcast skies have now given the area its correct April atmosphere.

Sanguinaria canadensis multiplex plenasanguinaria canadensis multiplex plena

The woodland garden will be a success if I can harness the colour green successfully using leaves of different shapes and sizes, whether flowering or not.  Sanguinaria canadensis is a complete success from this perspective with these slightly fleshy wide palmate leaves.  I have two plants of the double form Sanguinaria canadensis multiplex plena and both were flowering  a week or two ago.  The flowers themselves are a pure snowy white, like miniature waterlilles or chrysanthemums.

The wildflower Sanguinaria canadensis is a native of North America. Sanguinaria have the common name Bloodroot since it exudes a blood red sap if you cut the fleshy root.

Auricula collection

auricula collection

I promised more close-ups of some of the auriculas I bought from Abriachan Nursery in Scotland. auricula sirius

Last week I shared this one called ‘Sirius’ – a beautiful peachy pink one which now has three pips (flowers) open. Auricula pink lady

This week a second pot of ‘Sirius’ started flowering and yet it wasn’t the same.  I sent a picture to the nursery and it had been mislabelled.  This is a new one to their collection and is called ‘Pink Lady’.  She’s a beauty.

Whilst I think ‘Sirius’ and ‘Pink Lady’ are my favourites, I’m surprised how well I’ve come to like the yellow forms.Auricula spring meadow

This one is called ‘Spring Meadow’ a perfectly pitched name to remind us of swathes of native primroses. auricula sunflower

Meanwhile ‘Sunflower’ is at first sight a much brasher mustard yellow, yet it’s really grown on me.


This seasonal diary is part of a weekly link-up of garden bloggers from around the world, called Six on Saturday.  For more information and links to other blogs crammed with gardening activity, check the blog of host The Propagator.